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‘Open Bar’ GN (review)

Written and Illustrated by Eduardo Medeiros
Published by Oni Press

 

I found it hard to actually relate to Open Bar by cartoonist Eduardo Medeiros. It’s about two childhood friends raised as brothers and everything they’ve gone through in their lives up to and including taking over a bar in their old neighborhood after one’s father dies and leaves it to them.

It deals with love and loss and sex and violence in ways that have just never impacted my own life. I had close friends in childhood but never so close that we even discussed certain personal topics, let alone bonded over them or fought over them as Lenny and Beardo do here.

Lenny and Beardo are our heroes, such as they are. They’re imperfect people in an imperfect world and they’re just trying to make a go of the bar while life keeps getting in their way. I also don’t drink, and in spite of a few drinks over the decades, never really have, so I’ve never actually spent any times in bars.

Originally published in Brazil, I believe, the translated dialogue (“Script Localization by Jarrett Melendez”) reminds of an indie film screenplay with lots of banter and sometimes bickering. The story is long and involved and just as you get to an unexpectedly sad climax, we get a great, upbeat, twist ending.

The absolute best part of Open Bar, though, is Medeiro’s impressive, highly stylized artwork and storytelling. I’m not sure what this type of artwork is called but it reminded me of some of the great modern art magazine illustrations and covers of the 1950s.

As often happens in these types of modern graphic novels, the color choices play a large role in the overall success of the art. In this case, mostly a sort of orange/pink color, but with a burst of color at one point and judicious usage of greys and blacks.

My life has had very little in common with the lives of Beardo and Lenny but even though I couldn’t relate to much of this story, I greatly admired the way Open Bar was told all around. Drinks are on me!

Booksteve recommends.

 

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