Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Life in Records

A quick look at Grant Thomas’ My Life in Records would have been timelier two weeks ago. If I was paying attention perhaps I would have noted the subtitle, “Christmas Mini-Comic.” But alas, I’m always a small stack of mini-comics behind…

My Life in Records is a slick 22-page mini featuring a nostalgic cover that hints at a simpler time. Note the masks fastened with rubber bands, the record in young Grant’s hands, and of course, the one piece footie pajamas. This installment of My Life in Records details Thomas’ obsession with Christmas, and a Christmas record in particular. As he tells his story, Thomas fills in little details that resonated with my own childhood: the fascination with the family hi-fi and the one record that he was allowed to play with as a 3-year old. My own record was a Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup, and man those interior cover images made for some tense moments after the lights went out.

While Thomas and his brother look forward to Christmas, Thomas begins playing the Christmas record in July. His mother is outside gardening and hears the music, “Am I hearing what I think I’m hearing.” So Christmas comes early in his house, and Thomas plots the highlights of the weeks leading up to Christmas. His brother is convinced that he will get the “Castle o’ Grayskull” as his gift; in one panel Thomas clutches a Darth Vader figure.

Then somewhat abruptly the story shifts to the next year and the arrival of his sister. The details of his mother leaving for the hospital and the wait for her return are well done. Thomas captures the story from a kid’s eye view, but doesn’t resort to cheap devices or an overly maudlin tone. It feels real.

These strips were originally published as a webcomic, and in many ways they still have that feel. The pages are shiny and slick. The backgrounds are sparse, but spot colors are used to break up the panels in a non-organic way. Pages 8-10 look drawn with a mouse, while other pages appear more hand drawn.

Give Thomas’ work a look at his website.

It looks like you can purchase My Life in Records at his online store for $6. Check out his other work while you're there.

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