by C.B. Cebulski
Imagine, for a second, a book built around the most sexually awkward moments of Adrian Tomine’s work, and you’re beginning to approach the idea on which Wonderlost seems to have been built. There’s little, if any of the raucous, uninhibited sexual comedy that the book’s misguided rear blurb hints at, with its questionable description of the story as a cross between Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Mean Girls. The half-dozen stories contained herein lie more at the crossroads between charmingly embarrassing innocence and seemingly unintentional braggadocio.
Wonderlost #1 is comprised of six short stories–autobiographical vignettes about the author’s high school and college sexual conquests and frustrations, each handled by a different artist, whose styles range from sketchbook fodder to what could pass for still-lifes from a softcore anime film. Cebulski’s character veers between likable loser, overconfident braggart, and oversexed frat boy (more annoyingly true to life than the amusing douchebags of the American Pie/Porky’s vein), the latter two making it difficult to sympathize during the former.
Cebulski has certainly assembled a cast of diverse and talented collaborators, whose artwork is often times the highpoint of the book. The stories themselves will certainly have appeal among the teenage autobio crowd, especially in those moments in which the intended sweetness of shared moments truly resonates, but unfortunately, those glimmers of humanity are a bit too few and far between. If issue two finds Cebulski’s character spending less time chugging Miller cans, there may be hope for him yet.