Sunday, August 08, 2004

Me and Edith Head
By Sara Ryan and Steve Lieber
Cold Water Press

Frumpy and insecure Katrina longs to play Titania in the high-school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, if only so she can escape her parents' arguments. But when the cast list is posted, Katrina finds she's been relegated to "costumes" -- the rough equivalent of being stuck in the chorus of the Christmas pageant. Although initially crest-fallen, Katrina discovers she actually has a knack for costuming and organization, thanks largely to the advice of her mentor and the books of famed Hollywood designer Edith Head.

Me and Edith Head is smart, touching and funny, with Sara Ryan delivering a richer, more complex story in just 15 pages than many writers can accomplish in twice the space. We're exposed to Katrina's growth, her unnamed mentor's wisdom, and her parents' deteriorating marriage, all within a handful of pages. But the story never seems rushed, nor does the reader feel short-changed.

Steve Lieber's art is a good match for Ryan's script, with his confident and simple lines lending a wonderful expressiveness to the characters. He's an expert storyteller who shines here with his depiction of the passing of time and in the playful daydreaming sequences.

Me and Edith Head is a well-crafted tale that demonstrates how entertaining and how fulfilling a short story can be. This should be required reading for all writers and artists who are considering tackling the format. It's that good.

Me and Edith Head can be purchased for $2 from Steve Lieber's website.

Tomorrow: Family Reunion and Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1. Really!