An autobiographical comic can slip into it’s own unique niche sometimes but after Dave Gordon surprised & entertained me with his first book it was a no-brainer that I’d pre-order his second volume as soon as I could.
We pickup where the first volume left off as his discovery of his biological mother and the step of hand delivering a letter through her door marked a life moment to leave Dave and the reader on that frustrating high of what happens next. The pace picks up from the beginning as revelations seem to keep coming. There’s more about his Mum and her life that lead to him being put up for adoption and there’s the typically honest retelling of all his feelings about it.
A new family life begins but there’s still the shadow of his adoptive parents and a fairly toxic element they represent in his life. Something that was made obvious in that first book but only now that you have a very real contrast of his new happier family life to you really realise how messed up those early days were. While we get to discover more about Dave’s character and motivations there’s also a lengthy section on his entry into comics that seem to be far more significant given the turmoil in every other area of his life.
Dave is as honest and open as he was in book one and with the added contrast of the bad & great elements that life can throw at you it’s resulted in a tour de force in his comic creativity. Lows of his father’s passing & the negativity from the other adoptive element in his life and the highs of a new family life and comic success & struggles give this a great balance. Life is grim at times but the ability to succeed in the face of that is something that Dave seems to be shouting out from the pages and you know….he’s damn right.
Art-wise the book is beautiful although I did feel that some of the pages felt very faint with Dave’s art while the lettering was bold……that could be deliberate though as these elements are flashbacks while later pages do seem far bolder but it doesn’t distract or annoy……in fact, it forces you to focus more on taking in the visuals and you probably see more as a result. The detail Dave gets from what appears to be a simple drawing is brilliant and it’s an extra layer of subtlety that I hope he realises he’s accomplished because it really shows what he can do.
So the second volume opens up more details of Dave’s life and rather than it feeling like he’s asking you to judge it but he’s actually saying “Here’s my life…..like it or lump it!” which turns this into an inspiring read. Flawed in much the same way life is but that’s kind of the whole point and I really hope he’s working on a third book….pre-ordering on standby.