Welcome back, ladies and gents, to the second installment of Bin Fodder. This week I’m spotlighting one of my favorite indie titles, Blue Monday, written and drawn by Chynna Clugston-Major. If you’ve never heard of it, I’m not surprised. It’s published by Oni Press, which is a less-than-large indie comic company, obviously most well known for the Scott Pilgrim books, but has also produced other notable titles like Barry Ween and Scooter Girl. Don’t be surprised if you see spotlights on each of those last two in the near future.
Blue Monday is, by definition, a teen-dramedy involving four main characters: Bleu, Clover, Victor, and Alan, all of whom are engaged in lusting after one another (sans same-sex inclinations) with a cast of ancillary characters that play entertaining background roles throughout the storylines. But don’t let the teen-dramedy aspect of it through you off, this isn’t “Twilight” (which is unintentionally a dramedy). It would be more akin to the first three “American Pie” movies, not in the story at all, but rather in the sense that the characters have character and you feel involved in what’s going on.
Now, if you’re not a fan of black & white comics then you’re about to be disappointed because Blue Monday is, other than the covers, entirely done in black & white. But if you don’t like that style of comic then that means that you most likely don’t like The Tick, Strangers in Paradise or Bone (in its original form) and that calls into question your right as a human being to even read comics.
There are a number of reasons why Blue Monday is a book you should run out and pick up. First, it’s fun. Most people turn to independent comics because they are looking for some relief from the muscled-up, spandex-wearing superheroes commonly found in mainstream books, so the fact that Blue Monday finds ways to be compelling and engaging while not taking itself too seriously is a nice combination of elements. Second, every few pages Clugston-Major adds songs to the soundtrack of the book and I have to say it’s a pretty great list. For instance the first song listed in Absolute Beginners is The Smiths – “There is a Light that Never Goes Out”, which is a fairly prominent band but the list of songs and groups ventures into the obscure with serious regularity.
For those comic book readers amongst you who look for more surface-type reasons to read a comic, those who read Gen 13 for the “awesome story,” please see picture inserted below. Despite the fact that this comic is written and drawn by a woman there is a heavy dose of scantily clad ladies (for instance one character who seems to be perpetually in a rather sheer nightie.)
Clugston-Major has done other works along the way but she has never abandoned Blue Monday and new issues still come out with infrequent frequency. Thankfully, though, unlike some titles that post in Diamond and then miss their deadline, I’ve not seen that happen with this title.
So, my friends, go bin diving and find this and other gems!
Until next time,
This is Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off!