Category Archives: young liars

The Top Comics of 2009 countdown! Number 6 – Young Liars (Vertigo)

Like ‘Captain Britain & MI13’, ‘Young Liars’ was also taken from us too soon. A brilliant, transgressive work, the ending was too soon, but at the same time we were lucky to get 18 issues of this resolutely non-mainstream title.

I will not even begin to explain what ‘Young Liars’ is about. But if you want to read 18 issues (or 3 trades) of some of the most mind-bending, occasionally frustrating, true spirit of rock n roll filtered into a comic book, then please, indulge yourself. There were so many times throughout its run that I literally gasped at the audacious manner with which David Lapham (writer and illustrator) told this tale. You will probably gasp too. And don’t expect any clear resolutions, any definitive endings, any closure – but read it and cherish it for ‘Young Liars’ is (was) something unique – a comic book title that dared to be very different, and so refreshing from the mass of generic superhero titles that frankly, in the main, leave me cold. ‘Young Liars’ was a triumph of storytelling, and the medium suited it perfectly. ‘Young Liars’ was a highlight of the first half of 2009, and has been missed in the second half of the year. A deserving place in the top 10.

Review – Young Liars #15 (Vertigo, 2009)

Warning – Mild Spoilers.

First off – great choices of song for the cassette this time around – Sabotage by the Beastie Boys and Perfect Day by Lou Reed.

This issue sees Danny try to reinvent the reality from a few issues ago, with a
DJ Slik beinf persuaded to become the rich and adventurous Truman Runco, and more bizarrely, Lorelei’s (aka Sadie’s) therapist Dr Rivera being coerced into being Donatella. It is head spinning, you know that if you read it, with some amazing twists, and Sadie / Lorelei not looking as invincible anymore. Here she seems so fragile and vulnerable, nothing like the Sadie from the early issues, seemingly dominated by Danny Duoshade / Noonan into recreating his fantasy world to save the world from alien spiders…

It is a trip, and the ending is wow……with an image straight out of The Truman Show. The cover gives you a clue. Very Philip K Dick. So, David Lapham wins again – he manages to twist and turn and go back on in himself and still come up with the goods. Let us hope the recent cancellation announcement, and its impending demise with issue #18 does not force his hand or curtail his bravado.

Review – Yong Liars #12 (2009)

Warning – Spoliers!!!!

Gosh. I have been reading this from the start, and as the title approaches its first anniversary, I am very happy to say that this is well on it’s way to becoming a truly fantastic title. All the confusion and ??? that permeated the issues from the autumn onwards has been clarified. We are still no nearer the truth, but at least the lies and deception have been given some clarity.

Let me explain.

Issue #12 of David Lapham’s rock and roll odyssey is no jumping on point. You need to read this title from #1 and work your way through it. However, for those of us who have been at times exhilarated, at time frustrated and at other times really frustrated, issue #12 brings everything full circle, back to the start, and Danny Noonan is back at the centre of things. It is his world, after all……even if it is all in his head, or is it? etc…..

The best things about this issue? The way that Lapham completely tears down the ‘truths’ of Danny Noonans life. Like the fact that those that Noonan believed to be his friends and lovers, in particular CeeCee and Sadie, may not be after all. The ‘truth’ is, that his ‘reality’ may be much more complex than the one he imagined. He could be a former rock star who goes by the name of ‘Danny Duoshade’. He could be a rapist. Maybe Danny Noonan is lost and confused. The readers certainly are. The crucial fact here is that despite the bewildering twists and turns, the last 3 issues have been fantastic with a logic that makes each issue coherent.

A success then. Well done David Lapham. Extra points for recommending a Spacemen 3 track on the first page. 9 out of 10.

Young Liars 11 Review (2009)

Fantastic cover, probably the best of the bunch, and they have all been excellent. Love the fact that DJ Danny Duoshade recommends tracks from Butthole Surfers and Mission Of Burma – fly that mid eighties punk / freak flag!!

It still makes no sense – even Danny acknowledges that fact, basically requesting that if you don’t understand, don’t ask him. He doesn’t understand either. Or is he lying??? What do you get in this issue? You get something approaching a climax. Yes, somehow, the Young Liars manage a Butch and Sundance and come out all guns blazing against the sadistic Pinkerton killers. There is more about the Spiders, Sadie and lots of her relatives, Puss Bag in heroic mode (even though his accent seems to be a composite of all regions of the UK – I detect cockney, east midlands and west midlands) and Danny. Poor bewildered Danny. Yeah, right. Is he the biggest liar of them all? He certainly returns to centre stage, and grabs the ending from under the noses of those who would claim the Brown Bag empire as their own. It was terrific and fun and funny and the action was brilliant and I really enjoyed this issue. It is the first issue of Young Liars I have really enjoyed since those heady days of last summer….

