Comics Time: Neverland

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Neverland

Dave Kiersh, writer/artist

Bodega, 2008

32 pages

$6

Buy it from Bodega

Dave Kiersh’s visual representation of our mutual home-area/zeitgeist of Long Island doesn’t match up with my experience of it. He puts together vistas of water towers, telephone poles, stores, and parking lots in an almost map-like fashion, giving the suburbs a depth and dimensionality that I’ve never really felt from them. I see Long Island as flat sets, buildings and houses glimpsed while passing them horizontally in innumerable car rides and Long Island Rail Road commutes. I certainly don’t see the swirling repleteness that Kiersh conveys with his increasingly accomplished linework.

Yet it all still feels true, somehow. His observations of teenage and immediately post-teenage life on Long Island are spot on: convenience stores and driving, “the video store is my culture–Saturday nights in front of the TV,” walking through a parking lot at night and remembering girls you hooked up with. The main theme of Neverland–split up the compound word, as the cover design does, and you’ll see where he’s going–is not the romantic escape from this sensual boredom he yearns for in sexualized Peter Pan fantasies and idealized relationships, but that yearning itself, that desire itself, inextricable as it is from staying right where you are and not actually escaping. A coda likening any future success he and his beloved might have to a forgotten tourist attraction I myself patronized as a little boy adds a further complication of comfort in futility. This is a sophisticated comic that nearly tricks you into thinking it’s twee and easy, which is no mean feat.

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