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Young at Heart

Brian Hibbs

So, I’m 40 today. Jinkies. (perversely, I was really hoping to make Spurge’s birthday list — but all props to my shared date mates Don McGregor, Brent Anderson… and, uh, PAD’s 1000th comic)

I don’t really feel any different than I did when I was 20, though I never really thought I’d make my 30th birthday, let alone my 40th.

I promised I wouldn’t do anything comics related today (I’m going to play video games all afternoon, damn it — because I never get to screw around during the afternoon), but I did want to mention the best OGN I’ve read this year: Minx’s second release, RE-GIFTERS

There’s a perverse number of perceived barriers in creating fiction and art — things are aimed at one target demographic or another, and we moan and cry that there’s just not enough comics for kids or girls or Alsatians.

Minx is DC’s effort to target girls, specifically tween girls, but, to me, great comics are great comics regardless of who they’re aimed at. Not even comics, really — some of my favorite fiction or films are “aimed” at a different audience than me — WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is in my Top 3 films of all, and THE LITTLE PRINCE is in my Top 10

All of which is a longish and roundabout way of me saying: Tween girls may very well love RE-GIFTERS, I dunno, I’m not a tween girl — but here’s one 40 year old bearded white middle-class male who thought it was a very strong tale, with compelling and vivid characters, dealing with a range of human emotions and human feelings, and still having enough action and drama to entertain virtually any comics reader, regardless of age or sex.

RE-GIFTERS is EXCELLENT work, and is, I think, Eisner-worthy when it comes to next year’s awards cycle.

There is just two small problems with it, both of them, I think, editorial more than anything else. The first is the chapter note on page 70 (and, digression: HURRAY for page numbers in books. COmics too often skip them) saying “just skip to page 71”, when what I think they mean is page 74. It’s probably the 71st page of script, where Carey didn’t know with certainty of how many “pre story” pages the book would have.

The second one was the double page sequences on 96/97 and 98/99 where the panels read as two tiers running across both pages. It’s the only examples of that technique in the entire book, and they really don’t work right because the panel borders are deep within the spine. While you CAN change up the narrative flow from the visual “Z” on a single page, to the wider one on a double page, you have to be super careful about bordering to it is achingly apparent to the reader (POWERS also falls into this trap a lot — “wait, where is my eye supposed to go?!?”), especially the more “casual” comics reader that Minx is aiming itself at.

But that’s all of the complaints I got, and both could probably be pretty easily fixed in later printing.

RE-GIFTERS won’t cure cancer, and it isn’t anything that you generally haven’t read before (there are strains of KARATE KID and BETTY & VERONICA and HEATHERS all in here), but it is done with grace and charm and joy of comics, and even the most minor tertiary character (like, say, Megan’s brother Gifford) are really well drawn characters who feel real.

I really really liked this, and I think you’ll like it too.

What did YOU think?


(oh, oh, and I forgot to mention: the SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN’s “Best of the Bay” readers poll is up on line at this link; if you live in SF, or have visited enough to be familiar with it, go and vote, and consider us for “Best Comics Shop”)

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