Mark Kneece is a founding member and professor at the Savannah College of Art & Design. He is also the co-author of The Bristol Board Jungle, a graphic novel about his experience teaching at SCAD, and Verdilak (both by NBM). Julie Collins is also a founding member of the Savannah College of Art & Design.
Written in the tradition of the after-school special where a boy from a tragic background attempts to make good, this tale is more finely tuned and with a gruesome twist. Josh lives in a trailer park with his three siblings and a single mother who sells drugs. When his mother kills her abusive boyfriend, it's up to Josh to hide the body. The artwork has a subtle wholesomeness with a '50s twang that smoothes the transitions between Josh's violent home life and his school life, where he does detention and girls leave him (possibly) false love notes. Each panel tells a story, but Rousseau's art never gets carried away with "artiness," and the quiet pathos of Josh's face provides a graphic equivalent of those elegant turns found in great short stories. The plot at times has a similar unsettling elegance, though when pieces of the body are dug up, first by dogs, then by druggies who want to groove on death, the narrative veers toward trailer trash Grand Guignol. The story clips along and is hard to put down, with at times unbearable tension. Although the execution doesn't quite live up to intentions, Josh's predicament genuinely plucks at the heart. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.