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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/07/2005 Archived Entry: "Comics review: Escalator"

Escalator
by Brandon Graham
Alternative Comics

Review by Tom Good

"I never saw a traditional plaid skirt Catholic school girl until I moved to New York. I remember wondering why the little girls were dressed like strippers." -- Escalator

Escalator is a collection of short comics by Brandon Graham, and it is full of interesting ideas for stories: a demonic FedEx guy, extraterrestrial pornography, an illegal musical instrument that can kill its owner if played carelessly, a sumo hero, and more.

Frustratingly, none of these take the form of a fully realized story that can really do justice to the creative concept. I found myself wishing that any one of these stories had been expanded to book-length.

Graham's art is fun and playful, with a little bit of graffiti influence (there is even a story in this collection about graffiti taggers). You can find some examples available online at brothersgraham.com. Though Escalator is in black-and-white, the covers and the material on the web show that Graham has a nice sense of color balance, so I hope he does more work in color.

Reading this collection is a bit like watching a whole reel of movie trailers. Some of the trailers look great, some only OK, but at the end of it all you want to pick one of the promising ones and watch the whole movie, you don't want to be all done after only seeing previews. So paradoxically, Escalator is disappointing because it is pretty good, and even though I felt a bit let down by it, I will definitely read more of Graham's work.

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