Private Beach #1, 2
[ Slave Labor Graphics $2.95 US B&W]
Written & Illustrated by David Hahn
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It’s been a while, five years in fact, since David Hahn has dabbled in the world of Trudy Honeyvan and Sharona Cupkey. Private Beach: Fun and Perils in the Trudyverse, published by Antarctic Press, was Hahn’s first mini-series with these characters and I was disappointed when he didn’t put out anything else featuring them because the story and the artwork were fun and certainly deserving of wider praise and readership.
The basic premise for this new quarterly series looks to be the same as the first—Trudy Honeyvan has a special ability to see things others don’t. This ability usually manifests itself as Trudy witnessing aliens and UFOs which, of course, makes Trudy’s seemingly normal life not normal.
The pace with which Hahn approaches the story in this new series, however, is slower and more measured. In issue one’s “So Long, Slappy” most of the time is spent getting to know Trudy and Sharona. Future plot points are doled out along the way for good measure—who are the mysterious Men in Black and why was Trudy the only one who saw them? But the bulk of the issue follows Trudy and Sharona and their friend Junior as they relax on the beach and make pithy comments about passersby.
Issue two’s “Doors Opening” ups the stakes by having the Men in Black approach Trudy and asking her to hang out at their club to “lend to the ambience.” We’re also introduced to two people from Trudy’s childhood. One is a former high school classmate, Guy Mooney, who is stuck in a dead-end job handing out pamphlets and the other is Trudy’s best friend in first grade, Anita Lafond. Anita doesn’t remember Trudy at all and, to make matters worse, she never seems to remember Trudy even though they keep running into each other at the same places. More definitely seems to be in the offing for that plotline.
David Hahn’s artwork in Private Beach is just as impressive as his writing. Much like his dead-on dialogue his characters look like they could be living in your town. The character designs for Trudy and Sharona have changed from the first Private Beach mini. Hahn’s style is less cartoony and more realistic this go around. Trudy Honeyvan at times resembles Neve Campbell the way Hahn is drawing her now. In fact, both Trudy and Sharona look a lot more glamorous but in a good way.
Hahn’s characters are beautifully done but he also pays considerable attention to his backgrounds and panel layouts. You really get your money’s worth on each page there’s so much to look at and admire.
Private Beach is starting out strong. If you like solid story telling with compelling and likeable characters give this series a try.
If you have trouble locating this series at your local comic shop write to SLG Publishing, 848 The Alameda, San San Jose, CA 95126 and ask for a free catalog. The Slave Labor Graphics web site is www.slavelabor.com. For more information on Private Beach you can also visit the official site at honeyvan.tripod.com.