Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Local

Feel Like Going Home

  The last 'official' class I took in graduate school (per my 'unofficial' transcript) at the University of Vermont was Studies in Rhetoric and Composition. Besides the fact that the teacher cancelled the last class of the semester because it was too hot[1] (!!!) outside, I recall that I wrote about the first book that ever affected me, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I read the book before I saw the movie and that 'has made all the difference' as a well-known Vermont poet once wrote.
  The book is arranged into twenty-one chapters. American publishers excised the last chapter from early US editions because they thought it wouldn't wash with violence-loving Americans. Kubrick consciously leaves this symbolic twenty-first chapter (he called it an 'extra' chapter) out of his film adaptation. Depending on one's opinion, Kubrick's decision is either reckless or ingenious or both. The last chapter details what happens to Alex after he is 'cured' that second time. He runs into one of his old droogs (Pete, I think?) at a cafe. Pete has a girlfriend now. Pete has moved on. Alex has not. I remember I finished that last chapter, closed the book and then threw it across my parent's living room. I was angry at the fact that a book as cool as A Clockwork Orange was trying to tell me something about life and what it means to 'grow up,' and it wasn't trying to be all 'preachy-talky' as Alex would say. It said what it said, no apologies, no exception, not a bit of finger-wagging and no lesson; perfect for an obnoxious know-it-all teenager.   
  When I finished Local a couple of months ago, I had a similar reaction -- I didn't throw it across the room, it's too heavy (I would have killed one of the kids fer crissakes!) and that Oni Press edition is too beautiful to mistreat. Except now, I had this blog and so I had to write about it. I knew I wasn't going to be able to scale this Everest all at once, I would need to set up base camps, work my way up; and I knew I would need a Tenzing Norgay. So when Daniel Elkin of Comics Bulletin asked me to co-author a piece for Danny Djeljosevic's Fair Trade Comics Column, I was humbled (a little intimidated), and 100% game. Local overwhelms. It's that simple. I don't know how long I'll be reading comics this time 'round, but I'm a better man, a better human for having the opportunity to have read Local and whatever I can do to get this book into the hands of more people I will. That's a promise, my droogies. Elkin, I'm indebted. Djeljosvic thanks for doing your thing my man. FYI set some time aside when you hit the link, after all, it takes time to be a local.  

[1] Oh my God (!) does that make me sound nerdy. I will now go into box and feel shame.

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