The Downsized by Matt Howarth

The Downsized
by Matt Howarth
Adhouse Books, 2011

I have to say that while this story isn’t terrific in terms of artwork or dialogue, I appreciate that Howarth is extremely prolific and has self-published “nearly 100 digital publications — comic books, graphic novels and prose novels” in the past ten years. Good for him. I also like the basic premise – a group of middle-aged friends reconvene for a 50th wedding anniversary and realize that although many of them have children themselves, none of them yet feel like proper grownups. They’ve all burnt out or failed at life to a certain extent… these aren’t the rich and self-satisfied boomers of The Big Chill, but balding stoners in their late forties, already reaching the end of their unspectacular careers, and economically vulnerable.

Unfortunately the story is let down by awkward dialogue and inexpressive artwork, although Howarth certainly knows his semiotics. One of the character relates a story from 1969 in which he looks exactly the same, except for a huge moustache. Wait, how old are these people again? What year is it?

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