[The Comics Journal interns Andrew Davis and Chi-Wen Lee put together a series of discussion questions about Stephen DeStefano & George Chieffet's Lucky in Love Book 1: A Poor Man's History for use in book clubs. As these questions are intended for those who have read the book, please be warned that they may contain mild spoilers. – Ed.]
At age 15, the only things on Lucky's mind are women, sex, movies, and, to some degree, the war. He fantasizes about being a hero, much like in the Tex Stengler films his friends and he watch. When he does enlist, however, it appears his "heroic" adventures consist of nothing more than removing guns from warplanes and failed attempts to get a girl. But the war has still changed Lucky in some way; whether he is conscious of it or not, he becomes more aware of social and racial perceptions.
What function does the book's disclaimer about characters' usage of racial slurs serve? Did the characters' usage of these terms affect your perception of the story?
How racially accepting is Lucky? Does he grow more fair-minded throughout the book?
In the story, has Lucky actually been "lucky" in any sense of the word?
Is Lucky ever "in love"?
Can you detect influences in Stephen DeStefano's artwork?
How is Lucky's encounter with the prostitute significant beyond being his first sexual experience?
Is Lucky a hero for serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II?
Why is the third chapter entitled "Lucky Triumphant"?
Since the war had ended, Lucky's life in "Lucky Triumphant" takes a different tone compared to the first two chapters. Does the third chapter continue any threads begun earlier?
Did Lucky accomplish anything during his early years (the course of this book)? Does it matter?
Monday's Strip by Stephen DeStefano has come to a hopefully temporary end, at least until we can coax some new strips out of Stephen. Here's this week's Weissman, plus links to other strips from around the web:
At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald says "On the occasion of Veterans Day, what better book to preview than the extraordinary Lucky in Love by George Chieffet and Stephen DeStefano." Agreed! Check out an exclusive 7-page excerpt of the book over there.
Stephen DeStefano and his wife Siobhan have announced that he will be selling some comics and animation art and other memorabilia from his animation career on eBay in an effort to defray escalating vet bills as his beloved kitty Lola battles what's looking like cancer.
Having had our own experience with kitty cancer over the past couple of years, Janice and I strongly encourage you to send your support Stephen and Siobhan's way.
In addition to our weekly strips from the Steves, we'll now be bringing you links to other strips from around the web which previously appeared in our "Things to See" posts. Why? I dunno, it just kind of seemed to make sense.
• Review: "Lucky in Love is an oddly charming book. It takes the tradition of immigrant fiction and wartime stories and channels them through archetypal cartooning styles, crafting a book that looks lighthearted but is actually darker in tone and theme than it might appear on the face of it. [...] My rating: 4 of 5 stars." – Jamie S. Rich, Confessions of a Pop Fan
• Review: "In stunning black ink on gloriously evocative sepia pages... comes a light-hearted, heavy-hitting barbed-edged faux autobiography that is a moving testament to the life of the average Joe. [...] Drawn in a wild and captivating pastiche of Zoot-Suit era animated styles and frenetically Jitterbugging teen movies; marrying Milt Gross’ He Done Her Wrong and Count Screwloose to Milton Knight’s Hugo and Midnight the Rebel Skunk the bold, broadly Bigfoot cartooning style used imparts a seductive gaiety to the folksy monologue and completely disguises the subtle landmines this tale conceals in the narrative. [...] Lucky in Love is utterly absorbing, purely cartoon entertainment, strictly for adults and immensely enjoyable." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "It was hard to resist when I looked at Chieffet (script) and DeStefano's (artwork) comic book Lucky in Love which came out the other day. DeStefano's drawing is damn inviting in its retro style, and Fantagraphics has succeeded exceptionally well with the design of the book... The only real problem is that DeStefano is such a lively artist, while the story is more dramatic." – Simon Wigzell,Serienytt.se (translated from Swedish)
• Review: "Lucky in Love is both a humorous and often naïve look at our past as a country and as sex-obsessed teenagers. It is a deadly serious story about the fantasy and the reality of war and heroism. It’s drawn in a unique style that it reminiscent of classic Disney or Golden Age comic strips and is filled with hopes, dreams, fantasies and often unfortunate realities. It’s a great coming-of-age story and history lesson that shouldn’t be missed. Grade: A-" – Chad Derdowski, Mania
• Review: "There's already a lot of reviews out about how amazing Jaime's stories are in this issue [of Love and Rockets: New Stories]. I don't really have anything to add. It's all true. It's very touching, truly a masterpiece. But let me also say how much I love the cover illustration. I keep looking at it — the perfect composition, the colours, the weird, blue sun, the small details (like the baby held by the woman in the background), the boy being separated from the others, not looking at the viewer the way the girls do. It means even more when you've read the story. Jaime has already created a lot of iconic covers, but this might be the best one." – Jason (the cartoonist), Cats Without Dogs
• Review: "That Greg Sadowski has gathered up 40 or so mostly forgotten non-EC Comics is cause for celebration... Sadowski does an excellent job of providing historical information for the talent and studios producing each story here... The book ends up being just about right. Good scholarship to put the stories into context, a glossy gallery in the middle of covers of the horror comics magazines of the day, and a highly entertaining selection of material from some of the better talents of the era. ...[Four Color Fear] is a solid primer and should be an entertaining one for years to come..." – Christopher Allen, Trouble With Comics
This post has been in progress for nearly a month now... with so much to catch up on, I'll just be highlighting a few selected items and then giving you links to the regularly-updated stuff. As always, click for better viewing and possible commentary at the sources.
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