Marble Cake review – a look at average life in South London

Take a unique look at average South London life in the latest release from Avery Hill Publishing. Tracey dreams of a life beyond South London. Beyond her job at the Supermart. Beyond what amounts to now. But in a city where everyone is living their own melodrama, where people are disappearing with alarming regularity, and where existence overlaps and separates at every turn, how can Tracey be sure she’s the main character in her own life let alone a bit part in someone else’s?

Despite being the capital of England, London can sometimes feel very small and Marble Cake encapsulates that feeling perfectly. Tracey is initially presented as the main character of the story, but the focus soon spreads to each of the individuals that she encounters in her everyday life. These can either be fleeting encounters with the customers she serves at the Supermart to a one-night stand at a birthday party which promptly fork off into segments focusing on these individuals. Like Tracey, these snapshots of their lives are mainly focused on mundane facets such as coping with hair loss, trying to find a job or regular family life. These are all covered at a brisk pace given the comic’s relatively short length but gives plenty of time to spotlight each character and also making ample use of thought balloons to give a better perspective of the situations presented. Scott Jason Smith does a terrific job of weaving these characters in and out of each other’s lives and demonstrating that people in big cities are often more intertwined than they realise.

Smith also handles art duties with both his style and approach to layouts being a perfect fit for this type of story. His characters have a quirkiness to them that makes them stand out against the often grey and muted surroundings they’re found in. For the most part, the comic sticks to a six-panel layout for each page with the occasional splash used which helps emphasise the formulaic life most of the characters that make up the story live.

Smith has had a strong comic debut with Marble Cake. This is a brilliant snapshot of normal city life in London and how the lives of people who live in big cities often overlap without anyone knowing.

Marble Cake is out now from Avery Hill

9781910395479 – P/B – £11.99

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