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Too Cool To Be Forgotten Hardcover – August 4, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Robinson (Box Office Poison, Tricked) returns with his latest, a high-concept graphic novella. In 2010, mild-mannered software engineer Andrew Wicks goes to a hypnotist to quit smoking, but wakes up from his trance to find himself in high school in 1985. While the Peggy Sue Quits Smoking premise could have been disastrous, with this slim volume, Robinson cements his reputation as a master cartoonist. The art is exceptional. His characters are all visually distinct, with subtle facial expressions and body language. He uses layout and even lettering to establish mood and keep the reader firmly fixed through complicated shifts in time, place and perception. Two sequences—the initial hypnosis scene and a later confrontation between two characters—are bravura performances, using innovative but still clear ways of depicting complicated inner monologues. Unfortunately, while Robinson has mastered the graphic, his skill with the novel lags behind, with some wordy dialogue and occasional narrative clunkers: one piece of foreshadowing is so clumsy it reads better as a typographical error. When Robinson the writer catches up with Robinson the artist, watch out. Even with its flaws, this is still a master class in graphic storytelling. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—Robinson is back with a concise gem that packs just as much punch as his lengthier titles. The premise here is nothing groundbreaking: Andy Wicks, a middle-aged family man, goes to a hypnosis clinic to break a 25-year smoking habit. As he mocks the ordeal as "mumbo jumbo," he is suddenly transformed into his 15-year-old self. With a 40-something mind still intact, he is forced to relive the horrors of algebra class, visits to the principal, elaborate social hierarchies, and, of course, intense sexual frustration. What makes Too Cool remarkable is the author's ability to revisit high school drama and reality bending in a lighthearted way yet with a depth and thoughtfulness that consistently underscore the plot. Robinson never trivializes adolescent angst. Instead, Andy's journey allows him to explore and understand the complex psychology behind his coming-of-age choices and behavior. That he has lived to see the results adds a compelling twist. Readers will gain perspective on mortality, family relationships, compassion, and love among bikini posters, gum-infested lockers, and family TV nights. As usual, Robinson's portraits perfectly underscore the intricacies of emotion in the story line, from the awkwardness of goofy permed-out and barely mustachioed teens to the anxiety of aging fathers with worry lines. Further, the artist's use of white pace, page composition, and flexible panels create a compelling sense of movement and a satisfying sense of flow. Teens are sure to have a lot of fun with the book.—Shannon Peterson, Kitsap Regional Library, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: IDW - TOP SHELF (August 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891830988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891830983
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alex Robinson was born in the Bronx on 8 August. He grew up in Yorktown Heights, New York where he graduated high school in 1987. His first job upon graduation was washing dishes in a gourmet deli and it was while working there he decided that maybe college was a pretty good idea afterall.

He spent one year at SUNY Brockport and then transferred to an art school in New York City, where he majored in cartooning. Among his teachers were Will Eisner, Andre LeBlanc, Sal Amendola and Gahan Wilson. In his sophomore year he got a job at a bookstore, where he continued to work for seven long years.

After graduating from art school, Alex began doing mini comics (small print run comics xeroxed and stapled by himself). He soon started working on the story that would become his first graphic novel, Box Office Poison.

In 1996, Antarctic Press started publishing the serialized version of Box Office Poison. The series ran for twenty-one issues, and once the story was complete, Top Shelf Productions published the entire thing in one 608 page book. Shortly after the book was published, Alex won the Eisner Award for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition.

Although Box Office Poison was nominated for several awards (a Harvey, an Eisner, an Ignatz and the Firecracker book award) it failed to take home a single prize. Pathetic. Alex bitterly got to work on a second book.

2005 got off to a great start when the French translation of Box Office Poison won the prestigious Prix du Premier Album award in Angouleme, France. August finally saw the release of Tricked, which Top Shelf announced was going to a second printing in November.

In 2006, Tricked lost the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Novel, but managed to win a Harvey and Ignatz Award. This year also so Astiberri in Spain release both of his graphic novels in handsome, one volume editions.

Alex has expanded his storytelling to include fantasy, with the release of Alex Robinson's LOWER REGIONS (2007), the time travel/high school drama Too Cool to Be Forgotten (2008) and an adaptaion of L. Frank Baum's A Kidnapped Santa Claus (2009).

