03 June 2009

Addicted to Distraction # reviewed at High-Low

High-Low

ADDICTED TO DISTRACTION, by Shannon Smith. The best word to describe this mini is "pleasant". Smith is an amiable fellow with a loving family who enjoys relating anecdotes about his life and the world of comics. The "In A World of Savages" strips are my favorite in the book, as Smith employs a pleasingly shabby line to relate stories about his daughter, his obsession with the Comics Journal, and his status as a cartoonist vs being a musician. The bulk of the issue is devoted to his Super Bowl Sunday drawing experiment, where he drew a page once an hour describing his day. His line here is extremely crude for obvious reasons, but his gentle, self-effacing humor shines through on every page. Smith works the angle of being a laid-back, toy-loving guy in a house filled with women & girls quite nicely, especially in the way he lets his children dictate the pace and nature of their play. A different strip where a character encounters a lyrics-spouting Jimi Hendrix felt more like an exercise than a real story, and his more heavily-labored art doesn't add much clarity. On the other hand, the pages of illustrations in the back were often funny (Lucy Van Pelt haranguing Judge Dredd?) and weirdly enthusiastic (like several pages hyping up Virginia Tech in the ACC football championships). All told, this wasn't an earth-shattering collection of stories, but it was one without any pretenses of such.
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