Comic-A-Week March 20-26 – Mercury by Hope Larson

I picked this one up on a whim from my library and I’m glad I did. Mercury is a charming story, filled with the real sadness, embarrassments and joys of adolescence, but with tragic undertones that hint at the “real world” that is right around the corner for most teens. It has a strong sense of place, specifically Nova Scotia, with common slang and locations explained, which honestly made the experience of reading Mercury that much more enjoyable.

While comics have been around for a long time, this is still a medium that is young. I love to see comics artists make innovative and interesting decisions. For example, this comic follows two storylines, Tara in current time and Josey in 1859; Tara’s storyline is on a white background while Josey’s is on black. In a comic meant for younger readers, this is a perfect way to mark the change. It’s simple and subtle, but one that most readers will pick up on.

Not only does Larson carefully combine the present and the past, but she also combines fantasy and reality. This was not quite as seamless as the the changing timeline. I could definitely get behind some of the more “traditional” magic, such as premonitions, but there was one part at the end that seemed particularly far-fetched. It’s not even necessarily that the fantasy itself was far-fetched (it’s a comic after all – anything can happen!), but that we were supposedly dealing with normal high school students. What happened did not freak them out and, unfortunately, that seemed odd and out-of-character to me.

Overall though, Mercury is a successful mix of humor, tragedy and everything in between. My problems with it are minimal and wouldn’t deter me from recommending it to a comic-lover of any age.

So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve read everything else

Reading Rants!, Mama Librarian, The Boston Bibliophile, Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, Buried in Print, Sophisticated Dorkiness and The Zen Leaf all have posts about Mercury by Hope Larson. Do you? Link to your post in the comments and I’ll add it here.