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Friday (review): Ed Brubaker and Marcos Martin look at child detectives and what kind of adults they could grow up to be.

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente
Image Comics, 2021

Imagine, if you will, Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew crossing over and then imagine them becoming a pair of awkward late teen/early twenty something young adults that don’t know how to process or handle their feelings for each other. That is half of the equation of Friday by Brubaker and Martin.

Now, imagine Encyclopedia Brown taking on cases that involve Lovecraftian nightmare creatures, but with the New England flavor swapped out for a Mid Western taste profile. That’s the second half of the equation from two creators named Marcos and Ed.

One could tell you what the third part of the formula is… but that would spoil things. Also, if you’re thinking three halves is an improper fraction, you’re right, but remember that in terms of awkward love and Lovecraftian lore, numbers that don’t add up are essential to the formula.

The meat and potatoes of the story centers around one Friday Fitzhugh, the former sidekick to “The World’s Smartest Boy” who stayed behind in their quiet little home town, while she went off to college to continue along with her life as the more “ordinary” of the two.

This is complicated by her and Lancelot Jones having given their virginity to one another shortly after she graduated from high school. A very typical dilemma that happens to young adults who are non-romantically intertwined, but everyone around them assumes otherwise and insists that they should be together, that those two kids might eventually hook up sexually and then end up regretting it because they’ve forever altered their friendship in a way that might break it apart.

Into this melange of potent and hormone fueled angst, is added a new wrinkle. While arriving home for Winter Break, Friday is immediately pulled into another Lancelot Jones case, which is something she neither has fucks to give about, or time to put up with. But it is a murder and it’s also something treading into the Lovecraftian territory that started to creep into the latter adventures of her pre-college life that she wants be free from. In this day and age, any crime-noir story using Lovecraft’s standard tool box is passe, but a kid detective going through that spike in stakes feels a lot fresher. Especially when this is a kid who has aged out of the precocious part of being a kid detective.

If you’re on the look out for something to get you in the mood for Halloween when it’s too early in the year to put up the pumpkins and skeletons, but with a little bit of the “life gets wonky when you get old enough to care about the things you don’t understand” schadenfreude layered on top like the fudge drizzle on a misery and heartache sundae, this one’s for you.