There’s something refreshingly nostalgic about the world of Getting it Together (the new comic book series from Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, Jenny D. Fine and Mx. Struble)—and I don’t just mean the range of covers riffing off everything from Friends and Sex and the City to classic Marvel comics—it’s a world of live music and friends and lovers. Like a 90s indie film playing out in panels.
Centred around 20-something siblings Jack and Lauren, their relationships and careers, it’s that sweet spot when young adults start to move on from their ‘firsts’—first loves, first jobs, first homes, first big breaks—and start to really find themselves. Lauren’s life is being rearranged as she breaks up with Sam (her brother Jack’s best friend) and starts making waves among her Nipslip bandmates. Jack is figuring life out and wondering what lies beyond the apps and hook-ups.
Jenny D. Fine’s art is fluid and expressive, with great body language among the characters (Sina Grace pulls art duties on back-up features and flashbacks). Grace and Spahi write clear, well lived-in characters and the storytelling flourishes (like Sam’s decision-making flowchart) are a lot of fun. Throw in a suggested playlist and some actual original, new tunes (Sina Grace collaborated with Feels’ Lana Myers-Ionita to produce songs for Lauren’s band streaming on Bandcamp) and there is a genuine ambience around this work that just reminded me of my 20s, surrounded by friends starting their creative or corporate lives while juggling romances and struggling over big decisions that may or may not change their trajectories.
Getting it Together is queer with a lower case q, it’s a charming and refreshing story of people for whom sexuality is a non-issue. This book has no agenda or ‘message’ to sell, it’s about a multiplicity of lives, lived in stages. The key gay character, Jack, begins to fade into the background over the four issues as ultimately it is Lauren’s journey that provides the big emotional hooks. It’s a shame the storylines couldn’t be better balanced for this first installment which does feel slightly truncated.
As much as the story has a clear conclusion, this has a strong feel of a pilot episode. If the interest is there, the creators could easily bring the characters back for more and I’d happily hang out with them all again.
By Chad Armstrong
Getting it Together is available as a graphic novel, or individual issues, from Image Comics.