When I was putting together the 10-10-12 list, Alex Robinson’s Tricked, came up on a number of “best of” lists in the graphic novel categories. This being the case, I’m worried about the rest of the recommended texts, because I didn’t like Tricked, at all.
I didn’t like the plot (six seemingly independent narratives predictably collide in a climax that is neither surprising (though it ought to be), nor compelling as a woeful musician who can’t write a new song until he’s inspired by a sexy young ‘muse’! is subject of an attempted shooting by a crazy! man! only to be saved by the fraud who is redeemed! all in the restaurant of the kind gay couple reunited with their daughter! and served by the ill-used, tender hearted, fat-but-still-beautiful! waitress).
I didn’t like the characters (each more predictable than the last, with the faint exception of the sports fraudster who is only interesting because the reader has zero sense of his motivation for being a fraudster, except maybe that he likes to spend money on whores).
The graphic parts are okay. I don’t know whether having read Jimmy Corrigan means that every graphic novel after is going to feel like a tremendous disappointment, but after Jimmy Corrigan the graphics in Tricked are a tremendous disappointment (see post on JC for caveat about my assessment of graphic novels). I’m not capitavated by word bubbles that have icicles to convey anger, nor wowed by pages of spirlaling word bubbles to convey lunacy. I’m coming to understand that the really engaging and interesting graphic novels are not those that use the simple pairing of emotion/place with graphic as a way to add to the meaning of the text (e.g. a crowded place has overlapping word bubbles; or, embarrassment has characters with flushed cheeks), but who use the graphics to create a meaning all its own, where the text is the addition, the superfluous detail, perhaps even unnecessary because the graphics impart their own significance. Anyway, Tricked doesn’t have these singularly significant graphics, just the ‘oh gosh, he’s upset, and I can tell he’s really upset because there are angry lines radiating from his body.’ (I continue to be wholly self-conscious about my reading of graphic novels, so if I’m way off base here, I do apologize, I’m new to graphic analysis and open to correction.)
So: bleh plot, no characterization worthy of note, and ineffectual graphics. I was told this was a “great” graphic novel by reputable sources. I was… tricked.