Minis Monday: Coping with Death and Duddits the Comic

Posted by on February 15th, 2010 at 1:00 PM

A while back I got a chance to share my enthusiasm for concept and execution of a journal-style comic, Four Squares, in which four cartoonists offered strips of the same days for a given month. With today’s offerings, selected members of that crew are back, in differing capacities but with similarly gratifying results.

Coping With Death

Maris Wicks

maris@dotsforeyes.com

Duddits the Comic

Maris Wicks, Liz Prince and Joe Quinones

As above plus comicnrrd.livejournal.com and joequinones.blogspot.com

In Coping With Death, Maris Wicks composes a consideration of mortality as a superheroesque throwdown. The amusing tussle is distinguished by an indomitable Grim Reaper otherwise wholly preoccupied with workaday routine. Wicks has a supple, solid, persuasively animated visual style and a choreography to match. Imagine Bryan Lee O’Malley streamlined and tightened up. She makes the most of cartoon liberties, using pop-culture references as sprinkles. Her degree of foresight and control over material is matched by a fluidity in tempo and pose (for instance, with a slight gesture in a single panel, Death holds aloft a bus stop sign, an insignificant move until placed in the context of the larger situation). In the end, the comic delivers a payoff better than could be expected when calling out an Eternal Verity.

©2008 Maris Wicks

Wicks teams with Liz Prince for the story of Duddits, a nifty, light-on-its-feet gambol between aggressor, victim and fresh aggressor. Wicks supplies the first part, applying a consistent set of visual and pacing virtues, with Prince handling the parallel comeuppance. By way of contrast, Prince composes with a lighter line and takes more of those cartoon liberties. Duddits him-/itself is a rounded-off square with tail, arms and legs. Imagine a crassly opportunistic plush toy for Dilbert. The fact that he takes on a life of his own (to say nothing of a consistent life) is a credit to the collaborators. All comes, again, to a fitting end that manages to be completely apt if still unexpected. The booklet ends with clever activity pages, some by friend-cartoonist Joe Quinones.

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