Lightning Round: Short Takes on Various Comics

Posted by on July 26th, 2010 at 5:19 AM

Rob offers brief comments on a number of comics: Yo! Burbalino # 1-3, by Greg Farrell; The Regular Man #10, by Dina Kelberman; Candy Or Medicine Volume 10, edited by Josh Blair; and Moral Geometry by Sean Andress.

Yo! Burbalino #1-3, by Greg Farrell.  These comics look like they’re ripped straight out of a sketchbook.  There’s a primitive energy at work here but not much focus.  Most of these minis focus on Farrell’s gag characters, including a chef and a talking squirrel, but it’s his own idiosyncratic observations that held my interest.  “Why They Call Me Electro Boy”, a rant about how electric fields affect his health, was an especially peculiar and personal story.  The other two issues found Farrell working spoken-word-style poetry into his comics, with mixed results.  Farrell has a long way to go before he’s refined his style and sharpened his comedic chops, but there’s an interesting point of view to be found in these comics.

The Regular Man #10, by Dina Kelberman.  The latest four page epistle from Kelberman focuses once more on her ambivalent relationships with the internet and other people.  Kelberman’s specialty is creating existential crises and then immediately deflating them with her lurid color scheme, primitive figures and self-effacing humor.  Her sense of humor works to cover up her growing sense of unease and dread only up to a point: she knows she should try to connect but finds she doesn’t really want to.  These little comics are perfect as art objects and vignette delivery systems.

Candy or Medicine Volume 10, edited by Josh Blair.  This was probably the most consistently attractive volume of this minicomics grab-bag anthology to date.  Brazilian Alberto Pessoa contributes a stylish story about the stages of life told through the use of mythological and childhood objects.  Blair and Katie Omberg contribute humorous work, with Omberg’s line having a crude energy that makes her childhood anecdote concerning confusion about finding dung in a field all the more effective.

The most impressive effort was a (presumably) autobiographical piece from newcomer Tori Holder.  Holder’s line is primitive and somewhat stiff, yet her design sense drew in my eye.  This story concerns the unease she feels in her parents’ house, reaching back to childhood memories and cleverly incorporating an etch-a-sketch to illustrate her woes.  I loved how immersive this one-page story was, especially in the way she combined text and image.  She has the potential to be an interesting new voice in comics.

Moral Geometry, by Sean Andress.  To use the word “visceral” to describe this relentless stream of body-horror images would be an understatement.  In a series of brief vignettes that touch on birth, death, and disease, Andress creates chills by inverting the possibility of human intimacy as a series of predatory and cannibalistic encounters.  The final story, “Rubber Face”, takes this idea to a new extreme, as a rubber-masked figure first acts as the bus passenger from hell as he relates a disgusting story, only to see the old woman he sat next to pull out a gun, kill him, and transform into a destructive monster.  The story and issue end on a note of fiery nihilism, and the swirling, blotchy images make this a ride that is difficult to forget.

All images copyright 2010 by their respective authors; the cover of Candy or Medicine Volume 10 is copyright 2010 Donal DeLay.

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