by Zachary Whittaker
If you’re considering checking out Getting It Together here’s what you need to know, it’s a well written story about relationships and breakups. Feeling more representative and open minded than a lot of its predecessors. It does a great job of digging into just how complicated endings can be, and that there’s almost always more than two people involved in a relationship. Along the way there’s some nice character details and interactions and I’m sure plenty of musicians will be able to relate to some of the conversations between the members of Nipslip. The relationship drama is well done and the characters largely remain relatable throughout, but the lighthearted moments that are integral to sitcoms just aren’t present here, so I’m not entirely sure I’d agreed with the “Friends for the 2020s” that keeps being repeated when this book is talked about.
I read the first issue of Getting It Together back in October of 2020 but didn’t follow-up on the series until now. Honestly, I liked the first issue and checking back on my notes from the time I can see why, it’s a representative and relatable series that, at times, feels like a romantic sitcom for the 2020s. If you did pick up the first issue, you’ll also know that there’s a playlist to accompany the issue and a Bandcamp page for Nipslip (the band from the comic) which is very cool and entirely what I’m into.
While my response to that first issue was largely positive, it really did surprise me that I’m not feeling the same way now I’ve finished reading the full trade. As the front cover, and a lot of other reviews suggest Getting It Together definitely does take some influence from Friends, in that the series does follow a group of…friends. Throughout these four issues we follow Sam, Jack, and Lauren through their everyday lives and get a glimpse into the relationships that connect them and the relationships they share with their own individual friends.
I grew up with Friends as a constant presence in my life, my parents loved it, E4 repeated two episodes five nights a week, and I was there for all of it, and it’s with that in mind that I have to say there just isn’t enough of a similarity to draw a reasonable comparison between the two, they’re different things and that’s okay.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand billing this as “Friends for the 2020s” it’s just sensible marketing, the vast majority of the time, indie comics have to give their audience a premise they recognise to get any traction. It’s just a shame that a lot of people are taking that as truth, rather than the initial hook it so clearly is. Alright I’ve got that out of my system, but truthfully the constant lazy reference has been driving me mad.
There’s a good chance you’re going to see something of yourself in one or more of the characters, and that says a lot for how strong Sina Grace and Omar Spahi’s writing is. No matter which character you focus on you’re going to see someone flawed and struggling with their own baggage, from Sam’s romanticising of his former relationship with Lauren, her own destructive tendencies, or Jack’s almost compulsive string of dating app hook-ups.
When it comes to art, I’m definitely a fan of Jenny D. Fine’s style, which is packed with emotion and energy. However I do feel like there’s a certain looseness in some pages and panels that seemed greatly in contrast to the attention to detail in others. This is coming from a musician’s point of view, but there’s plenty of scenes from band practices, sound checks and gigs and some of the inconsistencies were driving me mad. In addition Sina Grace’s contributions to the art throughout the series look great and compliment Fine’s style nicely. Mx. Struble’s colouring fits well with both Fine and Grace’s artwork, although I feel like there’s some backgrounds that become very single coloured. Also Sean Konot’s lettering is on point throughout, simple when it needs to be but with some punchy sound effects when needed.
I liked the addition of Colleen Green’s playlist for the first issue and the advert for Nipslip’s Bandcamp page and I feel like it’s a shame that this backmatter seemingly hasn’t made it into the trade of Getting It Together, but you’ve probably picked up now I love the inclusion of music to accompany comics.
There’s plenty to like about Getting It Together and if you’re looking for something representative with a focus of relationships and drama this is likely going to scratch that itch.
3 Friends out of 6.