"Too Cool" Not Cool Enough

toocoolI was excited to find Alex Robinson’s Too Cool To Be Forgotten at the local library. After the stream of positive comments and reviews I’d noticed about the graphic novel, I was half expecting it to live up to its name. I was sadly disappointed.

Andy Wicks, in a desperate last attempt to quit smoking, tries hypnosis. He drifts into unconsciousness on the hypnotist’s couch and awakes in 1985 – 25 years in the past. Once he gets his bearings, Andy realizes it’s the week he smoked his first cigarette and sets a course to change history.

But there’s more to Andy’s trip back to his adolescence than refusing a smoke. He must face other, much more serious, mistakes from his past. He must struggle with his father’s untimely death and change the way his 15 year old self responded.

It’s a wonderful concept, but the execution fails to meet the material.

The comic opens with Andy having a final cigarette before going under hypnosis. The reader is not given much of a sense of who middle-aged Andy is; the result is an apathy towards young Andy.

Once he’s back in 1985, the book becomes more an exploration of the foul-mouthed language and bad habits of high school students than it does a realistic portrayal of adolescence. Teenagers are made to look stupid and vain.

I can’t say the librarian didn’t try to warn me, and I would have put the book away without reading further if I had not intended to write this review.

It’s not just the kids who get the cardboard-cutout treatment. Women, with the exception of the hypnotist, are portrayed as powerless and vapid. Andy’s mother can’t deal with his father’s illness. His sister becomes self-destructive after the father’s death.

Among these negative elements there is the occasional bright spot. The page where Andy slips back in time is excellent, and the artistic merits of the scene where he finally confronts his father’s death are worth noting. At one point in the story, he does the unexpected by refusing to make out with a girl at a party because he suddenly realizes she is over 20 years younger than him.

These better moments dominate the rest of story, giving us a book stuffed with filler material of no value to the reader. I wish Too Cool To Be Forgotten lived up to its title, but it doesn’t.

Alex Robinson is also the creator of Box Office Poison and Tricked.

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

One Response to "Too Cool" Not Cool Enough

  1. TexasRed says:

    Hmmm…. Thanks for giving us the low-down on this one!

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