He currently lives in New York City with his wife Kristen and their pets, Krimpet and Wrigley.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Too Cool to be Forgotten" is probably Alex Robinson's finest work to date, though at a scant 128 pages it's far too short. Maybe I'm just a spoiled reader after the chunky "Box Office Poison" and the similarly thick "Tricked," but there's easily enough conceptual meat here (guy goes in for hypnosis, wakes up back in high school) to match the scope of those books. While the book flies by, Robinson still manages to hit all of the right and expected notes, and some of the funniest and most touching moments are derived from the natural conflict of a man with 50 years' experience trying to do things the "right" way instead of the way that his teenage self would have done them.

One spoiler-free note about the book's title and presentation in general; the final act takes such a heartbreaking left turn that I sat and cried for almost ten minutes after I finished it, having recently dealt with a similar experience in my own life. It's sort of baffling that the book has such a wackity-schmackity title and joke ciggy-pack presentation when the emotional center of the story ends up being a sledgehammer to the center of the reader's chest, though maybe that's the idea.
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Format: Hardcover
Wonderful Cartoon Storytelling

There is a blurb on the back of this book that states something about the fact that no writer captures the pain, anger, happiness, and triumph of being a teen better except maybe Stan Lee, and boy is this ever true.

I dove into this book thinking it was going to be good, but I was blown away at how great it was. The art is A+. There is brilliant flashes of great cartooning. In some ways it reminds me of a Jeff Smith, using the panels to assist in telling an wonderful story.

The lettering is fun and understated, while being interesting to read and sometimes challenging when it serves the plot. There is a great scene when the main character is being hypnotized where Alex Robinson uses the lettering to spell out what he is hearing and thinking, then reverses chunks and spells everything out backwards for a bit as he delves into his sub conscience mind.

The story is A+ as well. It starts out with a middle-aged man who wants to quit smoking, quaintly, almost comical. Then he decides to try to get hypnotized to never want to smoke. This opens his life back to when he was in high school, but with the mind and thoughts of a middle-aged man. As he reflects and lives out his day as a 15 year old again, he tries to make amends and finds keys to his life in current days. Finally he finds a certain moment that he feels that he has to change in order to quit smoking. After that is done he learns of one last task that he must accomplish before he can be sent back to his life as a middle-aged man.

The ending is very emotional and sad, but good in a way. I got a bit teary myself for a second because I know a lot of the pain that our main character was going through.
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Format: Hardcover
Too Cool to Be Forgotten has that perfect melding of title and cover that makes for a perfect image, so absolutely clever and funny that it begs to be read. Luckily, the story inside lives up to the hype of the outside imagery.

Andy Wicks wants to quit smoking. Now 40, he's been puffing away since he was 15, when he took his first drag while trying to look cool at a party. It led to a lifetime of addiction. As a full-grown man in middle age, with a wife and two daughters, he desperately wants to kick the habit, but he's found it difficult, if not impossible, in the past.

When his wife drags him to a hypnotist, he's not sure what to think. But he's willing to give anything a try, no matter how goofy it may seem. And so he finds himself in a center for holistic medicine undergoing a procedure he doesn't know what to make of--especially when he wakes from his trance as a 15-year-old in 1985. (Those who are math-inclined may notice that timing is a little off, which is most likely intentional: Either the modern-day portion of the story is set in 2010 or the numbers aren't meant to add up. It's probably the former, but this is a book that comes with the following disclaimer, so the latter is possible too: "Page 84 includes an error in which the protagonist . . . thinks the word "Dad" instead of "Did." This will not be corrected. . . . We apologize if the author's stubborn refusal to listen to reason, demands or threats at all diminished your enjoyment. . . .")

The author, Alex Robinson, has made a name for himself with the graphic novels Box Office Poison and Tricked. Here, he manages to deliver a perfectly subdued work that perfectly walks the line of wittiness and pathos.
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By S. Kosloske on September 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great graphic novel.

If you were to wake up as a 15 year old again, but with the memories of your life up to 40, what would you think? What would you do?

This book hits the nail DEAD on the head. The protaganist has a very realistic, if short, trip to his own past, in order to try to fix something.

Very well done, a great read.
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