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Seconds: A Graphic Novel

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Where do you begin with Seconds? Maybe with the fact that writer/artist/creator Bryan Lee O’Malley hates bread and wants to destroy that entire industry that has been around for countless years? Maybe. Maybe we should begin with the fact that the creator/writer/artist of Scott Pilgrim, you know that movie you really liked because it was awesome that started as a comic that is also awesome and was recently colored by Nathan Fairbairn and released in hardcover, has come back after the mega success of that series with a one-and-done graphic novel. A graphic novel about a woman who aspires to open her very own restaurant, after the successful ‘Seconds’ restaurant, with her very own menu and, while trying to obtain this goal, she discovers a note book, a mushroom and card with instructions to:

  • Write your mistake
  • Ingest one mushroom
  • Go to sleep
  • Wake anew

Clever name there too, right? Seconds, as in second helping for the restaurant but also Seconds as in second chances, and now that you’re mind is blown too, let’s get back to the story at hand. All of the charm and wit that accompanied Scott Pilgrim is here, and at one point if you look closely enough you’ll even get to see Mr. Pilgrim and Ms. Flowers, but in a more mature setting. Sure, we’re talking about mushrooms that can erase your mistakes, but she’s almost thirty, damnit so it’s a more mature setting, damnit!

The story itself is fast paced and perfect for a one-sitting read. Not only is it a shorter book, with an interesting layout that shrinks the panels into the center with lots of white border that helps to compact the material, but the smooth transitions from panel to panel and the almost simplistic, clean art that we’ve gotten from O’Malley in the past really help to push the reader along without ever really feeling like you’re overwhelmed with a large trade. Without even realizing it, the book was all but over and while O’Malley wrapped everything up in a nice, neat bow you can’t help but want more from these characters.

Whether or not BLOM (Bryan Lee O’Malley, duh) ever revisits these characters is irrelevant, because on its own Seconds stands tall. There have been some complaints around the interwebs that BLOM wrapped this up almost too nicely and to that I say thee nay. In this cynical world, and I can be just as guilty as the rest, it was nice to see a story end on an almost “happily ever after” note as opposed to all the grim/dark/despair found in a lot of modern comics.

Now, as briefly touched upon earlier, the art is very much BLOM art; the almost Manga/cartoony stuff that we all ate up on Scott Pilgrim is back and arguably better than ever. This time, though, with the addition of Nathan Fairbairn on colors, the books pops like a black and white one just wouldn’t. Fairbairn excels at hitting all the right notes in every panel. The lighting, the characters and especially the scenery all jump off the page and the credit has to go to Nathan for that. If you haven’t picked up the colored re-do collections of SP and you liked his work here, you need to treat yourself and go out and pick them up. I think the last one is out in November so you still have time!

Seconds is funny, touching, creepy, masterfully crafted and all wrapped up in a neat little hardcover—with a very interesting dust cover that doesn’t quite cover the entire book which is a very interesting idea, who ever came up with that. I hate dust covers, but it totally works—that you can sit down and absolutely lose yourself in. If you like the movie, the comics, both, or if you simply just like well crafted books, you need look no further than Seconds. Pick this up.

Big thanks to Random House Canada for providing a review copy.

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