Minicomics Round-Up: Darryl Ayo & Aaron Cockle

Posted by on January 11th, 2010 at 5:33 AM

Rob reviews minicomics by Darryl Ayo and Aaron Cockle.

Anyanyway #1 by Darryl Ayo:  This comic featuring two stories was all about character design and character interaction.  Ayo seems to have been studying folks like Matthew Thurber in that his character designs have a simplicity, warmth and vitality to them.  The first story, involving a group of superhero(-ish) friends hanging out and getting into a fight at a fast-food joint, is especially notable for the way Ayo drew eyes and the way he depicted violence.  Ayo was equally at home drawing character gestures with people slumping at a table eating tacos as he was with people punching each other in the jaw or shooting mind-rays at each other.  The second story, “Enemies With Benefits”, was a “Mr and Mrs Smith” variation done as dueling first-person narratives.  There were points here where he overreached a bit trying to draw the angles of action in this story.  On the other hand, his sex scenes were both tenderly rendered and funny and got to the heart of the matter as to why this pair of assassins was attracted to each other.  Details like the male assassin’s flabby gut and him biting her on the leg during sex added a level of wit to what could have been a hackneyed story.  Ayo’s an interesting young artist who’s still clearly cycling through influences and figuring out what his best drawing style will be.

El Sur by Aaron Cockle:  Cockle took the name of his mini from a Borges story about the crossover between this existence and another.  The “transmigration”, as it’s stated here, is one that completely swallowed up identity in the form of foreign (alien?) agents switching out people through the use of language, one by one.  The plot follows a writer named Wilson being invited to “Il Metacongress” to give a presentation titled “Time/Space” despite never having tried to publish it.  He meets a man who could be his twin who is also doing a presentation, but is really part of a cabal whose purpose is not entirely clear but involves getting humans to cross over, to reconcile the dreams and thoughts of how time & space relate to each other but that can never quite be reclaimed.  Cockle is fascinated by the idea of characters being placed in situations beyond their understanding that wind up being entirely transformative and sometimes self-negating.  Cockle’s comics are about Being in the existential sense: how we perceive it in ourselves, how we see it in others, and how language obscures our understanding of it.  His character design is intentionally bland, which worked to actually draw the reader’s eye in, but there are still some awkwardly-posed characters and panels where he over-renders.  Still, he remains a fascinating new voice in comics.

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