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Sublife #1 (Sublife)

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  173 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Two white supremacist brothers live in the midst of an “ethnic” urban flood along with a dog they’ve trained as a weapon. A household made up of three renters, a landlord who never leaves her attic bedroom, and her son, who insists on wearing a sheet over his head all the time. A pack of ravenous stray dogs chase a cat down a desolate alleyway. The lonely, grimy silhouette ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published October 17th 2008 by Fantagraphics (first published September 15th 2008)

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it's true this is mostly just introductory-work. for a 64 page graphic novel, there is a ton of shit happening, and a larger cast of characters than you might expect for such a tiny. but the characters themselves are incredibly appealing. they are quirky without being wes anderson overforced quirky. i'm not really sure how everything is going to tie in together, but i am about to go read the second part, because it has been a year and i had to reread the first part now just to remind myself. but ...more
This is like nothing I've ever read before. It's strange, slightly disturbing, but still very beautiful. Feels like something Todd Solondz would write if he was in the comics biz and had anything interesting left to say.

I love the detail in the artwork, how the bedrooms, living rooms and cars these characters inhabit say so much about them. I love how the whole thing is quite surreal and bizarre but still manages to strike a familiar chord somehow.

Really great first volume of this series, and I
I couldn't get into this. Some of the parts I enjoyed and other parts I just couldn't get. Maybe since this is only the first part I'll get more involved in it as it goes on.
The stories were okay but I really enjoyed the artistic style- it reminded me of Adventure Time with the minimalistic yet whimsical line art.

Sublife loosely follows a family of a college student who is losing her shit in an amusing faction (she mutters to herself in a slow motion breakdown kind of way while tripping over loose items), a father who teaches religion class to a bunch of punkass kids that torment him with loud sounds, and a son dressed as a bed sheet cover-ghost who never says a wo
Amar Pai
This book is very unnecessary. It's a strong candidate for Least Essential Comic Book 2008. The art is derivative of Acme Novelty Library, the story feels a crumpled 1st draft stolen from Dan Clowes's trash can, and the mood is reminiscent of every other depressio art student comic published in the last 20 years. Clumsy, It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken, Acme Novelty Library, My Brain is Hanging Upside Down-- enough already! I'm sick of comic books about undersexed losers! I'd rather read ab ...more
Following the lives of several misanthropic roommates, this is a great book for readers who enjoy the works of Chris Ware. A creature who resembles a thumb and a disgruntled English professor make up the majority of this dark satire. Fine lines and small forms make up the artwork, and although funny, the plot failed to wow me, as it comes close to so many other graphic novels. Final verdict: check it out for the artwork, but don't count on a mind-blowing story.
Prior to reading Sublife #1, I was only familiar with John Pham's work from the pages of Mome, where he was featured in several of the early issues. I had found his contributions to Mome to be a bit dry, but after reading Sublife #1 I have definitely gained a deeper appreciation of his art, even if not all of these pieces are by any means perfect. Pham's strength is his ability to mix the mundane with the surreal, and allow awkward and off-kilter moments their full due. His style allows the nece ...more
This book is weird and wonderful. And though it reminds me of other non-mainstream writers and artists, actually writer/artists, it generally takes some of the best elements of the writer/artists that I cannot help comparing it to, and combines them in a unique way. For the most part no one wants to be compared, but to favorably compare one with someone great is in my opinion not so bad! The most obvious comparison would be to Chris Ware in a drawing style that is tight and precise with fine gra ...more
George Marshall
if you like modern graphic novels this is definitely worth having and Pham is a creator to follow. As other reviews say, he is clearly following Chris Ware, and, there is something of Dash Shaw's quirkiness (to my mind the lodger who is constantly dressed in a sheet was highly redolent of Shaw's character who appears throughout Belly Bottom as a frog). He doesn;t have Ware and Shaw's astonishing graphic gifts he has a very effective style- if a bit scratchy- and he has an exquisite coda where he ...more
Strange little comic with a few laugh-out-loud moments, a couple of bizarre characters, and some intricate, detailed artwork. As a whole, I'm not too sure what it all amounts to but it definitely has its moments. I was inspired to buy it after seeing one of the artist's comics in an anthology. (That piece, about a couple of wandering astronauts, is included here inside the front and back covers.) And seeing as how I only paid, like, two dollars for it, it was definitely worth the price.
I'm not sure what to rate this book, since as volume #1 it is mostly set up. That set up is pretty slow paced and quiet, but there is a lot of interesting stuff going on. In tone there is an overall sense of loneliness and depression that reminds me of Chris Ware or Skyscrapers of the Midwest. Why are cartoonists so sad (I suspect vitamin deficiency)? Anyway, I'm looking forward to #2.
Beautiful, if troubling. I've read this and Sublife *2 a number of times and I don't know why but I feel there's the loosest kind of coherence running through these stories. Here's hoping Sublife *3 is on the way someday, only because a trilogy would seem somehow more resolved, even though you wouldn't expect any kind of neat ending.
Pulls off the thing I like best, probably, in my reading experience: the feeling of spying on life, so close that it is almost being.

Surface-simple drawings with details in all the right places so that the panels draw the eye back and in again. Same effect with the plot of the vignettes. yay.
Rocco Versaci
The first part of a longer story by this Xeric Award-winner focuses on the unusual tenants of a boarding house and their interrelated lives. The stories are fluid and engaging, and Pham is clearly exploring the narrative possibilities of the medium. He's like a more reader-friendly Chris Ware.
sara ahmed
minimal and neat illustrations. i'm not sure i completely understand what was going on but i did every character had their own thing going on. maybe if i give it a second read, things would be clearer? i don't know. it was alright.
Not a fan of these suffocatingly art-school style comics. Pham is an obviously a very good artist but has a ways to go in storytelling skills - I found this tedious and simply un-entertaining.
Pham's storytelling is intricate and his characterization is unflinching. A very good read.
Bill Sannwald
John's art is really something else. I can't believe he did the lettering by hand!
Adore the style in this. Tiny and clean and innovative.
Feb 12, 2012 Ash rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
This was cute. I'd read another volume, if there is one.
Beautiful art and design and interesting storylines!
Quite odd, but I liked it.
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