When Tim Comrie introduces his protagonist’s ‘90s childhood flashback with the words, “It’s strange no other writers have touched on this,” it’s difficult to tell whether or not he’s being sarcastic. In his narrative of navigating divorce and expressing suburban frustrations, Comrie does little in the way of risk taking. Leisure #3 is short and incomplete, even if it shows some promise in setting a few vivid scenes.
The comic opens with a nameless protagonist looking out at his old stomping grounds from a gloomy CN Tower. He waxes poetic for a few lines before passing the narrative to his younger self. This would not be an issue were it not artificially extended; Comrie makes a bad habit of copy-pasting artwork to add minor changes to dialogue, bringing his narrative to a grinding halt in an effort to deliver some meaningless wisdom. A particularly frustrating example of this takes 12 successive panels to say “My childhood home looks smaller from up here… but a part of me knows… with absolute certainty… that home remains… …exactly… …the same size.” Panel-padding may be more minor of a frustration in feature-length comics, but in a serialized zine, it’s much harder to accept copy-pasted work taking up large portions of the final product.
This is a shame, really, because Leisure #3’s artwork is pretty decent. Comrie plays with dramatic shadows with some degree of success, and sets a few effective scenes in the short time he gives himself: descending a staircase with Mom and Dad’s argument growing every step, or watching as Dad’s internal dialogue slowly stretches thin and verges on snapping. Comrie shows he has the potential needed to correct Leisure’s flaws, but this is less a matter of capability and more a matter of putting in the work. (Joel W. Vaughan)