Review: Mixtape Volume 1 – Nostalgic Yet Relevant
Mixtape Volume 1
Writer: Brad Abraham
Artists: Marco Gervasio & Jok
Letters: Ben Mazzotta
Publisher: Ardden Entertainment
Mixtape is one of the most relatable comics I’ve ever had the fortune of reading. No, I wasn’t in my teen years during 1990 but that means nothing when you really get into this series. Mixtape is something that anyone of any age can relate to
Mixtape follows a group of teenagers as they enter their last year of high school. Each issue connects them all together but in essence focuses on each character’s individual feelings and tribulations. Jim, Lorelei, Siobhan, Terry, and Noel are all typical teenagers but the time period they live in makes them unique. This was one of the best periods of music. Alternative music was on the rise and it was on the eve of the Nirvana explosion. Record stores were the place to be and bands like REM, The Pixies, the Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, and Joy Division were making some of their best music. Brad Abraham takes each issue to get more into who these kids are and how they deal with things typical high school things. Jim deals with feelings for different girls, Lorelei struggles with her first job and finding acceptance, Siobhan deals with becoming a different person and Terry & Noel have a road trip to remember. The story here is how each of them deals with what’s going on with their lives. It’s watching the action unfold that keeps you engaged. Issue #5 though is the best issue of the bunch. It deals with death through the eyes of these kids. Death through the eyes of people who are about to start their lives is one of the toughest things to pull off. A writer can make it seem too childish and it won’t hit that hard but wow does it ever.
The most important part of telling any story focused on teenagers and growing up is to keep the universal truths of it. This is why movies
like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off have stood the test of time. Growing up is not a totally fun thing. Being a teenager is awkward. On the eve of finishing high school, getting closer to 18, and realizing that you will soon be in the real world is when things get scary. That’s what Brad Abraham does so perfectly in Mixtape.
I was born in 1991 so I wasn’t coming of age during this time and I can’t attest to being the biggest fan of many of the bands mentioned in this comic (big Beastie Boys and REM fan though). However, I can completely relate to everything these kids are going through. That last year of high school was big for me as well. It was the time that the real world starting becoming a real thing and if it weren’t for the friends I had, I wouldn’t have gotten through it. Those are the feelings brought out by this comic book. There’s a real nostalgia here and you can tell that it’s all coming from Abraham’s own experiences.
The art fits the time period very well. It’s not something you’d see in a superhero book but that by no means makes it bad. The lack of color within the interior of the book also works because it makes the book feel retro and as if this was a flashback. The book is easy to follow thanks to the way the panels are set up and each character, for the most part, is easy to pick out. There are just a couple of times where it gets a little tough to make out who is who.
Mixtape is a must read for anyone that enjoys a great coming of age story or just a great character driven story. Many comics have traded in great character drama for the sake of cheap gimmicks or quick, uneven plots. Mixtape is like watching an excellent dramatic television series. It focuses on the people and emotions.
For more on Mixtape and how to buy it (which you need to right now) visit the official website http://bradabraham.com/mixtape/