Facts are that the final two installments of Forsmanâ€™s plotted-on-the-page Snake Oil didnâ€™t do very much for me. Iâ€™ve been waiting to see what he would do next and by next I mean a million years ago when Wolf came out. Itâ€™s part of Snake Oil but doesnâ€™t follow the same storyline. It is a character study of an oafish, empty-stared loser who works at a mall Sears in the (Iâ€™m guessing here) late 80s. What I like about this comic is that Wolf doesnâ€™t seem to know how he went from baby to cute kid to mohawked punk to living in his grandparentsâ€™ basement with a dead-end job and no friends, but what bewilders him made abundantly clear to us through Forsmanâ€™s controlled storytelling. The pace is slow and muddy, like the pages are weighted with Wolfâ€™s coming lost youthâ€”a pretty kickass trick for such a short book.
Wolfâ€™s narrative is interspersed with sketched post-its and lists, including an awesome one of band names like snake sandwich! and metal summer, that make plain both his boredom and lack of lofty aspirations. I especially like the melancholy of Wolfâ€™s failure to receive punk rockâ€™s promise of a better life come through in his sketches and in the detail of his patched jacket as he slumps his way through the park, back to grandmaâ€™s house.
Forsmanâ€™s thin lines give the book an airy, almost ephemeral quality, like the story could just blow away if the wind picked up. Considering that it captures a time and place that feels sluggish, this makes for an interesting juxtaposition.
Wolf is sad and lovely all at once. Read it.