Thursday, June 19, 2008
Jumbly Junkery #4 -- This new mini-comic is the creation of cartoonist L. Nichols. The concerns are mostly observational and confessional, which you might glean from strips titled "An Observation" and "Confessions." It's mostly autobiographical, and Nichols is a hell of an artist, so I enjoyed the issue a lot.
As they often are in autobio comics, some of the observations are minor -- the difference between waking to a new day in the winter versus the spring, for example -- the significance of such a strip lies therefore in the execution. Like Roger Ebert says, it's not what it's about that matters, but how it is about it. Nichols uses a button-eyed avatar to fill in for herself, and that took a little adjusting, but it's fair enough in this sort of work. If James Kochalka can be an elf, or Dash Shaw can present one of his characters as a frog, why not a button-eyed ragdoll?
A lot of ground is covered in the 32 pages of Jumbly Junkery #4, ranging from sexism to depression, and from a whimsical gag involving lions to a serious, three-page summation of Nichols life and developing self-image (one of the stronger pieces, it should be noted).
I liked this comic a lot, and would love to read more work by Nichols. Some random things that stand out for me:
* I love the gold overlay on the drops of rain on the minimalist cover; it's a touch you only see in quality mini-comics, and it says something about the intentions of the artist.
* I like the way Nichols draws cats, and sinks, and pens and paper.
* I like the wide variety of subjects, all held together with a single creative vision and point of view.
Jumbly Junkery is the most promising mini-comic I've read in quite some time, the sort of thing that always makes me hungry for more.
You can purchase comics (and a felt alligator with button eyes!) by L. Nichols by clicking here.
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