Charismatic Mexi-CAN cartoonist extraordinaire GELADAA greets you amicably! Again! Still at it, blogging. You can count on THAT at least... In this valley of tears we call a world... your friends and loved ones WILL likely betray you, mired and punished as they are, pounded into dour wretches by an uncaring planet... The ocean may boil, communists may rise to power, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria/end of days... But your friend GELADAA will keep on blogging, and you can keep on reading said blog-posts, and pretend there is still room in your life for such nonchalant leisure.
This time I bring you something different; a review. No! Two reviews of two great works of sequential art. I will talk to you about two indie comics I´ve recently consumed. My goal being to both sell them to you (since they deserve your attention and support, yes they do!) AND write a blog-post worth reading WHILE selling them to you. To jot down ideas of some merit, perspectives worth your ever-dwindling, precious time.
To share with you what I perceive as some of their main merits as pieces of culture. Emphasis on "I" here as I am certain others might very well take from them completely different things. AGAIN the idea here is to: -sell them. -say something worth saying/fun to read at the very least.
After a brief introduction, I will analyze/celebrate a "slice" from both works, and then present a "cherry" I found within them (a place where the energy/interest gathers into excess; the goal of art). I find this more interesting that trying to reduce the works, much better than trying to "explain them away". Synthesis is great and all, but the goal of art is to produce problems, not solve them.
The two works are "BECKONING OF AETHERIUS: CHAPTER 3 - THE VOICE" by lovely METHEENA (sounds like "Athena" so far so good) and THE FOX CAME FROM THE WOODS by my BUD ELIOT MIN and some guy named DANIEL BROWN who is apparently an "Emmy-nominated director, writer and storyteller". I will say thought, the story is pretty cool, so don´t let this guy´s Emmy-nomination dissuade you from reading this lovely work. Must have been a dark period in his life or something, everyone makes mistakes.
Clicking the highlighted text will lead you to their sites and works, try it!.
Let´s talk about THE FOX CAME FROM THE WOODS
I´ll paste some of the Kickstarter´s promotional text here: "Frankie is having a bad day. She lives on a mysterious island, her sister disappeared a year ago, and she might have just died...
An action horror coming-of-age mystery. Nancy Drew by way of Guyver and Junji Ito. Frankie, a high school junior, is suddenly imbued with fantastic powers after a nearly fatal crash. Will they help her find her lost sister or be the seed of her own undoing."
The story mixes a bunch of fun tropes together. The "mysterious-happenings-in-a-small-isolated-town" SHTICK, the "cute-teen-girl-in-the-spirit-of-Jennifer-Connelly-in Labyrinth/Phenomena-who-we-are-totally-not-supposed-to-lust-after" SHTICK and the "gaining-super-powers/transforming-while-at-the-same-time-discovering-a-fantasy-world-right-beneath-the-surface-of-base-reality-as-a-metaphor-for-growing-up" SHTICK.
Really solid visual narrative skills on top of lovely, sexy art (influenced by some lovely Asian illustrators like "KAWAYOO") and a story by a guy that clearly understands how to make stories "work", pro-stuff, clearly. Honestly, a very easy thing to enjoy. I can see girls recognizing themselves in Frankie no problem, and there´s some cool narrative art (emphasis on the "narrative") part. In fact, you can feel the drive to create something here, the hunger to make each page count. Look at this beautiful slice of it:
I love this little "gallery of reflections", how well it illustrates the relationship between Frankie (black-haired girl MC) and her sister. You have four different representations of the her here: the mirror looking back, the shadow, the photo and the first-person narration. Teen girls and first-person/dear-diary-like narration go hand-in-hand. I love the interplay between these four things. The central STAIN-LIKE shadow in particular truly illustrates the girl´s feelings. This panel really places us in her shoes, and every detail in it counts; the frame, the pinned photos, the trophy (and second framed picture for extra clarity) in the corner. The text is great as well, the "it really is" line acting like a cup to gather Frankie´s disgust. You can keep staring at it, and it remains interesting, isn´t that the mark of serious picture-maker at work?
The visuals are super fun, they pop, they come alive, great stuff.
The story, as these stories are wont to do, blossoms into fantasy, a cathartically violent dip into the underworld, complete with a "feral furry fox babe" transformation. The chapter ends with an enticing cliff-hanger, leading into the next (click HERE to go support this by contributing to the second kickstarter!) I find it interesting that the point of "collapse" into the realm of the spirits and the dead happens while confronting a group of BOYS. There is a level of psychological sincerity/honesty to this I appreciate. In a world DROWNING in propaganda, it´s nice to know people are still capable, on some level, to craft stories with this preciously rare ingredients in them. Most fairy-tales are about achieving a healthy sexual
Now for the "cherry on top" segment of this blog-post, something I really enjoyed.
I really enjoyed how Frankie was drawn. There´s an empathy here, while at the same time the artist remains keenly aware that the whole focus of his story is "a teen girl in micro skirt". Like I said, I think this work could easily be appreciated by young girls, but, but, as much of the cover art attests to, we men will read it because there´s something nice to look at in its core. The sexyness of the MC is not some vulgar thing though; the authors don´t want us to merely lust after Frankie, but fall for her proper; a noble goal.
Case in point, the figure on the left. What a lovely drawing. Frankie´s pose seems to convey at the same time embarrassment (masquerading as cold) and a desire to showcase her budding feminine body. Her pained expression a testament to the fact that a woman´s soul is the tastiest part of her being. The spirit behind her gaze, her gestures; a jewel of the cosmos worth touching, worth conquering. Stories dealing with "adolescents" all at heart contend with how ridiculous and awkward this very recently created "life stage" (not claiming it to be unnecessary though). In any case, let us celebrate ridiculous and awkward things along with the rest, and keep turning them into grand fantasies, hopefully there´s some nice vampire hunk in Frankie´s future, and she´ll learn to love herself in his arms.
I lied. I won´t talk about METHEENA´s "BECKONING OF AETHERIUS: CHAPTER 3 - THE VOICE" this week. I´d rather write about it with fresh energy( very soon), than force myself right now. In the mean time, READ IT! It´s worth your time, and discover what I´ll have to say about it NEXT WEEK.
Oh and RT my fucking FERAL FANTASY FELINE FELIX comic on twitter (please), I´m 2 fucking re-twits away from fucking crossing the fucking threshold "needed" to produce another page (which will be really fucking cool, I have it all planned out). Have a nice one!