The Old 52: Local

If you haven't read it, it's new to you. Every month I try to supplement the New 52 with a series from the Old 52. Series I've never read, but have always meant to.
When it was new: Local is a 12-issue indy series from Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly and published in black and white at Oni Press between 2005 and 2008. It has since been collected into a single volume.

Premise: A series of 12 short stories spanning about 12 years, and each in a different North American city or town, using places and other elements locals from those places would immediately recognize. Even so, Local wasn't meant to be opaque to non-natives, and each story would be universal, an event in the life of Megan McKeenan, a 17-year-old girl we would follow until she was 30. As originally conceived, she would sometimes be the lead, sometimes be a supporting character, and sometimes be an extra in these stories. As it turned out, the project became about HER story, with an occasional look at other people from her family.

Search for review... Review located: Can I just say, right off the bat, that I love it when writers give themselves a challenge and various constraints like this. Wood, whom I've followed through DMZ and Northlanders, has always been adept at creating a big picture from smaller stories, and here the picture is of one young woman. Why IS Megan moving around so much? That, and her final destination, is the mystery. Each issue was designed around a map of North America, and each of 12 places are well researched (taking the year - the story starts in 1994 - into account as well) and beautifully rendered by Ryan Kelly, who has a fluid brush stroke and a talent for facial and bodily expression. Some cities are big and well known, like Portland OR or Austin TX, while others are more rural, like Missoula MT. As a proud Atlantic Canadian, I was stoked that Megan lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a bit! And of course, the stories themselves have variety. I love the way Megan imagines the events of the first issue in various ways before the writer commits to a single variety. Or the almost silent issue in which a strange stalker enters her apartment to leave Polaroid messages. Some of the stories stand quite well on their own, while others are definitely part of Megan's arc. There's violence and there's love. The ghosts of the past and the uncertainty of the future. It's a life. You won't always agree with Megan's decisions, but that's what makes her a real person. Her inability to connect with the people and places around her is at the very heart of the series, and each story explores that theme cleverly and passionately.
I'm quite impressed by Ryan Kelly's art in Local. Wood hasn't given him easy briefs. Not only must he render real places without making them look like photo reference, but he has to project the feeling of those places as well. Some scripts are incredibly wordy and could have turned into boring talking heads. Others have very little-to-no dialog, leaving it to the art to tell an effective and moving story. Kelly takes on every challenge and succeeds admirably. For art fans, there's even more, as Kelly's various pin-ups are supplemented by other Megans by professional and fan artists alike. A beautiful, beautiful project from two expert craftsmen.

Trade in for one of the New52? In a heartbeat. I mean, do we really need a book like Voodoo out there?



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine