Charles Forsman has a way with disaffected teens. The two major projects I’ve read of his work, The End of the Fucking World and Celebrated Summer use teenage characters to tell stories that explore identity, relationships, and the small crises that make up everyday life. Luv Sucker is Forsman’s newest work, and I got a copy from the Oily Spring 2014 bundle.
Luv Sucker #1 is 26 pages of 5×7 black and red risograph printed on newsprint paper. I’ve really been digging risograph for the past few months, and Luv Sucker is a great example of why I like it so much – the printing method uses liquid inks printed in layers, which give it a unique look. Because you’re printing one layer on top of another, alignment has to be dead on, and case in point, my copy of Luv Sucker #1 has some alignment issues. Far from being a detriment, I think these little quirks give the comic a more visceral feel.
Luv Sucker #1 has a lot going on under the hood, but I think the theme that spoke strongest to me throughout this first issue was the idea of a sort of collected loneliness. Natasha, the main character, obsesses over her favorite band on Tumblr, but her posts are low interaction, with only a few notes apiece. She is dumped very shortly after the book starts by a guy who is much more interested in his phone than her. She’s able to be connected, but she’s ultimately alone in that space.
Natasha’s interactions with other people heighten this loneliness. But there is also an element of loathing in Natasha. The spiteful way she interacts with her mother and her fuck you attitude with classmates all shine through. She has personal image issues, and an insecurity that makes her vulnerable in a way that feels true to life.
Natasha faces this isolation and self-doubt in her own way; meanwhile, a group of guys claiming to be vampires is stalking her. Ryan, who seems to be the leader of the group, shares a class with her. These guys seem to always be following Natasha around, watching. Alone and under constant surveillance, Luv Sucker allows Forsman to put Natasha in situations that call up Orwell and Huxley in tone, if not in exact substance.
It’s interesting how Forsman has decided to use red as his second color – the color of lipstick and blood. It ties together the comic thematically, but it also looks great throughout the book. Forsman’s use of red especially in the surveillance scenes gives them a foreboding and menacing quality.