It's been interesting times for the graphic novel. More and more literary works, the likes of Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan and Daniel Clowes' David Boring, have garnished critical praise from the mainstream press and have successfully penetrated the near insurmountable wall of bookstore distribution. Taking notice of this trend was Doubleday, more accustomed to the Rudyard Kiplings and John Grishams of the world then the likes of Jason Little, a cartoonist from Brooklyn with a fondness for interesting head ware.
Adapted from Little's long running web serialization, SHUTTERBUG FOLLIES follows the exploits of Bee, a photo-developer working in lower Manhattan, with a very healthy imagination. The gears in her head start turning ferociously when a Russian photographer visits her shop to develop a roll of murder scene pics, inexplicitly taken at the time of the victims' deaths. Are they staged or is there something more sinister going on here? That's just what Bee intends to find out, setting the groundwork for an engaging thriller that packs quite the rewarding punch.
What struck me most unusual about this book, though, was the strange juxtaposition between the positive energy in the book -- from Bee's upbeat personality to the vibrant colors employed on its pages -- and some of the dark themes that Little is exploring here. To me, it can only be described as "weird" -- a good kind of weird, but weird nonetheless. SHUTTERBUG was definitely one of the more anticipated releases of its time, and, being more accessible to the mainstream then its peers, may have been one of the more important.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.