Gag Work From Holly Foltz & Lena Chandhok

Posted by on October 11th, 2010 at 5:55 AM

Rob reviews minis from CCS students Holly Foltz & Lena Chandhok.

The Wind and the Sun and INterruption, by Lena Chandhok.  Chandhok is starting her second semester at the Center for Cartoon Studies, and her potential as a humorous storyteller is considerable.  Her greatest skill at the moment is in her figurework, especially her faces.  The Wind And The Sun is an adaptation of a fable from Aesop, modernized to reflect a catty argument between anthopomorphized versions of the North Wind and the Sun.  Chandhok gets across the spirit of the fable while adding a gag twist at the end.

This story looks like it was gray-scaled for minicomics reproduction, which doesn’t do the comic any favors.  The blobby grays detracted a bit from the overall effect of the art, taking away a bit of its comic snap.  This is unfortunate, given the clever design of the mini, excellent lettering (which played directly into the personalities of the two lead characters), and aforementioned expressiveness of the characters.  While its line is minimalist in comparison, Chandhok’s INterruption is perhaps a better example of her storytelling potential.  It’s a simple story about one person attempting to share their ipod with another on a bus, getting initially rebuffed, and then the creeping nature of music finally winning them over.  Chandhok cleverly uses iconography and color in the word balloons, with the green of music overtaking the otherwise dark cloud in the grumpy character’s head. I’ll be curious to see what form Chandhok’s senior thesis will take.

Brain Parts #0 and Unpleasant People #1, by Holly Foltz.  Foltz is a more conventional joke-teller than Chandhok, employing a farcical narrative in the latter comic and a series of short gags in the former.  Foltz sells her gags with the highly expressive, exaggerated facial expressions of her characters, like one where she grabs her cat with her robe, holds the feline underneath its folds, and then lets it spring out while shouting “Alien!”  The popped-out eyes, distorted posture and distinctive touch of freckles for her self-caricature all move the gag along through til its conclusion. Foltz’s hatching and cross-hatching is a bit sloppy at times, especially when she relies on them too much to establish mood.

Unpleasant People is a sword-and-sorcery spoof, in the style of an office comedy.  A couple of barbarians attack the keep of a tyrannical wizard named Lord Zoloft.  The villain is frustrated by his deadly ninjas being on strike for a new insurance plan, and is forced to turn to a temp agency to hire a secretary to organize his schedule.  The strength of this story is its dialogue, which raises it above a standard fantasy parody.  Foltz has excellent comic timing, using silent panels to create additional beats on the page to stretch out a punchline.  I’m not crazy about Foltz’s lettering, and there’s too much white space in too many panels.  It detracts from Foltz’s attempt to evoke an environment, making her characters float in space.  All told, this series shows potential but needs to be reworked.  I’ll be curious to see if Foltz wraps her characters in a complex plot like Sfar & Trondheim in Dungeon, or if the action in this series is more episodic and improvisotory.

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One Response to “Gag Work From Holly Foltz & Lena Chandhok”

  1. […] It’s been a pretty eventful few days, though! After the dust settled yesterday afternoon, I realized that two things had happened while I wasn’t looking. I turned 23 on Sunday (hurray!), and–oh yeah–some of my work was reviewed on the Comics Journal! Rob Clough wrote a really nice piece on two of the minicomics I gave him at MoCCA as well as two minis by the most excellent Holly Foltz. (Holly’s a recent CCS alum who draws hilarious comics, contributed to the pin-up calendar, and is an all around cool person.) You can read the article here. […]