Happy Monday – today is the last day of my list; tomorrow the full list will go up for your complete review. Please send me an ASK or shoot me an email at sequentialstate _at_ gmail _dot_ com if you have any feedback.
I’ve come to anticipate the Comics Workbook Composition Competition every year because of the great comics that inevitably come out of it. This year’s winner was ALPENGLOW by Alyssa Berg. Berg uses the 3×3 grid in a very fascinating way; empty panels emphasize the movement of time, physical and mental space, as well as the vast whiteness of snowy mountains. Berg’s use of color is striking throughout. You can check out the full comic here.
The Basil Plant by Laura Lannes (self-published) tumblr: @lauralannes
Of all the books on the list this year, Lannes’ mini The Basil Plant was the biggest head-scratcher for me. I was enthralled by the way Lannes uses absurd redundancy to make something appalling into something funny. Each page turn, when you suspect things are going to go in a more conventional direction, instead they ratchet up, getting stranger and stranger, with the book climaxing as Lannes-as-Heman pisses on the world. Lannes examines gender stereotypes and mental health in a way that has a bite.
Old Ground by Noel Freibert (self-published) tumblr: @wweeiirrdd
I reviewed Old Ground #1 in March, and I found Freibert’s cartooning disturbing in all the right ways. The book’s intensely grotesque imagery and slapstick humor set the tone for a dark story that defies expectation. Freibert skill here is depicting pain, and making the reader imagine that same pain, potentially experience that same pain. You can check out my review here.
Disa Wallander is rapidly becoming one of my favorite cartoonists. The Nature of Nature is a funny yet cold examination of the frailty of human existence. Wallander confronts the human reaction to the harshness and beauty of nature, examines our violence, wonder, and ignorance, all in the guise of a reporter getting the latest scoop out in the wild. A fascinating book. You can read my full review here.
Mowgli’s Mirror by Olivier Schrauwen tumblr: @retrofitcomics
Schrauwen’s Mowgli’s Mirror was fascinating, a huge book from Retrofit, and I’m slightly surprised that it hasn’t gotten more attention. Schrauwen re-examines Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and makes it a much more absurd affair. Schrauwen also uses a mirrored page, a formal component that makes the plot of the comic that much more interesting. Here’s the full review from back in April.
Full list is up tomorrow, and then we’re back to your regularly scheduled programming. See you soon.