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I'm Reading Comeeks

I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc.  And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.

Half Star Ratings

LARP! Volume 1 - Dan Jolley, Shawn deLoache, Marlin Shoop

As a user of GRs as well as BL I have to say that usually I don't care that GR doesn't have the ability to give half star ratings.  I sometimes will write a .5 into a review or something.  However, when I come across a book the likes of Larp, it makes me very glad that I don't have to give even a segment more than I have to in ratings. 


Larp hardly deserves that half star hovering over there.  From beginning to end, top to bottom, it's badly made.  The characters are nothing but caricatures and poorly wrought ones at that.  The plot?  A tale so contrived and unconvincing that I could barely bring myself to read it without gagging.  


Not every book/comic/game/movie or whatever has to be a lesson, one doesn't need to come away from every experience feeling that one has grown as a person.  Even though I find those experiences that do send me away with some greater appreciation of my role in society or place in the world to be much more satisfying, I don't discount those things that purely entertain.  I love those things!


That said, Larp is neither illuminating nor entertaining.  In fact, it is instead enraging.  


Where it seeks to entertain, it falls flat with stupid jokes, anecdotes that do not amuse and one liners that don't even inspire a groan.  The characters are too flat to be real and their attempts at humor belie their sad lack of personality or depth.


On the very same note, where the comic attempts to inform it also falls completely flat. Which in my opinion is worse, because where Jolley attempts to break down borders between two cliques, he creates them instead, shoring up the walls by forcing his characters to completely and only fill one set of expectations to the exemption of anything else.  No human could fit themselves completely into these stereotypical boxes but Jolley's characters manage it.


A geek who likes sports?  Unheard of!  A jock with an IQ greater than 70?  Not possible!  Jocks who aren't bullies?  Not on my watch!  Geeks with corny senses of humor and no sense of fashion?  Those abound!  Haven't heard of any other type!


The story follows the misadventures of Pete Ford, a boy who has trouble with daily life concerns, such as finding clothing sized for a teenager rather than a seven year old.  Pete finds himself in quite a condundrum.  For some reason, despite his obvious geekiness, the Jocks at his new school think he's one of them!  Pete is a perfect geek.  A Mary-stu type character who is able to be both geeky and cool at the same time.  He's good looking, unlike the rest of the geeks his face is devoid of acne and despite never playing the game, he rocks at tennis.


As long as he keeps his LARPing (live action role playing) a secret from the cool kids at school he can keep his two lives from intersecting and ruining everything.


Of course, as anyone with an IQ greater than the Jocks portrayed in this comic, can anticipate what will happen.  It's not a new story.


I won't go into all the instances where the opinions and representations in this comic bothered me.  I'd have to go page by page.  I will just concentrate on a few.  


One of the most offensive things I found came near the end of the story.  When Pete finally confesses about his dual lives and reveals to his friends that he'd been lying to everyone Jolley has this moment become pivotal for another character to realize that he should also 'stop lying' and come out of the closet.


Jolley is actually comparing the willful deceit of one character to another character revealing an intimate detail, a trait that they cannot control something central to their being, to their very identity.


Jolley's comparison makes it seem as if both characters were lying to their friends.  Which is so wrong, it's crazy.  Comparing someone revealing their sexuality to others is not the same as someone confessing to a lie.  For one, confessing a lie may not gain one any friends, but sometimes confessing a central and uncontrollable trait, such as sexuality, gender identity or fundamental beliefs, can be downright dangerous.  Not something to be undertaken lightly or treated with such a shrug as it is here.


That was, in my opinion, the worst thing in the entire book.  Even counting all the sexist crap.


I love books and am not into destruction of property, but I almost threw this book out of the car window.  Not that I was reading while driving.  I was at a stop light.