Minis Monday: The Way It Crumbles by Dan Mazur

Posted by on June 7th, 2010 at 1:00 PM or

Judging by his contributions to the group’s serialized anthology Inbound, Mazur is a member in good standing of the Boston Comics Roundtable. In issue #1 he provided the art for “The Daytime Sky,” a well-crafted story written by Susan Chasen about the ordinary successes of a doughy, admirable student astronomer at an extraordinary moment. In issue #3, the one with the theme of love, a romantically addled technician finds his affection unrequited, leading to disaster and an anachronism. With Inbound #4, devoted to Boston’s history, Mazur takes on several different roles. As a writer, he crisply condenses for artist Doug De Rocher the tale of Anthony Burns, a runaway slave captured in Boston and returned to Virginia by court order. With brush and wash he realizes, again for writer Chasen, the last meeting between the Booth brothers before Lincoln’s assassination. Best of all is his piece on Charles Ponzi, in which Mazur portrays him as a plaything of fortune — “From broke and unknown, to world famous millionaire, to broke and behind bars. Less than a year!” — albeit an enterprising, venial, raffish plaything, as opposed to a despicable swindler.

The Way It Crumbles is a full-length solo comic that gives a full-length short story its due. It refines, extends and solidifies Mazur’s talents as a pleasing story teller. I hesitate to say too much about the plot, other than it is a sly, humorous, elegant commentary on the corrosive ways of the contemporary world. As with his Inbound comics we are once more treated to the completely understandable machinations of human nature acted out within a remarkable — i.e. fabulous — environment. Specifically, a down-and-out elf approaches a writer for Munch Monthly in a bar, offering to sell the last of his kind’s treasure for drink money. The elf’s sad if cleverly imagined history unfolds in due course. In that it involves increasing entanglement with human society, clearly no good can result. At the conclusion we are left with a tidy, apt, bittersweet resolution that carries, if you care to pursue it, a drear life lesson.

With his Inbound comics, Mazur has shown a couple of differing visual styles. In that Crumbles has a smaller page than most, there’s a compression of scale. Still, panels are busy with atmospheric detail done in a more gestural line that is inked more heavily to provide a darker page. Mazur has proven an intrepid illustrator, daunted by no subject or object thus far. This serves him well here, as the personality of diverse mythical and fantastical creatures is expressed capably, which is important in order to feel the impact of the story’s rise and fall.

There was a special treat in picking the book up at the Maine convention. With a nod to comic’s title and content, every purchase included a chocolate-chip cookie. Cinching the straps on my critic’s helmet tighter still, I can say authoritatively it was deee-lish although an even better and unexpected sensation was how the treat proved even more rich upon reading The Way it Crumbles. As it turns out, to paraphrase Garry Trudeau’s character Mark Slackmeyer, even reviewers like chocolate-chip cookies.

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One Response to “Minis Monday: The Way It Crumbles by Dan Mazur”

  1. Yes! Not the happiest comic, but definitely a good one.