By Leroy Douresseaux
September 9, 2007 - 14:47
Uptight #2 opens like its predecessor with a ghost story. “Take Me Home,” is the tale of a young man who believes he has to put the ghost of an old man to rest. In “Before They Got Better,” an electrician, who plays the roles of husband, father, and grandfather, finds himself wrapped in a decaying familial blanket because his relationship with his wife is mostly rotted matter and his relationship with his daughter is rapidly spoiling fruit. Uptight’s final entry is the second installment of Keeping Two, which finds the protagonist imagining gruesome scenarios to explain why his girlfriend is late returning from the video store.
THE LOWDOWN: What makes me think that Uptight could take a place next to Fantagraphics great series is not just Jordan Crane’s talent, but also his splendid execution of his stories. Crane’s stories are a careful delineation and depiction of both the interior and exterior lives of his characters, but he structures visual forms of individual stories in different ways depending on exactly what he wants to illustrate for the reader.
In “Take Me Home,” he balances hot and cold space and light and dark in determining how the characters and setting will establish mood and inform the narrative. This rhythm of pushing some things into the background and moving others forward helps to suggest the passage of time or to place the narrative in a specific time. It also reveals to the reader how the lead character, Finch, unravels the mystery of the haunting.
In “Before They Got Better,” Crane’s uses a linear narrative structure that moves mostly straight, from beginning to end. Crane uses exposition and body language to tell the story in the now, but also hint at what the past was like that created the situation and also to suggest what the future may hold. In Keeping Two, each panel illustrates how potent individual visual moments can be even as they connect to others to create a larger visual narrative. I’ll wait to see more of this serial before I comment on it any further.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers looking for the next memorable alt-comix series: here, it is.
A review of Uptight #1 in the Comics Spotlight.
Uptight like all of Fantagraphics' in-print titles can be purchased from their website, fantagraphics.com. The title can also be purchased from the author's website, reddingk.com.