review by VJ Miller, Sr.
Words and Illos by Mark Crilley
My Last Summer With Cass is a coming of age story. Two young girls from different parts of the country meet when their parents rent cabins in Topinabee, Mich. Megan is from Illinois, Cass is from Pennsylvania. Both have a budding interest in art.
They both decide to emblazon their art together on one wall in the cabin then realize they are going to be in deep trouble. Their parents must tell the manager what has been done to the wall. They are saved from punishment by an an unlikely source who just loves their art. It is suggested to their parents that both girls should be enrolled in art classes.
The Following Summers:
Megan and Cass meetup again every Summer; comparing their art and what they have learned in their classes. This continues into their teen years when a confession by Cass puts a seeming end to their relationship.
Cass’ father has been unfaithful and she has kept it a secret from Megan for some time. Cass and her Mother will be moving to Brooklyn. and they won’t be back to the cabins anymore.
Megan has a chance to visit Cass in Brooklyn while her parents visit elsewhere.
Cass has been absorbed into the local art scene and she takes Megan on a tour of the city and her friends in the art world. After joining Cass in a local art workshop the two discuss their parents; Cass’ Mother is a little more open to new things, Megan’s parents were, controlling, only wanting the best for their daughter. They’d hardly approve of the type of art in the workshop.
Megan and Cass decide to work on an art piece together to enter into an upcoming contest. It’s something that Megan’s parents would not approve. Cass reassures Megan her parents will never see it but Megan’s parents decide to return early after having learned her work was going to be in a contest. Megan is beside herself.
Because Megan is afraid of what her parents will say about the type of adult artwork the two have rendered, she does the unthinkable. She sneaks into the gallery in search of the painting the two have made.
In a fit of panic, Megan takes a knife to the canvas and cuts it from the frame. Taking it out to the roof she burns it in the incinerator.
Time passes and Megan is planning to go on a trip to Italy with her class members. As she’s packing she learns that Cass is about to have her own showing of her art. The two had made a pact earlier, whoever got their first showing the other would be there.
Bound by her promise, and not sure how Cass would react to her betrayal, Megan spends the last of the money to get a bus ticket to Brooklyn.
She is met at the gallery but not being on the list of invited guests, she is turned away at the door. Instead she waits for Cass when she comes out of a rear exit with her friends. The reunion is not pleasant but Megan has to talk with her.
They both realize that each has made mistakes. In the end they remain friends.
A word about this graphic novel,
I first discovered Mark Crilley’s art demonstrations many years ago on his YouTube channel. I was amazed by his ability to render such things as lips, and eyes so realistically that you would swear it was a photograph.
The artwork in this story is looser, more akin to a children’s story book, or in the local papers comic strips. But what is really eye-catching is the rendering of he faces and their expressions, spot on. You can feel what the characters on the page actually feel.
Learn more about Mark on his YouTube channel.
Spend some time checking out more of his videos… you’ll become addicted