Left Turns

by Joshua Ross
368 pages
published by Source Point Press

buy it HERE.

"Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack I went out for a ride and I never went back Like a river that don't know where it's flowing I took a wrong turn and I just kept going."

        -Bruce Springsteen. Hungry Heart.

Mr. Nice.

David is a nice man. He was always a well behaved kid, who palled around with his early on girlfriend -or just 'friend' Katie. David's got a younger brother named Kevin who always looked up to him. David's also a talented comic book artist who alas doesn't make money on his art. Instead he works at a comic book shop, where he met his first 'real' girlfriend Rebecca.

Left Turns tells its story with a blue-gray palette which switches back to a tan-gray palette for flash backs. The story starts with Rebecca announcing she wants to break up with him. The story fluctuates then in real time and flash backs, seamlessly joining the past and present in David's ups and downs, along with some of his relationship stuff with Rebecca.

This was a very smooth comic, with almost an utter lack of conflict. I could tell Joshua Ross was striving for realism, living your life through the eyes of an artist -not necessarily an afflicted one though, more like occasionally glum or shyly optimistic about things. There is really nothing in here that would rock your world, and if you're just looking for a smooth ride with a few poignant turns of phrase or insights then Left Turns is your book!

"Everybody wants to know how I feel."

One thing that bugs me about Left Turns -and I see it in sit coms and lots of rom coms- is how side characters suddenly want to know the details of the main character's personal life. I get it, though, from the author's perspective the side characters act as the chorus in a Greek play, echoing the thoughts of our main character.

It comes off sounding false, David here is surrounded by no less than six people, all of whom want to weigh in on his relationship woes after Rebecca leaves him. Come on! David's 'opening up' and trying to date or go online to chat is treated like a holy ritual shared by all his friends.

I've been in six failed relationships and not once did anyone, not even my late parents, say a syllable about them. I take that back. The last one (not counting the divorce) did have my roommate say something: he was disappointed because I was supposed to move out and he wanted his girlfriend to get my room.

David in Left Turns lives in a fantasy world compared to mine and probably many other unlucky lovers. People in the real world are way more selfish and consequentially, more interesting than the people here.

Beautiful to look at!

Joshua Ross is extremely skilled at human anatomy. He doesn't shy away from awkward camera angles or unusual body poses. Everything in his book looks natural and effortless. He does tend to stick with attractive people, you're not going to see the occasional hunch back or a weird overbite like in a Daniel Clowes story. Everybody inside the pages of Left Turns is model material.

With well over 350 pages to plow through one might think there'd be some sort of major conflict to erupt: a fatal drunk driving accident, infidelity, a drunken fight that lands somebody in jail. I kept reading waiting for something like that to happen but it didn't. David's life chronicled here is an ordinary one, with ordinary ups and downs. The stakes are kept deliberately low while he hangs out with his aesthetically pleasing friends, doing fairly mild things like going out for drinks or watching crap TV.

This is a fairly well executed graphic novel. Dramatically it has all the sharp edges rounded off, which is how a lot of people like their stories, so I have to say this would be a great book for somebody --maybe not me so much.

Next Tuesday:

A Fistful of Pain!

get ready for a chop-socky story set in the ancient Orient...
by Louie Joyce and Ryan K Lindsay

Tim Larsen

12 Woodwardia Ave

Felton CA 95018