A COMICS ROUND UP
Here’s some short reviews of notable comics I’ve read recently. All three of the series I in this review are self-published. They all have very distinct voices. These are stories that work best as comics and a large part of comics history is in serialization. Check them out and support some talented up and coming artists and writers.
Poison the Cure is a dense, underappreciated labor of love. It doesn’t look or sound like anything else I’ve read. (Alex Cahill is a friend so I’ll get that out of the way right now) Ziade and Cahill have been working on Poison the Cure since 2006. Poison the Cure begins with aliens in a far distant future. They are assigned to discover the history of a long ago scorched earth. The story is told via the psychic residue of the characters. Set in a dystopic near future, a group of friends fight against a military-industrial dictatorship. Cahill’s drawings crackle with energy. He uses the hard black and white negative spaces of woodcuts, but manages to retain the liquid fluidity of ink. Ziade’s storytelling is at times elliptical, but never pandering. Poison the Cure is one of the most thrilling books I've read in a while. What is exciting to me is to see how Cahill’s drawings have matured over the 5 years of the making of the books.
I picked these small zine style comics on my way out of the door at Stumptown. I’m glad I did. The Feast is a strange fairy tale about girls fighting a carnivorous monster. The drawing is crisp and clear. The storytelling has a good pace. The Godins is an ongoing story that takes place in a fantasy world. Palmer has a very clean storytelling style. Like Jeff Smith’s Bone, The Godins uses a combination of Disneyesque characterizations and fantasy tropes to tell the story. I look forward to the next installments.
I’ve liked Malachi Ward’s work since I discovered Utu. Like the above-mentioned books, Expansion is a three part serialized story. Expansion exists in the world of high-concept science fiction. The story elling is elegant. Sheean and Ward also know how to pace a serialized story. Each installment works as a piece that builds a larger whole. The combined drawing of the two (Sheean on pencils and Ward on inks) has a slippery, sticky quality. One particular page in which the character Turner watches a multitude of people turn into a gooey mass of slime is terrific. Sheean and Ward use silence to great affect in creating the sensation of being lost far out in the void of space.