By Alex Robinson (art, story)

On sale July 2008

Usually before I go to bed I try to read one or two comics. If it’s a trade paperback, I’ll read a chapter and then it’s lights out. Too Cool To Be Forgotten is a staggering 128 page graphic novel. And you know what? I read it all in one sitting. I just couldn’t help myself. I honestly don’t think there’s been an original graphic novel that’s kept me this engrossed since Brian Bendis’ Torso (released many years ago).

Every once in a while we comic book readers are treated to a story that comes along and transcends the medium. You know the books I’m talking about: stuff like Watchman and Maus. Now, I could never put Too Cool To Be Forgotten in the same class as those aforementioned titles, but it certainly is above many comics being published today, and it certainly transcends the medium. Now you’re probably wondering what this story’s about, so I’ll give you a small premise. To reveal more would run the risk of spoiling the book.

The story follows a 40 year old named Andy Wicks, who’s been trying to shake his smoking habit for quite sometime. He knows it’s affecting his health and causing concern amongst his wife and two children, but try as he might, he can’t seem to shake the habit. As a last resort, he decides to try hypnosis. What follows is a startling trip back to his days in high school. But imagine being transported back to those trying times knowing what you know now. What would you do if you could do it all over again?

This is one of those books that makes me proud to be a comic book reader. It’s a book that I can’t wait to share with all my friends – comic readers or not (in fact, I gave this book to my wife to read earlier this evening and she couldn’t put it down, either).  And it’s not because the story delivers a message or changes the way people may view a certain subject. It’s just a damn good story filled with lots of sincere moments – both funny and dramatic. I give my highest accolades to Alex Robinson who has spun a tale that not only feels effortless, but completely natural and genuine. Not a single moment of this book feels trite, forced, or dishonest.

Every page is filled with an abundance of detail as Robinson paints an accurate picture of 1985. From the clothes to the hairstyles to even the poster of Heather Thomas on Andy’s wall (my cousin used to have that exact poster!), even the sometimes poor lettering gives the book a strong sense of personality. Are there any flaws? One only, and it’s grammatical. But after finishing the book, I read the disclaimer about the error and how it is actually any intentional one. I could go on and on about this book, but it’s pointless. It’s just something you’ll have to read for yourself. Too Cool To Be Forgotten is a poingnant, moving, and accurate portrayal of high school life and the people who molded us into what we are today. I miss those days.

One of the best books of 2008. And yes, it’s Eisner worthy. (Grade: A+)

– J. Montes