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Stipetic, Kristina – Yasha Lizard #3


Yasha Lizard #3

Kristina made quite an impression on me with her last mini comic (Yasha Lizard #2, I didn’t see #1), so she had a lot to live up to in the next issue.  She pulls that trick off without a hitch, as this issue goes off in a completely different direction and is as excellent as the first issue in a completely different way.  This is still ostensibly the story of Yasha Lizard, but that seems to be a cover to talk about other topics that are on Kristina’s mind, in this case architecture.  An innovative designer is trying to revolutionize the industry and the old guard stands haughtily in his way; something of a recurring theme in civilization.  He builds a series of buildings that are meant to house worker families for the low rent price of $1.  Yasha manages, with a friend and an egg, to convince the landlords that they’re a family, they get the cheap apartment, and quickly find out that they’re in the middle of forces way over their heads and helpless to do anything about it.  This comic looks gorgeous, as she certainly has that end of things down, and I love the idea of making all these issues self-contained but held together by that bare thread of the title character, who usually isn’t even shown until the “real story” gets a proper introduction.  She says in the afterward that she has something “more serious, less polemical” in the works, but only after the next comic of this series, which is going to deal with evolution.  As that subject is still, shockingly, a subject of controversy for some of the dimmer bulbs on the planet (probably the ones who didn’t get the hint when Touchdown Jesus got struck by lightning and destroyed this week), I can’t wait to see her take on it.  Still no price, I’m still guessing $3 until I hear differently.

Stipetic, Kristina – Yasha Lizard #2


Yasha Lizard #2

For the record, I don’t consider myself a critic.  When you see the sample (that I couldn’t help but use) you’ll understand what I mean.  Critics are often assholes who tear down the work of others out of some bizarre desire to puff up their own egos, and I have no interest in that.  I’m more of a semi-professional rambler whose main interest is in highlighting great work, and even when I do talk about a crappy comic I try to offer advice that will bring their next effort more up to speed, or at least closer to what I think they’re capable of.  Granted, I have no idea what that level is more often than not, but the main thing I ask for here is a basic level of competence (correct spelling, in the ballpark of correct grammar, no visible pencil lines in the finished product, etc.).  What does this have to do with this comic?  Not a damned thing, and I thank you for indulging me, as I just thought that should be on the “public record” somewhere.  This is ostensibly the story of Yasha Lizard, a (according to Kristina) “poor lizard with dreams of social mobility”.  Really this issue is mostly about the art world (as depicted in this Victorian-style representation, as populated by a large number of talking animals who walk upright), and about one artist in particular: Kreganthus Pigeon.  Kreganthus has hit it big, as he is apparently the first of this anthropomorphized group of animals who has made full use of his ability to see far more colors than everybody else and has an art show opening up.  He seems like a decent enough guy, if unaware that he’s being used by the art dealers, but runs into trouble when he sees an art thief trying to steal one of his paintings after his show.  Some brutality ensues, but the dealers know how to fix the problem: pick a new artist, jack up the prices of the work of the new guy and ensure that the show goes on.  I’ve seen enough glimpses of the art world to know how dead-on this story is, and the fact that it’s told using a bunch of cute creatures somehow doesn’t dull that impact.  As for her artwork, it’s frankly remarkable.  I read a lot of minis, as this is my mostly unpaid job, and very few of them come close to the level of detail involved in this issue.  Many artists (if not most) cut a few corners here and there, leave their characters talking in a blank white background, skimp on the movement lines, that sort of thing.  I just flipped through this again to confirm my initial impression, and it’s true: just about every panel has detailed, intricate backgrounds.  This reminds me of Gerhard doing the backgrounds for Cerebus back in the day: there was already plenty of detail in the characters, but adding those backgrounds improved the reading experience immensely.  I’m just talking about the look of the book, feel free to be offended by some of the views of the creator.  It’s rare that I see the second issue of a mini comic series and think that it’ll look fantastic in the collected edition, but… this will look fantastic in a collected edition.  Anybody with experience in the art world or in art shows should take a look at this and be amazed at the level of insight, everybody else should read this and be amazed by the artwork.  Don’t let any hatred of “funny animal” stories keep you from this, as it’s really a hell of a comic.  No price, but I’m going to say at least $3 for those backgrounds alone.