Friday, August 2, 2013

Closing Doors by Mark Rudolph

(Nix) This comic, with expressive lifework, dynamic chiaroscuro ink washes, and an emphasis on weary facial expressions in lieu of actual action, opens with a vibe and a set-up very similar to those in Michael Chabon's novel Telegraph Avenue. We meet a quixotic jazz record store owner dealing with the day to day frustrations of running a business that doesn't make sense in the current economy where passion for the product and affinity for regular customers trumps logic and survival instincts. Unlike Chabon's book there are no (spoiler alert) pimpmobile chases, blimp thefts and karate fights here, as (less dramatic spoilers alert) employee theft, corporate competition and overdue bills make up the action here. Thus, one could argue for Rudolph's confidence that brick and mortar merchants, jazz fans, and independent spirits struggling against the forces of progress and capitalism make up enough of a true life thriller to engage an audience. If you think the near death experiences of the American Dream are enough of a narrative hook for you then you should be part of the engaged audience for this.

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