“Suburban Heart (comic, part one),” ink on bristol, 11” x 11” (17 pages), 2013.
Part one of three.
For The All-About's second LP, we decided to do something special and finally pull the trigger on an idea we’d been toying with for several years. Based on early demos from late 2011 and 2012, as well as our numerous conversations on the thematic “next step” for the new record, I began “writing” a comic to accompany the album - as both its packaging, and a sort of alternative to a “music video.”
Early on it was decided to keep the comic “silent,” so as not to step on the songs’ lyrics, which I wanted to be “Suburban Heart’s” only text. Having talked many times about the importance of both pieces working well not just as a unit but also individually, I avoided pinning down a precise story-line from within those lyrics… Instead only riffing on the album’s central themes, and making small visual nods to the imagery and characters referenced. The goal here being, first and foremost, to respect the All-About’s music - setting up the comic book in a way which complimented the record but did not do the job of interpreting or translating it for the audience. By keeping the plot evocative and somewhat elusive, I tried to build on “Suburban Heart’s” associations rather than stifle them - and force the audience to give the comic multiple readings, just as they would give its pop songs multiple listens.
The idea of repetition as a means of deepening understanding was central… Not only in the fluid, enigmatic narrative, but also in the structure of the comic, itself - Utilizing a language of repeated and fragmented “architecture and fading pictures.” This was the motif that would, ultimately, inspire the final album art, the design of which was finalized only after the comic had been drafted out.
The album is available online, by suggested donation, at the All-About’s Bandcamp page and includes a .pdf of the comic as well as a digital lyric booklet (which I also designed). Physical copies - including hand-made editions of the comic book - are also available for order. Please check it out and enjoy - it’s been a long time coming, and we are very excited to show it to you.