Thursday, December 28, 2023

45 Days Of CCS, #28: Juniper Kim

Juniper Kim has shown that they are a serious talent in their time at CCS. Their work here reflects smaller works ideal for zine festivals as they gear up for writing their first true longform comic. Their latest batch of comics includes a dream comic, a collection of sketchbook/diary comics, an illustrated collaboration, and a collection of bizarre humor strips from The Gutter. Individually, none of them are especially exceptional, but taken as a whole, it's an interesting snapshot in time as we see Kim experimenting with different genres, techniques, and ideas. Guisers At The Door! is an illustrated zine they did with writer Grant Cook. The prose is more than a little florid, but Kim's attention to decorative detail is what makes the zine worth looking at. Teeth is a better example of what Kim is capable of. It's a dream comic that makes use of all sorts of interesting materials and techniques. It's printed on a thick, vellum-style paper that allows Kim to use a great deal of erasure and "ghost images" on the page, as the details of a classic teeth-falling-out dream go to some unusual places. It's a fascinating showcase for Kim's mastery of color and pure drawing as well as imaginative cartooning. 

My Room Keeps Talking To Me is a fascinating mixed bag from Kim's sketchbook. Here, Kim struggles with their upbringing, medication, what it means to be an artist, and their place in the world. It's a highlight reel once again for their drawing, their use of color, their willingness to confront difficult thoughts, and so much more. Kim can work in any style, from cartoony to colorful to gritty. There are some interesting narrative threads here that I'd love to see Kim pick up down the road. 

Finally, Kim also has a silly side, as their collection of Funken strips from The Gutter proves. Kim clearly doodles these out fairly quickly, because the line is immediate, warm, and slightly rough. These strips about these strange rabbit-like creatures are an exercise in bending lines and shapes in funny, strange, and frequently horny ways. They give Kim an excuse to draw any weird thing that they want, come up with non sequiturs, and make strips that are either bare-bones or else crammed with decorative detail. Its purpose is not unlike that of a diary strip, only these are much more entertaining and unpredictable. All told, these all feel like warm-up exercises for Kim, keeping their pen moving in between larger projects or their exquisite journal-binding hobby.

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