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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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01/02/2005 Archived Entry: "Subway Series"

Subway Series
By Leela Corman
Published by Alternative Comics
144 pages, $9.95
ISBN: 1891867148

Reviewed by Laurel Sutton

Just after I finished reading and enjoying this book, and while in the middle of a marathon telephone session with Dell, I knocked my coffee off my night table and spilled it all over the back cover. This isn't relevant to the review, but I thought I would mention it, as it's all I can think about when I look at the damn thing now.

Anyway: I don't remember high school being like this. I mean, some of the stuff was the same: bitchy girls, guys who only wanted to fuck you, other guys who seemed like perfect boyfriend material but who constantly gave you mixed signals, etc., etc. Tina, the main character, suffers all these as well as losing her virginity at a party when she really doesn't want to ("Well, if you're gonna bitch so much about it…"). Yep, that seems right on the money.

What's weird is that there are no adults at all in the world of these high schoolers – except for a hooker, a cranky teacher, and a mention of someone's mom passed out in the living room. Growing up in New York, the kids stay out all night, hang out in coffee shops, and rarely attend school. Well, maybe I'm just old. I couldn't help but think that Tina could benefit from a little positive adult influence, but if it were there, would she even recognize it?

I like the art - very cursive and flowing, with a lot of expression in the faces and body postures. The dialogue, too, is concise and laden with meaning, in the way that all conversation is when you're an adolescent (e.g, "He's better than nothing!") One minor rant: on the very first page, one of the main characters is introduced by the wrong name. It took me two complete readings to figure out that it was a mistake, and not my brain messing with me.

There isn't really a plot, just the story of Tina negotiating all the land mines of female teenagerhood, and coming out pretty much OK in the end. Along the way she learns some things about self-reliance, and how to play the guitar. We can't ask for much more than that from our larval years.

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