By Leroy Douresseaux
October 1, 2006 - 12:06
Cathy, Gertrude (Gerty), and Sasha are three grownups obsessed with a boy band called 110 Per¢. Cathy is a lonely single woman who works as a petty cash clerk for a company called Tel-Com (Telecom?). Sasha is an upper middle-aged wife (her husband calls her “Grandma” at one point). Sasha and her husband, Harry, who can’t stand her obsession with 110 Per¢, make sort of an Archie and Edith Bunker pair. Gertrude is a married, working mother of two. Gerty is so obsessed with 110 Per¢ that she even followed the group’s tour bus to retrieve their trash. Her neglect of her husband and her son, Bobby, and daughter, Joanee, is almost criminal and her obsession likely boarders on compulsion.
The women are also a trio – friends through their intense love of 110 Per¢. They’re members of Mature Older Fans of 110 Per¢ (MOFO 110 Per¢) – a group of likeminded, obsessed fans. However, things come to a head because the boys are coming to town for a one-night-only concert. Tickets are hot and hard to get, and that leads the friends to lying, cheating, and stealing. Their friendship is put to the test, as the women move farther from reality.
On the surface, Tony Consiglio’s 110 Per¢ seems like an examination of America’s obsession with both celebrity culture and pop culture i.e. entertainment. What Consiglio really looks at is human foibles through a series of characters that we come to like and/or understand. He creates characters we can recognize, and regardless of what we think of their actions, we recognize the characters as legitimate. They’re aren’t just mouthpieces that an author uses to make a point. We know that character, that type, and that behavior.
The thing that I liked the most about this book is that Consiglio tells so much of the story visually. One could say that it’s been a near 40-year trend of burying comic art in exposition and dialogue, which has made the rep of many writers. However, with his razor-sharp line (some panels look as if they belong in the New Yorker), Consiglio creates characters that reveal their good, their bad, and their gray visually.
Cartoonists who can cartoon the human figure with such felicity are the toast of newspaper and magazines comics and cartoons, yet Consiglio blesses comic book fans with his talent, and remains a relative unknown. Yeah, I’m crazy about this book. I couldn’t put it down, and I’m pissed that I can’t more… for the time being.
9 of 10