We were introduced to the concept behind the fledgling basketball team at Georgia O’Keefe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics in the first issue of The Avant-Guards. Now we meet each member of the team and get an idea of what brings them to the court. Liv brings them all together in a positive and occasionally annoying manner. Will that be enough to finally convince Charlie to join the team so they can get this thing off the ground?
As aggressive as Liv can be, you can’t help but love her. She has this infectious enthusiasm about virtually everything. As a jaded man approaching middle age, this can be infuriating under normal circumstances, but not here. There’s something about her that cuts through the cynicism in the worst of us and gets right to pure happiness. She exudes good vibes.
Liv’s bubbly personality comes through in her design from artist Noah Hayes. She has these big, almost cartoon-like eyes that are always watching, yet always paying attention to every single thing you say. Liv is never distracted by other things. When she’s listening to you, she is giving you 100% of her attention. Hayes adds plenty of additional details that flesh out Liv as a character, such as the motivational posters hanging up in her room.
This contrasts with Charlie, who appears more disenchanted with life in general. Some of Liv’s sunny disposition begins to rub off on her and you can see her demeanor changing, although in much smaller doses. You can tell that Charlie doesn’t want to show how interested she is in all this.
Much of The Avant-Guards #3 follows the rest of the team as they try to recruit Charlie by any means necessary. Colorist Rebecca Nalty brings out the essence of each character as each one takes a crack at Charlie. Tiffany is a stand out in this sequence as she pulls on the crystals and goddesses, bringing a bunch of shadows in, but stops just short of being spooky. Her room is full of purples and dark blues creating a moody atmosphere.
Hayes frames this scene very well, with the smoke from the candles and incense floating around Tiffany to frame each panel. Letterer Ed Dukeshire places her word balloons so they flow with the smoke. This air of mystery goes right out the window when Tiffany’s R.A. pounds on the door to remind her that she can’t have candles in her room. These come out as big, explosive balloons that instantly disrupt the ambiance.
It’s tough to read The Avant-Guards and not want to hang out with these characters. Writer Carly Usdin has quickly established these folks as interesting, fun individuals. Since this is published under Boom! Studios’ Boom! Box imprint, I like to think that the students from this college went to the camp from Lumberjanes in their younger days. It all fits, doesn’t it? That’s the kind of character work and story at work here.