I Am Young reads like a series of lushly rendered postcards sent through time from eras past, each accompanied by an illustrated "soundtrack" consisting of classic LPs. Running throughout, as the main theme, is a ill-starred love story set to the music, lives and times of The Beatles. Other LPs incorporated into the narratives of love and heartbreak are Eddy Arnold's Anytime, The Beach Boys Pet Sounds, the Tom Jones debut, Along Came Jones (ironic or not ironic? / that is the question), along with Chuck Berry's greatest hits collection, The Great Twenty-Eight – and it all gets started with a Brunswick 78 rpm 10" of Cab Calloway's "St. James Infirmary." The artwork is rendered in a variety of color palettes, each carefully crafted to match the characteristics of the particular LP/era/story/sequence – while the main, interweaving piece that centers on The Beatles is consistently black & white with greytones.
The pieces all assume – each to its own degree – an elegiac tone, as each confronts and relays an experience of love that fails to blossom, whether because it is unreciprocated, unrequited, unequal, or simply unrecognized, and for which the accompanying LP represents a soundtrack of consolation, of sorts, while, concomitantly, providing a sort of narrative harmony, serving to define – or at least to help locate – the associated absence.
Dean's linework consistently maintains an earthy, organic feel which meshes perfectly with the various color palettes employed. Layouts, too, strive to match the mood of each piece and so vary from story to story; it is worth noting that particularly effective use is made of the twelve-panel grid in the Anytime sequence.
There's a nice preview of (most of) the opening sequence of I Am Young on Google Books, HERE.
Should that have whetted your appetite for more, while you're waiting for your copy of I Am Young to arrive, you may want to spend some time reading her current webcomic, The Girl Who Flew Away, which starts, HERE.
Here's the sixth and latest issue of Fantagraphics' ongoing anthology series featuring the best in contemporary comics. Edited by Eric Reynolds, each issue is packed with short comics works of all shapes and sizes, varied in approach and all self-contained. This issue we have: Theo Ellsworth, Mariana Pita, M. Dean, C.J. Aguilera, Amandine Meyer, Aseyn, Tim Lane, José Quintanar, Veronika Muchitsch, Disa Wallander, Julian Glander, Jesse Reklaw, Zohar Lazar, Steven Weissman, and Nick Thorburn. Cover by Koak.