Thursday, December 10, 2009

Now, End-Product-of-Laughter "Stitches" I Can Get Behind

My favorite sequence from David Small's Stitches (2009).

One of the reasons why I was underwhelmed by this book is that it feels like a series of painted cartoons instead of a comic. The last two panels on the page above are art school exercises: draw a curious and youthful eye (good!) and then a scary eye (good!). They are oddly free-floating illustrations, as if from a sketchbook, and it doesn't seem worthwhile to add them up. Add to the mix many pretty scenic double splash pages and there's almost too much independence.

As for the story, even though it's Small the small child who gets caught between Small the artist's tug-of-war between extreme innocence and extreme cruelty, my arms were hurt.

I am very close to declaring 2009 the Year of Trite Acclaimed Comics. Formal sophistication meets flat sentiment and thought. A thrilling style can't convincingly offset or reignite sitcom writing.

The following spring to mind:
1. George Sprott by Seth.
2. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli.
3. Greg Rucka's unbearable Detective Comics dialogue.
4. AD: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld.
5. The Nobody by Jeff Lemire.

You can still use words, you know.

My comic of the year? Citizen Rex for its immense difficulty and absurd final issue "message"? Maybe. Gaiman and Allred's "Metamorpho" from Wednesday Comics? Maybe. The ever-reliable Joe Sacco's Footnotes From Gaza, which I haven't yet seen and may not even be out? I'll go with Sacco any day.

Sorry, The Graphic Novel, I'm wanted elsewhere.

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