Sunday, February 19, 2012


Book Reviewed: Low Moon, by Jason

I've reviewed several of Jason's books on here before, so I won't go into all the reasons I'm obsessed with his graphic novels.  Just know this: I'm obsessd with Jason.  Even his books or stories that I don't love are still more interesting than a lot of things out there.  He knows how to tell a good story, and his art is always incredibly clever.  And in the best Jason stories, there's some really emotionally satisfying moments. 

I interlibrary-loaned Low Moon just because I was in the mood to read some short graphic novellas, and I hadn't read this one yet.  As usual, I finished it almost as soon as I picked it up (these things read really fast).  Low Moon collects five of Jason's shorter works: "Emily Says Hello," "Low Moon," "&," "Proto Film Noir," and "You Are Here."  Jason's work is sometimes too clever or ironic for its good, which is why "Emily Says Hello" and "Proto Film Noir," both of which are deeply weird, didn't quite work for me.  But the other three were engrossing and poignant in their own ways.  And in the case of "Low Moon," funny as hell. 

"Low Moon" is a Western in which people ride bicycles instead of horses, and instead of having shoot outs, sheriffs and bad guys duke it out on chess boards with life and death consequences.  Jason is clearly a major film buff (most of his best stories play with basic film concepts and build on image as if storyboarding an interesting shot), which pays off wonderfully in this particular piece.  "Low Moon" is a classic western, and it's not afraid to comment on its own ridiculousness.  If I introduce anyone to Jason anytime soon, I'm going to recommend "Low Moon" as a great place to start.  It's so funny and quirky and charming.  I loved it. 

I didn't love "&" or "You Are Here" quite as much as "Low Moon," but they were pretty good on their own, too.  "&" has a dark humor that undercuts the story in a way that actually gave me a nice surprise at the end, in which two intertwining stories finally come together.  It's a cute little piece.  "You Are Here," on the other hand, has a lot in common with one of my favorite Jason books, Hey, Wait..., which, for those of you who haven't read it, is an incredibly sad and strange look at grief and guilt.  "You Are Here" isn't quite as starkly beautiful as Hey, Wait..., but it's still a very human depiction of remorse and how we live (or don't) with our most banal choices. 

I really enjoyed Low Moon, and if I said it once, I'll say it a hundred times more.  You all need to go out and read Jason ASAP.  You won't regret it. 

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