MID-LIFE in the Austin Chronicle

Joe Ollmann's Marvelous Mid-Life Muckup!

The Austin Chronicle    |    Wayne Alan Brenner    |    March 30, 2011

Oh, go ahead and judge him.
You'd think middle-aged John's got enough trouble in his life ~ trying to save his graphic-design job, dealing with his new wife and infant son and two grown daughters, battling a vindictive housecat, facing down a stalkoholic co-worker ~ without falling madly in crush with Sherri Smalls, former indie rocker and current children's-music sensation.

But of course, yeah, that's exactly what he does in Mid-Life, the dense, hilarious, relentlessly nine-panels-to-a-page book by Joe Ollmann, now out from Canadian comics powerhouse Drawn & Quarterly.

Ollmann could've stuck exclusively with John's POV and given us farce from a single, skewed and extremely-quasi-autobiographical perspective; but he deepens the story and the characters (not to mention the inside look at industrial creativity) by including the milieu of Sherri's life, too, providing scenes of the singer's drunk and raging ex-boyfriend in a (literal) monkeysuit, of her struggles with art and bidness, of the potential differences between selling out and buying in.

When these two characters finally get together in the Big Apple … well, that's for you to find out, o lucky reader, in this marvelously drawn tale of a cynical everyman's last hurrah before geezerdom settles in like a terminal case of colic.

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