Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Celebrated Summer by Charles Forsman

I apologize for the lack of updates these last few days; personal problems have come up.

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Now enough of that and let's talk about Charles Forsman's Celebrated Summer; a highly anticipated  release. And man, what a comic.

Forsman is a cartoonist to be watching. He's one of those rare individuals who gets better and better with every release. With his debut release, The End of the Fucking World, showed an individual with a strong grasp of the comic medium; beautifully pairing word and imagery in sequential motion. Forsman continues this

Celebrated Summers tells of two youths dropping LSD and we follow them through their whole day of tripping.

But...

This isn't you typical, WHHHOOAAA I'M TRIPPIN' BALLS type story. No, the LSD is mostly used as a way to explore the inner feelings, fears, inspirations and daily lives of these disfranchised youths. It's a beautiful slice of life story where life is heavily expounded on because of the LSD. And since Forsman's characters come from trouble homes or have troubled pasts, those troubles too are expounded. but those troubles aren't shown in full force. Forsman implies them or allows use to only see a small part of the overall image, letting the readers fill in the rest. Forsman does this through dialogue or through the actions of his characters. This allows a level of nuance and textured characters that linger in the brain for days to come.

I love when creators do this. It gives us a sense that we're part of the story, that Forsman isn't just telling us a story, but allowing us to work with him.


Forsman continues his tradition of having panels with just words. One of the many tools that Forsman uses in his narratives. For me, this allows a level of contemplation and characterization that sometimes only words can do. Then pair that up with wordless images, it adds to an interesting dynamic between the two. I think, there's a freedom to experiment and expound on your world and the characters that inhabit it when to do things like that. To disconnect or connect the two (words and images) in an interesting way.

Forsman also continues the Charles Schulz legacy. The big thing to say I know but when you read Forsman, you can't help but think of Peanuts; in Forsman's art-style, characters and in his stories. It's as if the Peanuts crew grew up and had to deal with teenage and adult problems. There only another person who is close to that is Sammy Harkham but he doesn't get to the level that Forsman does.

Now, I don't want to just make Forsman seem like a Schulz imitator, but as Forsman taking what made Schulz and Peanuts great and twisting into his own unique voice and vision.

And I think that's why I fucking love Forsman's work. I'm a huge Peanuts fan; I grew up with it. I still vividly remember picking up my first Peanuts comic, watching the TV specials and where I was when Schulz died. They all had a huge impact on life. Then there're Forsman's characters, they remind me of my friends and I. Dealing the with the same shit that some of the character in Forsman's comic deal with. I get lifted back to my teenage years and a wave of nostalgia, embarrassment, anger and disappoint just hit me. I don't mind reveling in that, it was something that was a part of me and made me who I am.

Celebrated Summer is a short story, only 66 pages, but there's a lot of depth. It's a story that deserves more than one read to fully grasp Forsman's full realized characters and story.

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