It’s not often I’ll pick up a comic at my local shop when I haven’t heard a thing about it. I love reading comics but contrary to what you might think, I don’t get to read them for free the majority of the time and well, you know how much they can add up.
It was the title, Li’l Depressed Boy, that first caught my eye. “Hmm, what’s this about,” I thought. I picked it up, flipped through a few pages and immediately put it on top of my pile thanks to the art. It wasn’t until I settled back in at home to read it that I realized I was holding something magical.Don’t misunderstand me, Li’l Depressed Boy isn’t magical like Zatanna is magical, it’s just one of those books that come along so rarely that you have to stop and marvel at it. My shop owner told me it was probably a title that was going to disappear quickly or sneak up on everyone and become a huge hit. Well, I’m putting my vote down for the latter.
Li’l Depressed Boy, from Image Comics, is written, colored and lettered by S. Steven Struble and penciled and inked by Sina Grace. It follows the, well I wouldn’t quite say adventures, perhaps explorations, of a guy named Li’l Depressed Boy (LDB for short). Does he have another name? I don’t know yet but much like his ragdoll appearance, no one takes any special notice of it. Is this how LDB looks, how others see him or how he sees himself? LDB loves to play video games and has an appreciation for vinyl. He also happens to be extremely introverted and obsesses over the female species.
Li’l Depressed Boy shows us LDB’s awkward view of the world around him and his struggles trying to break out of his very protective shell. What I didn’t know (but learned from an interview Newsarama’s Chris Arrant did with the creative team) was Li’l Depressed Boy, started as a webcomic. Although the first issue doesn’t make you feel like you’ve missed anything, I’m finding it interesting to go back in time through LDB’s life. If you think he’s got issues in the comic well, let’s just say he’s made a significant amount of progress already. Story wise, Li’l Depressed Boy definitely has a Scott Pilgrim feeling to it but LDB has much more depth than Scott. Though he does have an interesting friend (his only friend actually) named Drew Blood. I’d say it was a play on words but it’s Struble’s friend’s real name. Early on in the book, LDB meets a girl named Jazmin (Jazz for short) and instantly falls head over heels for her. I don’t blame him. In their first conversation she’s name-checking Golden Ax and stating that Tails was the best part of Sonic? Forget LDB, *I* was falling for her. Actually, that’s probably why I fell in love with the comic itself. There are great references, not only to pop-culture nostalgia but also real musical artists that help add to the atmosphere in the book overall. Either way, she’s just the kind of person LDB needs in his life be it romantic or platonic. The art, like I said, is what made me buy Li’l Depressed Boy in the first place. Grace’s depictions of LDB are sad and pathetic yet adorable and sympathetic all at the same time. You can’t help but root for LDB. And Grace has some great wardrobe choices for both the main character and those he interacts with as well. Oh and I forgot to tell you one of the best parts about Li’l Depressed Boy - “The Little L.D.B.” shorts in the back of every issue. Those are written by Li’l Depressed Boy editor Nicholas Brandt and illustrated by Scott Arnold. One page at a time they tell the story of a child LDB, showing us his idiosyncratic nature started early on in life.
Now that four issues have been released, the creative team are preparing the trade paperback for a June 8th release. I insist you pick it up. On the outside, LDB is a quirky story about a shy guy trying to change his ways but when you delve deeper you see the true struggles he’s going through every second he’s awake to counteract his natural instincts. Although you’re looking at a ragdoll person going through human motions and emotions, Li’l Depressed Boy, feels more realistic than most comic books. If the majorness of all the major events are dragging you down, I suggest trying Li’l Depressed Boy. Sure, he’s depressed but he’ll manage to pick up your spirits anyway.For all of Jill Pantozzi's past columns, check out the Hey, That's My Cape! topics page! Visit Newsarama on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and tell us what you think!