Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Comic Book Review: Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch

Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch

Written by: Emily McGuiness

Art by: Emily McGuiness

Letters by: Terry Blas

Publisher: Latchkey Studios

Cover Price: $15.97

Available at: Lulu.com

Adele and Ira and the rich children of a world wandering couple whose only contact with their children are letters which arrive with regularity. As Emily McGuiness describes them, they are "parents by mail."

Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch is the story of the man Ira becomes and how he developed to be that man and what happens when the letters stop coming.

I have to admit that I'm a superhero/horror kind of guy when it comes to comic books, graphic novels, and well, really anything, to be honest. So when I sat down with this slice-of-life drama I knew I needed to consciously give it a chance. But then, a short way in, I found myself going from page to page not forcing myself to give it a fair break, but honestly wanting to see where things were going with Ira and from where he had come.

Ira's not the nicest character you'll find. Hell, he's a jerk. But you'll still find yourself sympathizing with how he became the jerk he is and he even has moments where he gives off a heroic cast...well, anti-heroic, anyway.

Throughout the graphic novel, Emily McGuiness has included snippets of letters the siblings received from their absent parents which create an impressively solid pair of characters considering they are, like with Adele and Ira, absent save for the letters. I began looking forward to those to find out more about the absentee parents.

And Emily McGuiness's art here is very good. Her simplistic faces may create a concern about characters being mistaken for each other, but she cleverly keeps them distinctive primarily with their hair. With almost a hint of irony, the characters in this story dependent upon hand-written letters carry a resemblance to emotes from an email. Perhaps a comment, considering the realistic appearance of the letters, on the impersonal feel of our modern, oft used electronic forms of communication?

Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch is an impressive debut in graphic novels for Emily McGuiness and one you should be sure to check out.

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