Whitaker, Aaron – The City Troll


The City Troll

Three cheers for Kickstarter, as this book most likely would not exist without it. I do have to add that you small press folks should try to get your book published through Top Shelf, or Drawn & Quarterly, or Fantagraphics or whoever is still standing first (as the world would be a crappier place without those three companies in existence), but if they’re not interested, it’s a good thing Kickstarter has become as successful as it has. The book looks gorgeous (outside and inside), which would not have been fully possible at this price without a little bit of help. OK, fine, people helping people is great and all that, but what about the book? This starts off as the story of god getting bored one day and deciding to create the perfect man. But god, being the little insecure bitch that he is, couldn’t take how perfect he made this dude and decides to force him to be friends with a man who is as horrific as the perfect man was perfect. All of this was Aaron’s rather mystical way of starting off a story that’s really about an insecure man, his perfect friend and the way that they both interacted with the ladies. As the main story begins we see that Ian (the perfect one) is “stuck” in a relationship with two beautiful women, neither of whom can bear to leave him. Paul (the troll), on the other hand, is horribly insecure and miserable, which only leads to him being MORE insecure and miserable, and we all know how much the ladies love those personality traits. Things seem to be picking up for Paul when he meets a woman at a grocery store who seems perfect for him, but he lacks the courage to start up a real conversation. She is then coincidentally in the same restaurant where he’s meeting a blind date (even reading a graphic novel, the holy grail of all blind dates), but it turns out that his date is with a different woman, so there goes that shot. Eventually Ian meets this girl and falls for her himself (his two girlfriends thing didn’t work out) and, since Paul had never actually made a move on her, he has no “guy code” to fall back on. This is all against the backdrop of Paul’s mostly missing and formerly abusive mother, his father (who’s dating a woman called “Understanding) slipping away from him, and Ian’s lifetime of watching girls that he liked fall in love with the more obviously handsome Ian instead, despite what seems to be Ian’s best efforts to prevent this from ever happening. Things spiral a bit from there, but most guys can relate to somebody in this story, and I would have to think that most of the ladies will find stuff to relate to in here too. It looks like Aaron has done another  mini comic or two in his time, but this seems to be his first graphic novel, which makes it especially impressive. You can practically feel it when the self-loathing threatens to overwhelm Paul, and Aaron wisely resists every temptation along the way to take the easy way out of any situation. My only tiny quibble (as I’m contractually obligated to throw at least one of these into every review) is that he could stand to draw the word bubbles after he knows what his characters are going to say, as too many long word bubbles with only one or two words in them looks awkward to me, but that’s really not even worth a mention. This is a hell of a story and here’s hoping it gets some serious attention in the coming months. $15

Posted on March 15, 2012, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Whitaker, Aaron – The City Troll.

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