- Posted by Johanna on October 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
- CREDITS: by Jeph Jacques
- PUBLISHER: TopatoCo Books; $18 US
Given what’s happened with Marten, Faye, and Dora since I began reading (after the comics reprinted here), it’s really interesting to see the early days, when Dora (the coffee shop owner) is flirting with Marten, who’s rooming with Faye platonically. She’s beginning to suggest some interest in him, and he’s got an unrealized crush on her, but as the book opens, they’re simply looking for a bigger place together so she can get her own room, instead of sleeping on the couch. (Thank goodness they got out of that room with the dark blue walls!) That status quo will change drastically by the end of the volume.
First, there’s plenty of humor, mostly stemming from the relationships between Marten and the various women in his life, although this is also the volume that reveals Faye’s dark secret, starting at strip #500, demonstrating how Jacques can do drama and powerful emotion as well as indie slice-of-life.
The characters at the beginning of the book resemble the current versions of themselves sufficiently, but the lines are thinner, less varied, so there’s still the fun of seeing Jeph Jacques’ development of confidence in his art style (as well as reading his notes pointing out bits he particularly hates now). By the end of this volume, they’re almost current-day in appearance. Plus, it was great meeting Sven (Dora’s brother and a country songwriter), Marten’s mother (the bondage queen), and fan-favorite Hannelore (and all her obsession issues) for the first time.
As with the previous volume, there are author comments under each strip, but they’re mostly wisecracks or “oh, I didn’t remember saying that”, not anything deep. I did laugh at his suggested drinking game, though, and I did enjoy seeing the comments about how Dora and Marten resemble each other. I wouldn’t recommend getting the book for that extra content, but I do recommend getting it just because it’s neat to have so much of it so easy to read in one big chunk.
I am feeling my age reading it, though. Superficially, I have little in common with Northeastern college-town hipsters, but that’s not the issue. They’re still people, with common and understandable hopes and dreams. It’s that the font for the text seems smaller than before. There are two vertical strips per page, and the book has one disadvantage compared to the screen — you can’t blow up the type size. For someone my age, definitely a volume to be read with bright light and perhaps a magnifying glass.
As for bonus content, there are some strips Jacques did for other webcomics in the back, as well as an afterword discussing strip 500 and its aftermath. Questionable Content Volume 2 can be ordered online from the publisher.