Monday, December 28, 2020

31 Days Of CCS, #28: Rainer Kannenstine

Rainer Kannenstine is an artist experimenting with different kinds of fantasy and sci-fi storytelling. His latest comic, Bog Beast, is a silly, all-ages adventure about an obsessed captain and his easygoing prey. Spoofing Moby Dick is always a good place to start from, and Kannenstine commits to total ridiculousness in this comic. The comic opens in a swamp, where the captain's crewmen Joe and and Jeff argue about the existence of the Bog Beast. The tone is set with their over-the-top character design; Joe has a nose like a toucan and Jeff resembles a leprauchan with a jaunty derby. Jeff then opines that the Bog Beast exists and it must be the missing link between cow and lobster. Kannenstine isn't so much crafting gags with punchlines but rather making every panel laughable and silly. 

There's lots of slapstick involving Jeff and Joe, including managing to end up in specially-designed bag traps. The Bog Beast turns out to be friendly and laid-back. The Captain's reason for her hatred of the Bog Beast is absurd. There's an extended flashback sequence to kindergarten done in crayon, as though it was in a kid's hand. The story's flow is effortlessly smooth as Kannenstine goes from silly situation to silly situation. That smoothness is earned through his visual approach. Kannenstine keeps his figures simple and stylized, but their construction is rock-solid and the way they interact in space is natural. However, it's Kannenstine's use of color that does much of the work in keeping things moving. His choices are deliberately non-naturalistic; instead, color is used to add weight to pages, fill up negative space, accent character design, and add to the light-hearted nature of the story. There's not a wasted line or any over-drawing in this comic, and that allows Kannenstine to accomplish his goal of writing and drawing wonderful nonsense. 

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