Royal City #14

Jeff Lemire’s (Roughneck) latest series concludes with this issue, which I appreciated for its acknowledgement of adult choices and how we settle down. The publisher describes Royal City as follows:

Royal City charts the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town across three decades. Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up, is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother, and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago.

Royal City #14

I’d been following along casually, as I wasn’t completely engrossed by yet another story about a middle-aged white guy struggling with how his life turned out, but I did like the variety of characters he created in this small town. Portraits of everyday life are still not common in serialized comics, and it was refreshing seeing such well-delineated situations. Comics, also, is the perfect format to make visually real a haunting memory.

This final issue is a summation of how everyone has reached new awareness and is moving on, and I found it refreshing in its affirmations, particularly in accepting how where you lived affects who you are without it being a chain or a curse.

Royal City #14 panel by Jeff Lemire

There’s a bit of wish fulfillment as the lead’s girlfriend leaves Hollywood for him, but I like his realization that it’s ok for one’s vision of life to maybe not have a clear forecasted path.

The entire series is collected in three books: Volume 1: Next of Kin, Volume 2: Sonic Youth, and Volume 3: We All Float On (out next month). (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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