By Al Kratina
Jan 28, 2008 - 19:45
My first introduction to the world of Josué Menjivar came with Cicada, a graphic novel which made me want to kill myself in a way that playing Judas Priest records backwards never did. In Broken Fender, Menjivar reveals that his talents are not limited only to long-form suicide notes, but also include short bursts of sorrow, like a machine gun loaded with tears and torn-up chunks of old love-letters.
Top Shelf’s Broken Fender is a collection of short, compact pieces, unconnected save for a shared sense of all-encompassing misery. They deal with real-life situations, mostly devoid of whimsy or flights of fancy, though one-page story Farewell does take place on the moon. As a writer, Menjivar is simple and direct, but despite the lack of artifice and the lack of any melodramatic tragedy, there's a pervading moroseness to his work. As an artist, he’s quite versatile, ranging from the simplistic but evocative line art also seen in Cicada to the detailed shading of Les Souvenirs Heureux, an artistic and lyrical highlight of the book.
|I can't find any other pictures from Broken Fender, okay? Leave me alone.|
What’s most impressive about Broken Fenders is its honesty and realism. The book is unique and idiosyncratic without being annoyingly quirky; think Juno if that film hadn’t been so concerned with making hipsters smirk. Occasionally, the stories get too personal and opaque, becoming somewhat irrelevant as anything other than tone poems. However, despite these occasional missteps and a dearth of happy endings, Broken Fences makes for a satisfying read, or an effective suicide note, depending on what you want to do with it.
Rating: 7 on 10