By Darryl Ayo
Liz Suburbia is an astonishingly accomplished cartoonist. Her work combines the visual look and themes of Jaime Hernandez in the ’80s with the razor sharp wit of Evan Dorkin and the conversational warmth of an old friend.
Right now, Suburbia’s primary project is the arresting webcomic/graphic novel Sacred Heart. I cannot read Sacred Heart without it having some effect on me. It’s an intricately plotted web of teenage relationships, meanderings, horror and angst. Which is frustrating because I can practically see your eyes glazing over right now, but I promise you, I assure you, this one comic is THE truth. Word to Xaime himself.
A few factors work here: the first is that Suburbia is never afraid to put her characters through the wringer. She rips these kids apart. The second is that there is a strong current of empathy that one senses in this comic. And finally, Suburbia ultimately has an appropriately dark sense of humor and knows how to let the air out of the whole thing every now and then.
This “advertisement” and others like it come from her minicomic series Cyanide Milkshake which features gag strips, short stories, punk manifestos, and Sacred Heart side stories. I like Liz’s comics also because there’s always a current of real human emotion or visceral physical experience present in her work. She uses textures on her forms to hint at characters’ minor or superficial imperfections, for example. More than that, I like the way she uses characters’ whole bodies to elicit reader reaction: from sudden violence and gore to sex, to rude and gross drawings, to good old fashioned strong gestures and expressive drawing. All of this with black…and white. She draws with a Sharpie, for god sake. I mean, Jesus. What I’m trying to say is that Liz Suburbia just might be the most talented kid out there. Find her. Buy her comics. Make her rich.
If you’re interested in keeping tabs on her best work, I believe that Sacred Heart updates on Wednesdays, first on her blog and then the main website is updated later. All of the images used in this article are taken from her Cyanide Milkshake minicomics, and I don’t know HOW you’re going to get your hands on those. Good luck, buddy.
Never change, Liz.
(c) Liz Suburbia