Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thirty Days of CCS #21: Summer

Summer is an anthology that was produced by CCS students while still in school. This is a themed anthology organized around the titular season, and the results vary widely from explorations of mythology to "what I did on my summer vacation" autobio pieces. The results vary wildly, especially since each piece is just four pages. The anthology starts off slow, with Laura Martin's slick art and slim story, along with three stories in a row that deal with being roasted and/or being eaten. The anthology picks up a little steam with the amusing one-page vignettes from Alex Karr entitled "My Mermaid Roommate", which talk about mermaids in their original sense, as devouring the lost at seas. Karr's line is crude but effective, especially in terms of relaying body language.

Andy Shuping and Dean Sudarsky both focus on the feeling of being away from school, with Shuping's sloppy line effectively getting across his sense of simultaneously isolating himself and feeling abandoned, and Sudarsky's sparse, expressive line taking the piss out of his experience as an intern at Fantagraphics. Ben Wright-Herman's comic about Persephone going back to Hades was so well-written that I wanted to read the next episode, though the actual drawings felt a little overprocessed. On the other hand, Kotaline Jones' "Ephemera" has some of the sharpest and most confident cartooning in the whole book, with a well-developed and witty voice.

I thought Joe Davidson's summer diary was also interesting for different reasons; his line is chunkier and more cartoony, and he actively used hilariously strange avatars in his self-caricature. The last two comics couldn't be more different. Kelly Swann's photo album uses a highly skilled naturalistic approach to show how hard the cartoonist worked over summers in his life on activities that he enjoyed, until we reach the final panel and punchline as he sits in an office. It's a neat and perfectly organized strip with a clear and coherent gag. On the other hand, there's Cooper Whittlesey's scrawled-out "A Bit Of Tomfoolery". It's about calling a telephone number from a lurid bit of graffiti at a rest stop and a prank getting totally out of control. It's a hilarious mess of a story, with Whittlesey's art being so smudged and sloppy that it almost resembles graffiti itself.

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