Templar, Arizona

By | Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Leave a Comment
Personally, I'm not generally partial to long-form, serial comics online. I think the extended stories are too involved for the short snippets that get posted at whatever given interval. That said, I have run across a few that I do enjoy when I can sit down and read a large block of it at once. Templar, Arizona has now been added to my short list of said webcomics.

I actually stumbled across it the other day and began reading for the most unusual (for me) of reasons: I found the design of Reagan (at right) to be downright sexy. Yeah, a bit trashy, but Charlie "Spike" Trotman does a phenomenal job, I think, of depicting Reagan in a way that exudes her self-confidence and femininity through only a few elegant brush strokes. It didn't take me long, either, to realize that Trotman's skill in depicting characters was not limited to Reagan's sexiness. Ben's insecurity, Gene's obliviousness, Thutmose's self-acknowledging caveman attitudes, Ra's anger... each character is extremely expressive, thanks to Trotman's deceptively simple linework. But that's only what caught my attention initially.

The story of Templar, Arizona is essentially a slice-of-life piece centered loosely around Ben, a young and inexperienced writer who's a recent transplant to the city. He lives in a run-down apartment building with some neighbors who've managed, thanks largely to Reagan, to barrel their way into his life. The city and much of the culture there are fictional, but not so far removed from reality that they might not be mistaken for one another.

Clearly, I found the artwork is eye-catching, but a few things about the story really stand out for me as well. First, this alternate culture and its subcultures within the story are fascinating. They seem very real and organic; it's hardly surprising that some readers have assumed that they really did/do exist. In fact, it's almost surprising that they don't. (I mean, a pottery place that doubles as a coffee bar? Why hasn't anyone actually started one of these?) It showcases, I think, what an excellent grasp Trotman has of American society.

Her dialogue is equally telling. All of the characters have a very natural language, and speak as much to their character as to telling the story. On several occasions, she drops us into a conversation already in progress and, like any real conversation we might step into, it takes a little while to catch on to the topic but, once having done so, puts the earlier portions of the conversation into an understanding perspective. Trotman doesn't force readers the story, but lets it unfold in an extremely organic way. We see this world of Templar, Arizona in almost the exact same way that Ben sees it. I think it's difficult to pull that off convincingly, but Trotman repeatedly does so with apparent ease.

I'm glad to see that the first chapter of this story has gone into print, and it's clear that Trotman's earned every award her comic's been given. I don't know if she's able to make a living exclusively off Templar, Arizona yet, but I highly recommend throwing some love -- if not some cash -- her way to encourage her to do more of this. Brilliant stuff!

(Oh, and for the record, I still think Reagan looks sexy despite her being loud, obnoxious, boorish, crude, argumentative, nosy, and generally intolerable.)
Newer Post Older Post Home