Posted on September 19, 2012 AT 09:19pm
Being an artist isn’t all its made out to be. Sina Grace, whose work on titles such as L’il Depressed Boy made him a success, hasn’t always been a factor in the world of comics. In Not My Bag, he illustrates (no pun intended) the struggles of trying to survive in the real world while still trying to make it in the occupation he loves.
The artwork is simple yet fitting, working in a way those who are familiar with Grace’s work will find comforting. Illustrated in black and white, things are plain, but in a good way, with pointed figures and detail coming mainly in the different patterns on display with clothing and buildings. While it’s no top level style, it’s one all his own, and in a personal tale such as this, it’s right where it needs to be.
In his signature style, Grace tells what is almost an autobiographical story about himself, his life while working in the retail fashion industry, and the ghosts of his past. It’s very well-told (as any story told by the person living it), endearing and heartfelt. While Grace tells his story well, he lead a pretty natural life for many people working in the retail industry. Retail is a life-sapping, shady kind of industry, which Grace shows himself getting immersed in, with all the bells and whistles of not making enough money, getting put into awkward situations with people, without the best intentions. While paced and told in an interesting manner, the story itself isn’t all that interesting. While some may find a personal tale of triumph endearing, there isn’t a lot more there than what’s originally laid out there.
That’s not exactly a bad thing, however. A smooth presentation and an attention to storytelling makes this a read that fans of non-superhero titles could possibly get into. An atypical story that reads more like a visual version of a friend telling a story, Not My Bag does what it seemed like Grace intended: told a story about him and his life before making it in the comic book industry. For many readers who are used to the typical action and explosions of mainstream comics, this will seem rather boring. For those willing to give a shot to a graphic novel that is as much personal as it is used for a commercial purpose may find a lot to like about the book.
Summary: While not the most interesting of books, Not My Bag is a new look on a medium heavy on muscles and explosions, giving a heartwarming tale of love, life, and metaphorical ghosts. It never really builds into anything more than it lays out there, however, the story itself is one that if continued, leads to a good emotional payoff. Knowing this is part of Grace’s personal history gives it more appeal, even if the reader has no idea about fashion, working in retail or customer service in general.
The Good: Heartwarming Story, Fitting Artwork
The Bad: Slow Pacing
The Ugly: Autobiographical Subject Matter Is Not Always Interesting
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