Matthew Loux's new graphic novel from Oni Press, Sidescrollers, follows a trio of slackers who pass their summer playing video games, making snack runs, and finding trouble in any number of places. As the night of an indie rock concert grows nearer, many obstacles get in their way, including a demon cat, a group of blood-thirsty jocks and a gaggle of girl scouts. As Matt longs to make his feelings for the new girl Amber known, he schemes about how to get revenge on the star quarterback dating her and how to make her see him for what he is (basically a jackass).
This book is obviously very influenced by another Oni Press title: Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim. It has that same flavor of storytelling, a similar cast of silly characters amid crazy situations, and taps into hipster (and nerd) culture a bit. But Sidescrollers offers a really beautiful, unique art style through Loux's pencils, and really proves itself to be its own thing (despite the recurring character who is basically Jay from Clerks).
Each side quest the guys go on is really just fantastic, proving that Matthew Loux hasn't a boring adventure in him. This book is full of laughs, demonstrates masterful pacing, and really doesn't allow one to put it down easily. The characters contained within are really fun characters to spend time with too, but it's really the dialogue that makes this title stand out so much. This is probably the best dialogue I've read in a comic in years. It's whitty, smart and just captures the world these characters live in perfectly.
If you hadn't guessed, I loved this book. It really came out of left field to blow me away. I'm not sure I would have picked this up if I'd merely rifled through the book in stores, but trust me, you need to experience this comic. I am extremely grateful for having had the chance to read this book. It's only real fault is that it didn't precede its obvious influences, but I think that if you can take aspects from something and make it your own, with a high-quality finished product, you can't really blame the work. Everything's influenced by something, after all, it's just not usually as easy to point out as with this case.
This has been an advance review of Sidescrollers. This 216-page graphic novel is scheduled to ship later this month and should go directly into your graphic novel library. A+