Getting it Together, the new Image Comics series from writers Sina Grace and Omar Spahi, artist Jenny D. Fine, and colorist Mx. Struble makes its influences and intentions clear from the cover: it's Friends for the modern era. The cover works as an interesting visual elevator pitch, but does it tell a story worth reading?
First things first, it's nice to see Sina Grace deliver another character-based, slice-of-life indie series. It's a genre he does well; from his earliest, hard-to-get indie publications to The L'il Depressed Boy, the writer/artist has been one of the best character architects in the industry for a long time. Now, joined with writer and host of the underrated Dreamer Podcast Omar Spahi, Grace is creating a whole new set of characters with modern problems. Getting it Together is a good read in that sense, in that it feels very of-the-time and makes the reader invested in the leads, Sam and Jack, from the start. It does feel very much like their story, with the other biggest character Lauren, in this issue, portrayed as a sociopath who snaps at her friends in every interaction, cheats on her boyfriend using his own words as a shield to protect herself from blame, and polices her friends' language while allowing her brother to say whatever he'd like. Beyond that, overall, it made for a good read; there's a surprising lack of humor. It feels more like a drama and less like the dramedy that was expected, as there's nothing really funny that happens in the book. It's interesting, and it draws empathy from the reader, but those expecting laughs won't find them here yet.
The art by Jenny D. Fine and Mx. Struble was terrific, stylized, and purposefully rough around the edges to give the series an expressive, indie edge. Fine's Sam has a face that, at his lowest moments, looks like a bag sagging with the weight of depression. Jack's posture speaks volumes to his comfort levels in each situation. Her craftsmanship does wonders for the character development, and both Struble's colors and Sean Konot's letters are pitch-perfectly chosen for Getting it Together.
Getting it Together #1 is a pretty good debut with great potential. Comics as an industry leans on the tried-and-true genres of the medium, creating what feels like less variance in content than any other medium of storytelling. Compared to television, film, theatre, games, and literature, it feels like there's an idea of the kind of story that works as a comic that creators in the indie scene have been trying to change for years. Getting it Together has the potential to create crossover appeal, to be the kind of book that someone whose favorite show is a sitcom can pick up and read, leaving the experience with their horizons broadened. If the story progresses with more depth, more humor, and adds dimension to the characters, this book may just live up to that potential.