One Step After Another

By Fermin Solis
40 pages, black and white
Published by AdHouse Books

The world of comics is getting smaller, and that’s a good thing. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have imagined that having Spanish comics translated into English would not only be happening on a regular basis, but getting to the point of it being little more than a footnote in the release of a book. One Step After Another‘s hook isn’t that it was originally published in Spain, but that it’s just a genuinely good comic.

Olga is 18 years old, in search of a job and somewhere to live. She thinks she’s found both, but the adult world in store for her is hardly what she wants in life. It’s much more fun to hang out with free-spirited and generally “cool” people. If she doesn’t work on keeping her job, though, what will this mean for her future?

This is the first work of Fermin Solis’s that I’ve read, and it’s an interesting introduction to his comics. It reminds me of Michel Rabagliati’s work on books like Paul has a Summer Job. It’s a step into a mundane life, one full of drudgery and less than ideal circumstances. Solis walks a fine line with Olga; I couldn’t help but feel sorry for someone who’s clearly not ready to deal with the rest of the world in such a manner, but at the same time it’s easy to not particularly like her. She’s sulky and petulant, and some of her decisions aren’t necessarily the smartest ones she could have made. She’s by no means a perfect person, and for me part of the interest of One Step After Another was seeing if Olga would find a way to make better decisions while still staying true to herself, and it’s a struggle that Olga fights with throughout the comic.

One Step After Another features an introduction by Andi Watson, and it’s easy to see why Solis would have wanted Watson’s contribution. Solis’s art style reminds me a lot of Watson’s, with its use of grays for shading, and thick heavy blank inks to help provide shape to the comic. It’s a very attractive look, and in One Step After Another‘s slightly smaller dimensions it reproduces beautifully.

The ending of One Step After Another is a peculiar one because Solis both provides an ending and gives himself room for more stories with the characters if he so desires. I’m not entirely sure I’d want to see more of Olga unless I felt we’d see some growth in her character—for a one-shot story she’s a good protagonist, but her negative traits could be tiring if they kept showing up—but I do definitely want to see more comics by Solis translated into English. He’s got a nice art style, and that’s always welcome on my bookshelf.

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