Monday, October 29, 2012

Kmart Shoes by Lance Ward

Kmart Shoes by Lance Ward

Lance Ward grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in small town Minnesota.  Being poor didn't matter until the day his parents split up and his dad moved away.  That is when Lance and his sister Wendy began to feel poor.  They grew up eating cabbage soup and sardine sandwiches, wearing second hand clothes and dime store shoes.  Lance endured teasing and his mother's abusive boyfriend as his life began to spiral out of control.

Lance and his father had a tense relationship.  Lance was artistic, not athletic and didn't live up to his father's expectations.  Dad didn't want him anymore and his mother treated Lance as a guest in their home as he was forced to sleep on the couch and abandon his bedroom space.  Yet Lance had a gift, he could draw.  Drawing was Lance's way to escape and this gave him hope.

Lance draws and tells the true story of his life growing up disillusioned and disheartened.  Kmart Shoes is a gritty graphic novel that throws out punches as Lance struggles to survive and find love.  Some people are lucky to grow up and have everything they want but not Lance.  Lance is a survivor of a tragic childhood and his book is a triumph of his will to endure and survive.

Lance is a well known cartoonist and comedic artist.  The artwork in Kmart Shoes is done in black, white and muted gray.  His artwork is drawn with heart and humor and it might just make you cry.  Lance is able to tell his sad story with attitude and charisma.  He offers up lessons of hope as he lives the mantra, Don't ever give up.

As you read Kmart Shoes, look for the bearded guy in the corner.  That is where you will find Lance, playing with his kids, creating his art and enduring.

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