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Suerte, Adam – Brooklyn Tattoo


Brooklyn Tattoo

He’s back! I always feel like sending out an alert of some kind when I see a new comic from somebody that I haven’t heard from in a decade or more. If you’re new around these parts, or even if you only starting reading around 2010 or so, Adam did a four issue series in the aughts detailing his year of apprenticeship at a tattoo parlor. It was fascinating stuff, with my only (minor) complaint being that if it took him most of decade to tell the story of his year as a apprentice, it didn’t seem likely that we’d be getting the rest of the story. Well, I’m thrilled to report that he proved me wrong, as this tells the tale of everything that happened after that. He also included a few pages/bits from that series, as this is meant to tell the whole story of his time as a tattoo artist. One more thing before I start talking about the actual comic. I just went back and read my reviews for Aprendiz (I actually still have a few issues of that for sale, so if you’re interested I’ll check with Adam to see if he’d like to sell them or would prefer to have them back) and I said maybe the dumbest thing I’ve ever said in a review, and boy howdy is that ever saying something. In the review for the second issue I mentioned that he must be having a tough time as a tattoo artist making comics, because I didn’t see a lot of overlap in the two areas. Holy shit was that stupid. It’s significantly more rare to run into people at comic cons without a tattoo than with one, and I’m thinking that was also true in 2004 or whenever that review came out. Whatta dummy I was/am. It’s always nice to throw in reminders like that, just in case people start to think of me as an authority or something. Nope, I’ve just been doing this a long time. Easy to confuse seniority with expertise. Anyway, what about this comic? It’s the comprehensive story of his time in art school, meandering a bit with a soulless job, and eventually taking a gig as an apprentice to tattoo artists. That story is told in the other series (I still don’t think it would be a bad idea to collect it, but that’s obviously his call), and this is mostly focused on getting his own business off the ground and then keeping it running. One fascinating subplot is that Sophie Crumb, through mutual friends, ended up working as an apprentice at his shop. She was young and new to New York, so she did what most young people do in that situation, and word eventually got back to her dad. There’s a hilarious scene where Robert Crumb did everything but accuse Adam of ruining his daughter, despite the fact that they never hung out outside of work (there was an age gap), and all the while Adam was starstruck while being lectured by one of his comics heroes. Interest picked up quickly wherever his shop ended up (not just his, he did have partners), but doing all this in Brooklyn meant he was bound to run into one completely unethical conglomerate that bought his building. This meant a series of annoyances, large and small, until he eventually got a new place, and boy am I ever shortening that nightmare down for the review. There’s so much more that goes into every aspect of being a tattoo artists than I ever expected, not the least of which is all the business nonsense. Also I loved his art style before (I confirmed this by reading the old reviews), but I’d say he’s gotten even better since then. And the amount of detail! Every page, every panel, looks like it took about a week to do. Even the backgrounds (that would be solid black in a lot of comics) are packed with little doodads and icons. It’s already a lot of story at 140ish pages, but this is absolutely a book that rewards you for taking your time with each page. There are also some short pieces after the story by Sophie Crumb, Jason Mitchell, Myke Maldonado and Mark Bode about their time at the shop, and I’ll leave them as a surprise to the reader. Except for Myke’s, as the finale to that story was terrifying. So basically if you’ve been wondering whatever happened to this guy, good news! Everything worked out for him, more or less, and he even got through the pandemic OK (but that’s apparently going to be the story for his next comic). If this is your first time hearing about him, you are in luck. This is a hell of a read, and has me once again contemplating getting a tattoo with his artwork, especially if my plans work out and I get to New York in September for a visit. Check it out, you will not be disappointed. $20