All Star by Jesse Lonergan

All Star cover

Carl Carter is a small-town baseball star in his senior year of high school in 1998. He’s about to get a scholarship for college ball. He knows how valuable he’s considered, and as a result, he treats those around him with disregard. He relies on his brother to do his work, ignores his father, and skates on schoolwork.

His best friend Esden parties with him, but Esden doesn’t have the skills that excuse this frat-boy-like behavior. Then the two make a stupid drunken choice. There’s anger and recriminations and rationalizations, and some lives change, and some don’t, and the reasons for putting people in each category make up the meat of the book. Carl’s eyes are opened, such that he better understands the costs of the status he took for granted, and why others might resent him.

All Star cover

All Star is a simple story. Many of us have seen or heard similar tales, about golden boys who get whatever they want as long as they’re winning. The appeal for me was Jesse Lonergan’s spare, angular linework, which beautifully captures the motion of the game and the louche arrogance of Carl. It’s an authentic tale of life in a small community, particularly in the wordless sequences of ball practice or late-night party. It’s a pleasure to get lost in the art.

The book has also been serialized digitally, with the first issue available for only 99 cents. There are a couple of preview pages in this interview with the artist. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

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