Monday, January 5, 2009

Young Liars

Young Liars Volume 1 - Daydream Believer - David Lapham: The picture over there is not from the trade I have, but i couldn't find one online, and I don't have a scanner with me. I read this on the shuttle from DC to New York on Sunday. Since that time I have re-read it, and gone over some parts of it several times. I'm not sure how to review this. I am not sure what my opinion even is on this. At first it looks like one thing, and then like another.

Is this comic a big ugly ugly mess, or is it hip and cool and several kinds of awesome? Are we seeing a story in which a guy and a girl who belong together kind of end up together, or are we seeing a story where a guy with a stalker-like obsession for a girl that only tolerates him out of convenience ends up as her controller after shooting her in the head maybe on purpose?

The book is populated by people who seem like one thing, but are really at least one other thing, and none of those things are particularly desirable. It makes me think of the sort of awful mind control fantasy porn fiction that has been around forever. Loser guy is hot for a girl who is too aloof for him, so he learns mind control and makes her his sex slave and humiliates her, etc.

Danny is the main character, but his friends are ever present. Rich guy who is always trying get rich quick scams, bulimic model, bitchy and aloof girl who is a rock groupie that lives to pleasure even minor rock stars, Transvestite, nicest guy on earth heroin addict, Sadie, the girl he has always loved, but due to a bullet lodged in her brain, pretty much just lives to dance and fight, and not get caught and sent back to her rich uber-depraived father. Danny himself is a sweet protective friend who wants to be in a band, and lives to take care of Sadie, or he is a murderer and psycho who holds Sadie prisoner more or less, due to her susceptibility to his suggestion thanks to a bullet that he put there in a sort of blind rage after she told him how she really felt about him.

It's really hard to know what is real in this story. It jumps around a lot, back and forth in time. I just don't find it as deep and compelling as i would like to, and if I am not careful, it just comes off as creepy. There is a bizarre plot involving trying to find a painting, as well as one involving the large group of hit people who Sadie's father has sent to bring her home and kill everyone around her basically. Even the glimpses of Sadie prior to the bullet in her brain shows a stark contrast to the vibrant and fearless Sadie. She comes off as sort of a bitch and a user as well. Mostly it all just makes it difficult for me to decide what I really think of it. Who knows, I may love it!


John said...

The thing about Young Liars is that it's a series that keeps throwing curve ball after curve ball (which shouldn't be that much of a surprise, given the title.) I only hope it doesn't get canceled before the rest of the story gets revealed. Even if Lapham never delivers the categorical "truth" of what really happened, the use of different perspectives (especially Sadie's in the issues following Vol. 1) makes things a good deal more interesting. Analyzing a roller-coaster isn't nearly as much fun as sitting back and enjoying the ride, and I feel that the same is true for this series.

Also, for what it's worth, it seems to be very popular with friends of mine who don't usually read comic books (moreso than Fables or even Y: The Last Man.)

Talkin Bout Comics said...

I definitely want to keep reading it. There was no sarcasm in the statements that I made about not being sure if I think it is great and love it, or awful and I hate it. I enjoyed reading it, and I can't read comics and not think about them. Sometimes the thinking doesn't need to go beyond thinking something is funny or exciting, but with a work that has as much 'stuff' in it as Young Liars, I have to reconcile it somehow.

I love Danny, just not the part where he seems like an asshole of a loser or potentially some sort of rapist.

Sadie is sort of the same way. I love bullet in the head Sadie, but bitchy sort of stuck up Sadie isn't my favorite.

I know the title has Liars right there in it, but I never got the sense that other than in one or two instances, what we were getting was pov stuff, and possibly not a real reflection of what happened.

Did she not die? Are the subsequent issues all flashbacks for her, or is she alive and well in the present somehow?

John said...

I'll admit that I haven't been keeping up with the series (I have all the issues, but for various reasons I haven't gotten around to reading them.) From what I've gathered, though, the story does continue and Sadie does survive. I'll try to dig through my back issues tonight and give you a better-informed answer tomorrow.

Frost said...

I don't know what I feel about young Liars, either. I bought up to issue five, and then kind of ran out of money so haven't picked it up since.

I will say I suppose I was picking it up for the name more than the content: I usually really like his stuff -- Stray Bullets was superb, and his run on Detective Comics was good too.

Sadly, when Lapham self publishes, it never ends well -- I think he tends to get bored and just starts new projects. :c

John said...

Okay, so I sat down and read issues 7-10 (instead of flipping through them, which only confuses things.) Sadie does live, but she's still crazy. Danny's on a mission to restore her sanity by helping her confront her various demons (metaphorically "killing" her "Spiders from Mars.")
Issue 7 is from Sadie's perspective and is flippin' CRAZY! Issue 8 is from another character's perspective, and who it is turns out to be quite a shocking twist. Either 9 or 10 (I don't remember which) is all about Cee Cee, and really humanizes her in a way that the first volume did not. Every issue continues the trend of unfolding the story, and proves that nothing is what it seems on first (or even second) examination.

Talkin Bout Comics said...

Thanks for the rundown! I really do appreciate it. I just picked up 7-10 at Forbidden Planet, and have slowly started to read them. (I am one who actually loves spoilers... It has to do with my need for faster than instant gratification, I think.)

I am still reading them with a slightly confused look on my face, but I AM still reading them. There is something compelling to me about the whole package, which includes it's ability to confuse me.