Review by Frank Plowright
Disaffected American youth gets a wide airing in cinema, TV and comics, but the venues for exploring the same subjects in British comics are severely restricted, so Suburban Glamour remains an outlier rather than edged by time toward the mainstream.
Astrid is nearing the end of her final school year in a Midlands suburb far enough away from the city to restrict her activities, and she can’t wait to escape. Jamie McKelvie, writer and artist, probably felt much the same way as there’s a feeling of authenticity about Suburban Glamour. The title, by the way is sarcastic, at least in once sense. That’s exemplified by the sample art showing one of those teenage parties everyone of a certain age attends and pretends they’re having a good time, when in reality very few are.
However, reality is only one aspect of Suburban Glamour, and the problem with it is that McKelvie has such an attractive art style that it shines through even when the intention is dull suburbia. It doesn’t stay that way for long, as by halfway in a fast-paced rush of a story Astrid has suffered several strange experiences, an attack among them, and learned why she’s always felt so out of place in suburban England. That opens the door to the fantasy intrusions into the otherwise real world becoming more frequent and Astrid’s life changing.
McKelvie keeps everything pleasingly down to Earth despite there being terrors and dangers, and pleasingly understated overall. The whole story could be seen as an allegory for coming to terms with who you are, and it’s sweet, charming and beautifully drawn with a quiet beating heart.