Tuesday, 30 December 2014

110 PerC by Tony Consiglio Review

I know Tony Consiglio from The Ink Panthers Show podcast where he usually drops in every now and then and completely livens up the episode with his funny stories, brilliant comic timing, and quick wit. It’s a shame the podcast is now twice-yearly (or thereabouts) instead of weekly or even monthly because Consiglio’s stories remain some of the most entertaining podcast episodes I’ve ever listened to. 

Like the Ink Panthers hosts Mike Dawson and Alex Robinson, Consiglio is also an indie comics artist and 110 PerC (what an awkward title as there’s no “cent” symbol on the keyboard!) is the only comic of his I can find. It’s a really good one though and, while it seems intended as straight drama, there are a couple scenes in the book that made me laugh (Sasha’s brother-in-law hair collector – that visual too!).

The book follows the lives of three middle-aged, and older, women who’re obsessive fans of the boy band 110 PerC. As the band’s latest album is about to drop in time for their world tour, the three women try to get tickets to see them – and madness ensues!

I’m sure some readers might dislike 110 PerC because the comic has a very one-sided, negative view of fandom that I’m sure isn’t necessarily representative of fandom as a whole. Nor does it actually offer much insight into the pop culture behaviour. On the other hand I’m not sure he was aiming to look at all types of fandom but at a specific group who are obsessed with boy bands.

Like all good storytellers, Consiglio steadily drew me into his character’s lives and I became interested in what was happening to them - and not just the main three characters either but some on the periphery too, like Sasha’s husband. Caring about characters - what a rarity! 

It’s because of the initial seeming shallowness of the characters’ lives that I was surprised to come across some surprisingly touching scenes later on. Like Cathy (the single, fat one), who we’ve seen been teased and made fun of at work, which she takes good-naturedly in a heartbreaking way, suddenly asks her friend guilelessly “why doesn’t anyone love me?” 

Or when you see Sasha’s marriage, which initially appears quite fraught because her husband speaks to her quite gruffly, turns out to be a very close one - some couples are all bark and no bite. There are a couple of marriages presented in this book and I liked how Consiglio subverted expectations on both of them. 

The book dispenses with inner monologues/thought bubbles in favour of an on/off documentary-style talking head narration that feels very much a product of the mid-00s but adds to the realism of the story. The art on the other hand is anything but, though it’s fine overall and the characters’ eyes in particular convey tone perfectly.

110 PerC isn’t an Important comic and it is very straightforward, though it is enjoyable with a fine story that very much entertained. Sometimes all a good comic needs to be is just that!

110 PerC

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