18 June 2012

Angsty teens, Japanese and Nautical-American.

Two great comics, linked by high-schooler protagonists (but not much else).

First, Shuzo Oshimi's The Flowers of Evil, and Angsty Teen #1, Takao Kasuga, who spends his time reading Baudelaire and Having So Many Feelings No One Understands UGH . . . and then one day he succumbs to temptation and steals his crush Saeki's dirty gym uniform. Too late, he learns his crime was witnessed by Nakamura, the weirdest, angriest girl in his class. She's willing to keep her silence, for a price--but she prefers mind games to money. She thinks she's found a kindred spirit in perversion and contempt--and though, in this first volume, Takao vehemently denies they've anything in common, I can't wait to see whether he decides to embrace his inner Baudelaire.

This side of the Pacific--and possibly floating on it--there's Dave Roman's and John Green's Teen Boat! The comic's tagline sums it up neatly: "The angst of being a teen! The thrill of being a boat!" and takes it from there . . . our eponymous hero can, in fact, transform into a yacht. It's a great premise, done to giddy perfection, as in the first arc, where Teen Boat tries to get in good with the jocks by letting them have a party on his nautical form. Manages both to skewer superhero and teen-fiction tropes and play 'em straight. Recommended for pretty much everyone, except maybe my friend Greg, who's terrified of open water.

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