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Thursday, March 17, 2005

LA PERDIDA by Jessica Abel

Jessica Abel recently finished her longest comic book story to date, LA PERDIDA, published in five parts from 2001 to 2005. My first impression is that the ending is a bit of a let-down, although I reserve the right to revise that opinion when I get a chance to re-read the whole story (about 250 pages) straight through. Even if the ending isn't as strong, everything up to that has been excellent, and the art in the final issue is still strong, so I still recommend the series or the eventual collection.

The series is the story of Carla, a young woman from Chicago who spends a year living in Mexico. As we learn from the framing sequence that opens the first issue, a year after her return, things did not go well for her in the end. The main story opens shortly after her arrival and traces her gradually changing attitudes and relationships as she loses control of her life in the course of her year.

Abel's art has been strong on her earlier work in the ARTBABE series, but this series has definitely shown an increase in her skills. In particular I've noticed that the work has gotten a bit looser, more natural, and the use of shading has gotten more sophisticated. In this story it's also important that there be a strong sense of place to an exotic location for most of the readers, and she does a great job of that. There are several nicely illustrated scenes in the various issues, especially the covers of the first three issues (which you can see on the website).

You can sample a 16-page short story not included in the published issues, "Xochimilco" at Abel's website.

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