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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Elsewhere #2 by Gary Sullivan.Elsewhere #2 -- I wasn't expecting a second issue of Gary Sullivan's self-published mini-comic, but it certainly is welcome.

In my review of the first issue, I said "Of course the insides don't always match the expectations set up by that superb cover." Also true with this second issue, and again I have to say "So what? Sullivan uses words and images...to create a comic all about verisimilitude, and mostly it works. Disorienting, silly, lovely, unknowable." All still true, although a bit less silly and a bit less unknowable. But not a bit less intriguing.

The first issue was about Sullivan's immersion in Japanese culture; here he stays closer to home, as the Brooklyn resident uses words and images to recreate a trip up Coney Island Avenue. Under another superb cover, Sullivan uses his photo-informed style to show us a multicultural wonderland that is so joyous and chaotic that one could almost have hope that people of disparate cultures could learn to rejoice in each other's differences, not to mention their headgear and cuisine.

The comic is not perfect; the words are sometimes at odds with the images in a way that recalls the skillful juxtapositioning of an Alan Moore. At other times the words are just at odds with the images. I would have preferred it if the stream of consciousness narrative (if you are generous enough to call it that; I would) were a bit more organic and directed, but it's undeniable that Sullivan's approach evinces a convincing travel through a real place. If the lettering could be a little more accomplished, if the execution could be a little more assured, it remains nonetheless true that Elsewhere is fascinating, forward-looking comics that more or less spectacularly achieves its modest, unique goals.



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