Shutterbug Follies

May 12, 2006 at 2:17 pm (Reads) ()

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Shutterbug Follies by Jason Little

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Working in a library, I stumble across some interesting graphic novels. Chris Ware’s The Acme Novelty Datebook was one such oddity, as was Jimmy Corrigan. In both cases, I was intrigued enough to pick them up, but not enough to read the entire works. Shutterbug Follies, though, was the opposite: I saw the book, but didn’t think enough of it to even flip through it.

Well, thank goodness for boingboing.net. They linked to Jason Little’s website, where I discovered Bee and her adventures. I was hooked on her just from reading the few pages available on her most current adventure, but what really drew me in was the teaser for Shutterbug Follies. In it, Bee works at a photo developing shop, and is drawn in to a mystery thanks to some gruesome photos that, the photographer tells her, are crime scene photographs. Bee isn’t convinced, and starts putting together the clues of a growing mystery.

Jason Little’s style reminded me some of Daniel Clowes, if only because his artwork is similar. They both have a cartoony feel to their artwork, which contrasts nicely with the serious themes of their stories, but the styles are clean in that they aren’t intended to be impressionistic or otherwise stylish. The story of Shutterbug Follies could probably stand up next to other popular works of suspense fiction, thanks to the plot twists and action. The pacing is just right, and Little understands when to fill in the blanks, and when to let the reader draw his own conclusions. In the same sense that Watchmen and Sandman could appeal to readers of traditional science fiction and fantasy fiction, so could Shutterbug Follies appeal to fans of mysteries.

For people who are into superhero comics, Shutterbug Follies isn’t for them. It lacks the escapist appeal that a traditional Batman or Superman story will hold. For those readers who read and enjoyed Goodbye, Chunky Rice, or Maus, though, Shutterbug Follies should be quite the hit. I would recommend it to anyone who likes their graphic novels a little more mainstream, story-wise, but still edgy and just off the fringe, all told.

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2 Comments

  1. LTC said,

    Anything you can recommend that’s comparable?

  2. 6impossiblethings said,

    You know, I don’t think I can. I’m not well-read enough with graphic novels in general to think of someone with a similar style, or who writes similar stories. This is a straight-up suspense yarn, and I can’t think of any other graphic novels that are similar.

    Blankets, though, by Craig Thompson, is a straightforward story, with a clean drawing style, but it’s more about growing up, reminiscing, and first love. It’s a very different sort of graphic novel, but it’s very good.

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