No.12 promises to be a lot of fun. Or then again, maybe Lapham will pull the rug from under us and take us on another tangent, another time, another place. But I bet the cover will be fantastic.

Young Liars #10 review (2008)

David Lapham has taken us on a bewildering journey over the last few episodes, but suddenly, and jarringly, we are back to something that is almost normal by the eccentric and almost halluciogenic qualities of this title. Dealing pretty much exclusively with the fate of Cee Cee, it plots her empty and tragic life, filled with grisly (yet touching) memento mori, the grief of loss and how sex becomes a way of numbing the pain and a weapon to use against men. The title of this issue, ‘Get Happy’ is taken from the Elvis Costello & The Attractions album from 1980. It is ironic, as the more Cee Cee tries to ‘get happy’ by seeking solace in men, the more miserable and self destructive she gets.

The problem for me is, as much as I want to like this title, and sometimes I do, I just find the narrative too disparate. How have we got to this part of the story? I am aware of all the characters, but I only really know their names. I dont know what if anything motivates them, and then we get to this issue, and we find out that Cee Cee got rejected when she was pregnant, had a miscarriage and went off the rails in a big way. I dont get it though. I dont understand why we find this out now, when it bears no real connection to issue 9, 8 or 7. Are we back to flashbacks and retrospective storytelling?

As a standalone issue it is fine. I dont know how sensitively the miscarriage and its aftermath are handled (a gratuitous amount of blood is depicted). I dont get it. I am lost as far as trying to orientate myself with the plot of Young Liars.

Verdict – its more confusing when its trying to tell a linear story about one of the cast of characters. It is not working for me anymore – none of it adds up. The whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. This issue can be best summed up with the lyrics from one of Elvis Costello’s peers, The Specials – it doesn’t make it alright.

Young Liars – and specifically issue #9 – and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here? (Vertigo, 2008)

Warning SPOILERS!!!

David Laphams ‘Young Liars’ is proving to be an amazing experience – not always entertaining, sometimes confusing, but amazing indeed. The plot is not linear in the slightest – it hops, skips and jumps around time until, frankly, I am lost.

But it is the only comic book out now that can make me gasp and laugh at the same time. In fact it is the only book ever to make me laugh and gasp at the same time.

In this issue, we learn that, maybe, the invasion of the spiders from Mars is really just Sadie’s delusional dream — but only “maybe” as Sadie’s confrontation with her mother and half-brother suggest that it could be real. Except that Danny knows she confuses reality and this delusional dream of hers, and has somehow worked to influence it, to change his role in it from the father/invader to hero Danny Duoshade. We’re never told how Danny accomplished this, but the idea is very intriguing.

As is Sadie’s continual failure to stop this invasion. Danny narrates that she always fails and always somehow lets five spiders escape, suggesting that this delusion is some sort of psychological defense, a reason to live in a way. Or, those five spiders actually keep escaping the same way villains continually escape the hero after being foiled in superhero comics. Lapham purposefully references superhero comics as Danny calls the manic, violent, excitable Sadie “Superhero Sadie,” the survival persona of Sadie who hunts the spiders and saves the world… but not quite.

What’s amazing is that the story Lapham is telling could turn out to be something as simple as a messed up girl with a bullet in her brain who is delusional, or it could be a full-out invasion by spiders from Mars with this Martian spider-princess as the only line of defense. Even Danny isn’t totally convinced that one possibility is the true one, and Lapham is brilliant at making both seem equally likely. There’s even the hint of questioning why they both can’t be true.

I cannot begin to summarise, and do not advise any newcomers to do anything other than, if they wish to join in on Laphams fun, then start with issue #1. You will still be confused within a few issues, but still, start at issue #1 or you will never ever understand.

Ostensibly about a group of 20-somethings from New York, all potentially treacherous, mainly psychotic, self serving and messed up, lurching from one disaster to another, their lives constantly in danger.

However, it is funny, energetic and vibrant. There is a lot of love going into this book, and it really deserves to be read by anyone with a love for comic books. Lapham, who writes and does the art in the book, and it is a great achievement.

But anyway, back to issue #9 – this was the one that sent me from confused to over the edge. Now I am just going to read the thing and whatever happens on the page happens and there will be no questioning from me. I will trust David Lapham to deliver all the answers in due course or when (if) he sees fit to do so.

So – are these Spiders real? Who the hell is the guy who turns up at the end (this was the bit where I laughed and gasped at the same time)? What was going on with Sadies mom? and dad? The dad seemed fine a few issues ago, why is he dying now and what is with the dwarf and the prostrate?? Why is the anorexic acting like nothings wrong even though she is in league with these Spiders…..? Has Danny really lost his penis and will it not grow back?

My head hurts. They are collecting the first few issues in a trade and calling it ‘Daydream Believer’ – out Dec 2008. Relive it all in its gory, brutal, funny, weird beauty.