Written by Kevin Smith
Illustrated by Jeff Quigley
I’m biased. That’s the long and short of this interview in one sentence. But as a writer I’m going to go on and on about this book and it’s creators, trying to convince you to buy it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
If you’re a Kevin Smith fan, especially of his most recent movies (Tusk, Red State), then you’re probably familiar with his podcasts, and this review is most likely not one you need to read. On the other hand, if you’re familiar with Smith’s podcasts, it’s exactly the review you need to read, because it’s full of Smith-love, in all of the ways a fan of those podcasts can think of. And they are myriad.
Speaking of those most recent movies, both of which I enjoyed, show the turn that Smith has taken in his career that early fans of Clerks and Mallrats might never have suspected. For me, a longtime listener, it makes perfect sense. He’s evolved to the point where he’s taking the stuff that he love, the ideas born of conversation with his friends, and making films out of them. His newest film, Yoga Hosers, is currently touring the country, and is out for wider release later this year. To use the creators own words, it’s …”gremlins meets clueless”.
But this…this is a different beast. This is a prequel to the upcoming film, and what better way to introduce these obviously comic book characters than in a book of their own?
“When Colleens Collide” is the story of our heroines, Colleen M. and Colleen C., so named so their teacher wouldn’t have to read their full names every day for roll call. (Remember roll call?) And with that small parenthetical, I realize what is so charming about this comic. It’s not just that the Smith fan within me gets to giggle at all of the bits of Smodcast podcasts that he’s sprinkled in. It’s not the self-referential nature of most of his work, which, if you love it you love it. It’s that he can instantly remember what it was like to be a kid, and is able to bring you back into that mindset with something as simple as a reference to roll call and a teacher’s exasperation with two like-named kids. (I was Brad G. for the entirety of second grade.)
The Colleen’s act out their first meeting and we get little more backstory before the opening credits of the main film. It’s short and sweet. A “Sundance Super Special” that introduces us once again to Smith’s idyllic Canada, where men turn other men into walruses, and “Jaws but with a moose” is going to be a thing. Where politeness is tantamount and accents are spelled out so you aren’t confused about the way a work should be pronounced.
Jeff Quigley’s art is light and cartoony, which is perfect for the tone of the film. (I haven’t seen it yet, but all of the trailers and Smith himself seem to promise a light movie.)
Like his films, you see recurring cast members, especially from Tusk, but because this is a prequel to the film you only get a few. (This is the second of the “True North Trilogy”, the third film, Moosejaws, should be out late this years or early next.)
If you’re a Kevin Smith fan, you’ll definitely want to pick this up for your collection. If not, then you probably won’t get it. (Both in the physical and metaphorical sense.) But that’s cool. Smith has pared down his fan base to those who are truly devoted, those who get on the Smodco bus and ride all day long, reveling in the absurdity of “Scan BC, Scott”, stories about a little robot hitchhiking it’s way across the country, and this one, of two teenage girls in a convenience store besieged by Nazi Bratwursts.
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, all who put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.
Twitter – brad@comicwasteland