This first collection of mostly realist, black and white graphic fictions has all the marks of a beginner. Visually, Murphy...

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HOUSE OF JAVA: Stories

This first collection of mostly realist, black and white graphic fictions has all the marks of a beginner. Visually, Murphy varies little from the many real-life comics artists of recent years, and his scripts suggest he's yet to find a groove, relying mostly on found material, such as the coffeehouse tales of his title. In them, Murphy nicely pans cinematically from table to table, capturing the often silly conversations fueled by too-much caffeine: An affected hipster rants against trendy latte drinkers; a drab couple argue over romance; and an elderly woman startles a young man with intimate talk. Other one-page interludes set in the coffeehouse capture odd moments in a new social etiquette. Murphy breaks form with a few creepier tales: one a classic EC bit about kids who drug lemonade at a stand on a remote road; the other a heavy-handed ironic tale of a boy obsessed with the photos of kids on milk cartons. The longish ""Welcome to Seattle"" is little more than a trite lesson in self-esteem. Murphy has yet to distinguish himself from the pack, but he's worth keeping an eye on.

Pub Date: June 1, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 80

Publisher: NBM

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1998