A gorgeous, slow, relaxed and delightful body of work, The Summer of Blake Sinclair tells a long-form story over a series of short moments. Created by Sarah Burgess, it’s a webcomic where the overall story doesn’t matter as much as the sense of evoking a mood, and feeling. In this case, that mood is of a hazy summer, dragging along, as a group of students hang out and fall in and out of friendships.
Each ‘page’ varies in length. Rather than focusing on heading to a specific joke or beat in the story, Burgess cuts out the exposition and set up and leads straight to the point each time. That makes the comic feel like a long-running series of vignettes rather than an overwhelmingly important narrative – the focus is on characters and feelings above all else. It’s a delight.
Not to say that there isn’t story here – there are some wonderful moments as the characters slowly head towards decisions and make important choices. But Burgess is happy to let things happen organically, and keep the beats of the plot rolling along gently, rather than throwing them at the reader. Her artwork is lovely and uses blank space brilliantly well. She’s also absolutely brilliant at writing characters who are emotionally monstrous, but don’t realise it – they feel real and natural, even when they’re being horrible to the characters we empathise with.
You should try it out – you can find it at http://blake-sinclair.smackjeeves.com/
Steve is tweets @stevewmorris