Rarely has something so superficially cute ended up being so strangely moving. This collection of comics by new romantic (and Long Island Voice contributor) Dave Kiersh mixes early-’80s teenage angst with a grown-up sense of isolation and yearning. Hair-clipped cuties, boys in Devo hats, lost dogs beneath water towers all mingle upon neon-colored paper. Kiersh conveys a profound sense of loss, a nostalgia for an innocence and intensity only glimpsed in our grainiest memories. The line between the personal and the fictional is blurred, resulting in a kind of emotional disorientation. The anachronistic, anarchistic kind of energy sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Groups of flat black lines reveal melancholy shades of gray as your mind returns to them a second time. If an animated version of these cartoons had appeared on Nickelodeon when I was in high school, I may have even been moved to leave my room every now and then. It is possible some people would read these comics and have a far less intense experience—they’re in a kind of code that I can’t really explain. All I can say is the panel of the dog lost beneath the Plainview water tower is now pinned up on my wall. Isn’t that the ultimate endorsement?
Send zines to Michael Giacalone at the Long Island Voice, 393 Jericho Tpke, Mineola, NY 11501-1205.