This week I am going to talk about a graphic novel that my roommate handed to me one dark and cold night and told me to read. It’s called The Li’l Depressed Boy, Volume 1: She is Staggering, written by S. Steven Struble with art by Sina Grace and released by Image. This book hit me right in the feels.
The book is about a featureless young man named Li’l Depressed Boy (LBD for short) and is more of a slice of life style book then my usual fantastic fair, being closer to hings like High Fidelity and Scott Pilgrim the say the Avengers or Manifest Destiny. The only thing that is not realistic in this book is that the main character is literally named Li’l Depressed Boy and has no real discernible features other than his eyes and mouth. All the other characters are fleshed out with their own distinct style and personality. I feel that this was done by design, and done very well. It is very easy to put yourself in LBD’s shoes. I also feel that this was the goal of Struble as his writing is very accessible to everyone and deals with something everyone goes through in their life, depression. Though, personally, I would have made LBD less of a hipster and a little more of a comic nerd… but that’s simply me projecting.
The story follows LBD as he decides to fight the depression he had let himself sink into and opens on him going to a coffee shop and meeting his friend Drew and a young woman. He quickly develops feelings for said girl and goes on several dates with her. Leading to some of the best scenes in this book, such as the style bowling Hadouken and the subplot of LBD and Drew trying to figure out the girls name, after LBD has been on several dates with her. We find out her name is Jazmine (Jazz) and soon see just how much LBD cares for her when he gives her quite a thoughtful present. I am going to stop my summary here as I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, the book is like 10 dollars and contains the first 4 issues of the book… just go buy it.
The story in the book is great and captures the feelings of a 20ish young man in the modern world. Of course I may be saying that because LBD is a blank slate that allows you to project whatever you want onto him, which is fantastic. The story also has this Scott Pilgrim kind of feel to it which is fracking great as I am a huge fan of Scott Pilgrim. The art is a little rough sometimes but is great overall and does what all good comic book art should, and that is work with the story, which it does on so many levels. The art is a little grittier then I usually like but is still gorgeous.
4 out 5, I will definitely be picking up volume 2.