“Some People” by Luke Pearson has been making the internet rounds since 2009, and it’s been breaking hearts everywhere it goes. The tight narrative benefits from the simple art style Pearson employs, yet the characters still remain distinct, and that’s important for this mind-bending trip through the interconnected lives of these characters.
The comics neatest trick is that it makes you care about these characters in such limited space. On top of that, we get this truly human take on each character without painting any one character as a hero or villain. There is a realism here that many works can’t approach, but not the new, “gritty” realism that is de rigueur in comics right now. The realism in “Some People” is strongly rooted in the normalcy of the every day.
This comic is an example of what I’ve been saying about webcomics for a while now. Whereas graphic novels have become the establishment in a lot of ways, webcomics are this very punk rock, DIY medium, where rules aren’t broken, so much as ignored. This freedom sometimes results in inventive storytelling that is refreshing and challenging at the same time. You could easily dig into characterization with this, but I would also give plot structure a shot here as well. The beauty of webcomics (and syndicated comic strips both print and online) is the focus on economy of words and pacing. These stories can give you a way to quickly introduce concepts without taking away too much class time.
You can actually buy a print of this comic over at Pearson’s website. I urge you to go check his stuff out; we’re seeing a great storyteller at work.