Graphic Novel Review: The Li’l Depressed Boy Volume 1

By Nolan Smith

Writer: S. Steven Struble

Artwork: Sina Grace

Publisher: Image Comics


(Victor Valley)–I love a great superhero comic as much, if not more, than the next guy. Many of my reviews in the future will be about the popular heroes we all know and love, but it goes deeper than that. I love comics. I love the art form of combining pictures and written word to make a completely unique experience, no matter the subject. This week for graphic novels, I am taking a look at a book that is equal to a slice of life to many of us: meet the Li’l Depressed Boy.

Design: This trade paperback collects issues #1-4 of the series, which is ongoing. The look of the trade fits the story perfectly, as everything is streamlined. Sketches, pin ups, and even a paper cut out version of Li’l Depressed Boy are included in the trade, and for $9.99, that’s a heck of a bargain.

Story: This is not an action comic, not one bit. The back cover classifies the book as “Humor/Romance.” I think the book is best summed up with the term “slice of life”, as that is how the book feels from beginning to end. The books protagonist is literally named “Li’l Depressed Boy” (or LDB), and he is a normal, everyday adult (even though he looks like a ghost or a puppet). He’s in a band, he plays video games, and he meets a girl he falls head over heels for, and then problems ensue. They become friends, and go through journeys of concerts to laser tag, with an ending that feels all too real.

The tribulation LDB goes through comes straight out of real life, and it packs the punch as much as it did when I lived through it. Writer S. Steven Struble gives LDB a voice that we can all relate to. Even the generic design of the character shows genius, as it makes it that much easier to reflect ourselves into the story when the character has a blatantly bland look to him. Written in an excellent manner, the book had me going through each page as fast as I could, just so I could see what happened next.

Art: Sina Grace’s art comes across as very organic and original. With the contrasting styles of LDB compared to all the other characters involved, the book has a very hip, upbeat feel. The rough edges, the angular designs, it all screams “comic book”. I can’t wait to see more from Grace, she’s definitely one to watch.

Overall: This book shows that comic books don’t have to be about ray guns and capes. As long as it’s a good story that translates well into the world of graphic novels, then it could be about anything. Even about a Li’l Depressed Boy just trying to get by and maybe even find love…or zombies. Volume 2 hits later this fall, and the series continues monthly from Image Comics. Highly recommended, I give Li’l Depressed Boy a ***** out of 5.

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