Second Look: Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria, and Warren Pleece

OMG Pigs are flying!

I think this is the first time we have discussed a graphic novel on this blog. To ALL the GN lovers out there I AM SO SORRY FOR WRONGING YOU!

The sad truth is that my attention span is now the equivalent of a 3 year old’s, so I’m having trouble reading anything that has more than 20 words per page or doesn’t have pictures. I thought I was doomed to a life of reading children’s picture books. Don’t get me wrong, I love me  a good picture book every now and then (have YOU read an Elephant and Piggie book lately?! LONG LIVE MO WILLEMS!) but I needed something with more depth than adorable little animals playing hide and seek. It was then that I had my “EUREKA!” moment: graphic novels! They’re told in short snippets (with not too many words per panel) and they have awesome artwork! SCORE! So I grabbed a few and dove right in. And I am oh-so-glad I did.

Dave’s life sucks. In every sense of the word. He works a crappy dead end job as night manager of Last Stop, a 24 hour convenience store and, well… he’s a vampire. A vegetarian one at that. One night, in walks Rosa, a beautiful Latina goth chick with a fondness for the darkside. When Rosa is wronged by her boyfriend, Dave sees his chance to make his move. Unfortunately, he’s fang-blocked by Wes, a surfer-dude vampire who also has his eye on Rosa. Not because he actually likes her, but because he wants to make life miserable for Dave.

Dave, of course, is our loveable little vegetarian vampire. Dave’s a legit good guy who wants to do good guy things. He doesn’t want to kill/eat people, and he wants to get the girl and make her happy. Ya gotta love that. Rosa is the beautiful object of Dave’s affection, who pines for life after dark. She’s cool. A little hot under the collar, but I think she was totally justified in most of her tirades. Wes is 100% certifiable douche. Every book, graphic novel or no, usually has at least one. He wants what he wants when he wants it, and uses his looks and vampiric powers to get it. There’s Radu (aka Lord Radu Arisztidescu), Dave and Wes’s Romanian master/maker. He’s also the owner of Last Stop and Dave’s boss, who thinks Dave is a worthless as a vampire since he won’t actually kill anyone. Lastly, there are Dave’s buddies, Jerome and Carl, who add some decent guy humor (read: sometimes crude, but funny) and give Dave the kick in the pants he needs to try to get his girl.

I won’t lie. When I first picked this book up, I got really excited because I misread the co-author’s name at the top of the book. I then did a double take and saw that it was GABRIEL SORIA (author) and not GABE SAPORTA (frontman of Cobra Starship).

I had a hard time following some part of the story. On the whole, it wasn’t bad. But there were a couple parts where the story jumped and didn’t seem to make any sense, or new characters randomly popped up with no introduction. More than a few times I found myself thinking, “wait… who the hell is that?!” or “why are they talking about HIM? What does HE have to do with this?!” The ending left a lot to be desired, as well. The conclusion fell a little short and didn’t satisfy me, although *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* I will give props, however, for NOT giving it a happily ever after-style ending. *END SPOILER* The concept was good, but the execution could have been better. Same goes with the artwork.

Personally, I try not to judge other’s artistic abilities. I love art and am decent with mixed media. But ask me to draw a human being and you’ll get a stick figure with shoebox feet. So I respect anyone who can not only draw comic book panels, but can draw an entire book’s worth. I won’t say the artwork in Life Sucks was bad, because it wasn’t. But I’ve seen artwork in other GN’s and comics that I liked much better. Pleece’s drawings were clear and detailed and helped tell the story as it was written.  I don’t think it’s a matter of quality, more just personal preference.

Life Sucks was good, not spectacular. Will it go down as one of my favorites of all time? Probably not. Will it turn me off of graphic novels? Absolutely not. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go raid the local library’s graphic novel section to see what other goodies I’ve been missing out on.



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