Saturday, December 17, 2022

31 Days Of CCS, #17: Aaron Cockle & Bryan Stone

Bugs, by Bryan Stone. Stone is one of the members of CCS's first graduating class, but it's been a while since I've seen his work. This funny mini full of vignettes about bugs is full of sharp storytelling, crisp drawing, and lively cartooning. These are bugs with rich fantasy lives, engaging in awkward cringe humor, and philosophically complex outlooks on lives. They are also bugs who act like bugs, as when a cricket finds himself jumping without much control over their actions. Stone's character design is killer, retaining the anatomy of insects while adding anthropomorphic expressiveness to their eyes and sometimes their movements. His use of hatching and cross-hatching is impeccable, adding depth and weight to the pages in a way that's frequently simply beautiful. Some strips offer more extreme close-ups of the bugs, and Stone shifts to a thick line weight and a simplified design, like in one strip where a bug is teaching their "pet" to fetch, with amusing results. A plot about aliens arriving and a reveal that they wiped out humanity and gave the bugs consciousness is clever but also kept light and irreverent. 

Andalusian Dog, October 2022, by Aaron Cockle. Cockle's back at it with this exploration of a meta-game  in an issue subtitled "The Opposite Of Empathy Is Empathy." The narrative, with a different numbered heading at the top of each page, is about various kinds of tests, including machines testing other machines for empathy and antipathy. It goes into detail about growing up on a moon colony, with images on graph lines, and jagged photos of the moon. There are drug-induced mass emotion experiments during space travel, life back on Earth that includes an appearance on the Dennis Miller Show with Carrot Top, and a film adaptation of an obscure Jack Kirby comic. The intersection between work and art and the concept of work as an immersive, all-encompassing thing that obliterates personal space is a running theme in Cockle's comics, whose visuals continue to become increasingly abstract and sketchy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment