New Comics From Ed Choy Moorman

Posted by on June 12th, 2010 at 5:53 AM

Rob reviews STITCHING TOGETHER and DECORUM, both new minicomics from Ed Choy Moorman.

Ed Choy Moorman is an interesting young artist with enormous potential.  At this stage of his career, he’s still finding his way around, and his recent minis STITCHING TOGETHER and DECORUM collect a number of shorter works by the artist.  He worked in a number of different styles in these comics, experimenting with several kinds of storytelling.  In DECORUM, for example, Moorman used a stripped-down, almost geometric line for character design in this amusingly violent little chestnut about a man and a priest getting into a fistfight over a bottle of alcohol at a church christmas party.  There’s a very funny one-page strip introducing a super-villain’s “Cavalcade of Evil” featuring a number of not-so-malevolent threats until its final member, Hitler, is revealed.  The absurdity of that sight is heightened when Hitler starts singing “One of these things is not like the other…”.

Moorman veers from a naturalistic talking head strip asking “how do you fill the void” to the grotesque absurdity of a head sitting atop a pair of legs.  Most of the work in this comic feels almost ripped out of a sketchbook, as Moorman’s experimenting with timing, technique and composition.  It’s also a chance for a more serious cartoonist to goof around a little bit.  STITCHING TOGETHER is a little more ambitious, even if its subject matter is Jim Henson and the Muppets.  “Scenes From The Life And Death of Jim Henson” is a surprisingly affecting story about the late, great puppeteer.  Jumping forward chronologically from his childhood to his later triumphs with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, it concludes with his touching last wish that no one wear black at his funeral–only bright colors.  Moorman was successful in conveying the way Henson managed to both entertain and make a political statement simply by showing equal respect and regard for all cultures, genders and races in his shows.

Moorman looked back on several years of comics and other experiences regarding Henson’s work, poking fun at his own pretensions and limited early skills.  Even from the very beginning, Moorman was ambitious.  A humorous strip about Dr Bunsen Honeydew showed nice timing and a knack for taking a silly premise and running with it (Beaker was his roommate in college and Moorman got off a great Beaker-style physical gag with a bunk bed), even if his line was way too fussy.  This comic also featured Moorman going in a different direction with a slice of life story’s excerpt in which an awkward teen confessed that her first crush was on Kermit the Frog.  Moorman used a fairly naturalistic style with a very slightly iconic bent, as the teen girls were skinny to the point of looking a little like Olive Oyl.  The comic concluded with a fun comics travelogue of visiting Henson’s childhood home, turned into an attraction of sorts.  Clearly drawn from photos, there’s a distinct sweetness to be found in Moorman and his friends posing in the gregarious manner of Kermit, the ultimate (if somewhat nerve-stricken) entertainer.  These comics aren’t major statements by Moorman, but rather raw and sincere expressions of an artist trying to find his voice in public.  Moorman’s a long way from his first truly mature work, but I’m excited for his journey.  He has a chance to be great because of his brains, his vision and his expanding skill set.

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