SPX Pulls: All Star, Jesse Lonergan / by Anthony Rosen

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The whole point of our SPX wrap-up/wind-down/reviewening is that we all go in hard to review every single comic we picked up at the show as swiftly as we can, so that we can deliver the full flavor of the SPX community and their wonderful work to you readers at home as quickly as we can.  We don't want our stuff going bad in the fridge, so to speak. Sitting down with my first set of books tonight, I immediately realized how hard that is going to be. I set out with the intention of doing one roundup to talk about some of my shorter issues, but I'm already digging a book I picked up so much that my gushing praise for it could not be constrained to one paragraph in a roundup. All Star, Chapter One?

So.  Good.

This sucker is so flippin' good, that the second I had picked it up off of Jesse Lonergan's table and opened it up, I came upon a panel I was so wowed by that I immediately made sure to let him know it. That's right, I enjoyed it so much that I forgot all concepts of politeness and shoved my appreciation for it right into his face. Pleasant social interactions aside, All Star is the story of Carl Carter, a naturally gifted athlete leading his high-school baseball team to victory, and his friend Esden Hubbard, a teenager with more than his fair share of trouble at home. It's certainly a short book, but I couldn't help but be continually impressed by the art. Mr. Lonegran has a clean, exaggerated style that feels only steps away from pure animation. His composition is effortless, effective, and a joyful congregation of swift action and potent movements.

You wanna know why this book is awesome? Check out the panel work in the following scene, as Carl steps up to the plate at the bottom of the ninth...

That ball, screaming across the first panel, drawing your eye from the initial arc of motion towards the right side of the page where it's then drawn directly below to an open-bordered panel, isolating the moment and movement of Carl Carter’s glorious arc to fantastic effect. Below his feet, the pitcher, the crowd, and Carl's teammates follow that same arc in an anxious, anticipatory moment where it seems the only thing anyone can do is watch in awe.  And then?

Glorious victory. Check out that ball, moving so fast it crashes through the panel itself! I love that little touch, it's simple, incredibly effective, and generally indicative of how much talent Jesse Lonergan has. And it's not just the art that's great either. The dialogue in this book is smart, funny and honest, while the narration has just enough character to take on a life of its own without becoming an unwelcome presence.

It's awesome I tell you, awesome.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Mr. Lonergan is currently selling the book online.  Still, you should definitely check out his two blogs, one where you can find some of his other work for sale, and another where he takes time sketching out awesome characters dancing up a storm.