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Young Liars #1

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2008
By: Martijn Form

David Lapham
David Lapham
DC Comics/Vertigo
Comic series come and go, come and go, just like ebb and flow. Change is good and can be terrific, but lately there is too much turmoil for my taste at Vertigo, a publisher that used to have a stable line up. When Karen Berger and her staff pick a series to publish, they back it up 100% and will do anything with the creators to make the book successful.

So I can cry over spilled milk or I can look forward to every new Vertigo series. I love to do the latter, although that can be tough (still sad about American Virgin's final issue!).

David Lapham earned quite a following with his Stray Bullets series, which I have on my shelf but haven't read just yet. To be frank I havenít read anything by Lapham, but his reputation makes me more than curious about Young Liars.

The title of this story is very appropriate: "At a thousand miles an hour." Lapham takes his readers by their hair and drags them from one strange scene to the next. One minute some ragged guitars from a underground punk band blasts into our ears, while the audience is snorting coke or seeking a clean workspace between a strange girl's legs. With my ears still ringing I'm then dragged outside to some shady alley, where a gorgeous girl is kicking the crap out of some gorilla of a man. Although he is twice her size, he ain't no match for her. Sadie Dawkins got a bullet stuck in her head that will kill her someday, but not today. The bullet makes her somewhat of an unstable person, to put it mildly. Her reactions and emotions are somewhat unpredictable.

Lapham uses a thousand miles an hour pace to introduce his main characters: a bunch of freaks, a teen model reduced to skin and bones, a drag queen, a musician who sold his guitar. Lapham isn't interested in our reading comfort here. He slams all these eccentric characters right in our face and then races us to the next disturbing scene.

There is no real structure in this story because it shifts too fast from scene to scene and from panel to panel. Without any strong story structure it's hard to pinpoint where this all is going to lead. Where will this story be in five issues? I have no clue, but reading about offbeat subcultures is always interesting. Reading this comic is like opening up Pandora's box or listening to a punk concert where you can't hear what they are singing about.

Lapham plays some pounding beats with some ragging chords, and it sounds hard and loud, but I hope that after a few issues these chords will make a great song.

For more information about this reviewer, go to www.martijnform.com



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