cover image Zebedee and the Valentines

Zebedee and the Valentines

Abs Bailey. Avery Hill, $15.95 (108p) ISBN 978-1-910395-54-7

Bailey takes a disappointing trip into the life of a small-time London rock band on a bender of addiction, ego, and loss. Zebedee is the front man for his raggedy band, with guitarist Morris, bassist Rocco, and drummer Kate. After a stellar performance in an empty barroom, the group is recruited to perform at a massive charity show, promising their big break. But a rift between Zebedee and Rocco ends with the bassist’s relapse and deadly overdose, sending Zebedee into a substance-abusing depression and leaving the remaining players’ musical futures uncertain. Bailey’s character and page designs are a delight to behold throughout, from Zebedee’s Day of the Dead skull-like visage to the wild but chilling dreamscapes he visits while speaking with Rocco’s ghost. Despite the wonky and colorful visuals, though, the plot is a standard (bordering on cliché) tale of an egomaniacal wannabe star brought down to earth by a tragedy; moreover, it’s hard to develop sympathy for characters when the personalities on display are exaggerated narcissist or milquetoast with little middle ground. Zebedee’s fateful meltdown is brought on when a critic describes his vocals as “forgettable”; apart from quirky art, that is also a fairly apt way to describe this debut. (Oct.)