Sequential State – the comics criticism archive of Alex Hoffman

Comics That Challenged Me in 2014: Part 4

Officially it’s the new year, and this is the last installment of my list of comics that I read in 2014 that challenged me. As a reminder, comics on this list didn’t have to be written in 2014 to be included, but now that I’m looking at everything, it seems like almost everything has been.

I hope you enjoyed this list; I’ll be putting together a quick text post with all of the titles that should go up after this.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Complete List



Autobiographic Comics (untitled) – Laura Knetzger [laurark] (self-published, 2014)

While I haven’t gotten a chance to read Laura’s Bug Boys series, I’ve read her comic  in volume 4 of the Puppyteeth anthology from Czap Books as well as her two zines Catburglar Cream and Find Me, Look For Me. This year I’ve been impressed by the immediacy and intimacy of her autobiographic comics posted to tumblr – I’ve pulled one that struck me pretty hard. Knetzger’s work has a sparseness that reminiscent of John Porcellino, but the difference is in the way she frames content. Her evil self, for example, is a parody of Jessie from the Pokemon anime. These sorts of images pop up time and time again throughout her comics, and these cultural references change the way I think about her comics. To continue the Pokemon reference, Jessie might be a thief and a ne’er-do-well, but she also shows strength of conviction and is willing to protect Ash and friends when times get tough.  Knetzger’s autobio comics are complicated, and beautiful. Similar to life, I think.


HONEY #1 – Celine Loup [blackblobyellowcone] (self-published, 2013)

It was a struggle to determine which of Loup’s comics I should have included in this list. I was affected by “You Should Know Where You Come From,” a stark reminder of the sexism that women face every day and the fear they feel. But it was with Honey that Loup first started pushing my head around early last Spring. The themes of violence and imminence of death set upon the idea of the honeybee’s social structure make for an interesting story, but it’s the perspective that is most important in my mind. Creating a story specifically in which men’s feelings and opinions aren’t considered and understanding it as such helped me think about the why of comics, and also the privilege I have as a consumer of comics.


Missy #2 – Daryl Seitchik [darylseitchik] (Oily Comics [snakeoily] , 2014)

Of all the comics I bought in bundles throughout 2014, It was Seitchik’s Missy #2 from Oily Comics that affected me the most. I hadn’t read much of Seitchik’s Missy comics prior to getting this copy, but I was struck by how well constructed the book is as a whole. From the cover where Seitchik has her back towards the reader, embracing a shadow, to chat boxes obscuring her face, to watching her laugh her ex-boyfriend right out the door when they break up – it all feels dark, but it’s natural. The text lifts the mood at times, often delivering the punchline or the set up.  If you look a step further, the panel composition and use of perspective to push and pull Seitchik away from the reader, it all seems so precisely applied – even the torn page at the end, mirroring the events of the story before.


Remember This? – Disa Wallander [disawallander] (Kuš komiksi [kushkomikss] , 2014)

I’ve written a review of Wallander’s mini from Kuš, and I’ll point you to that as a way of showing my struggle with the work, but I think this comic is very interesting, with its call and response, reflection on memory and deflecting characters. It is a piece of work at odds with itself.


Thanks for sticking with me through this list. We’ll be back to regular Sequential State content later this week. See you around.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Complete List

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