If you’re wondering if you have difficulties connecting to things emotionally, read this comic. If that ending doesn’t effect you in some way then I have some bad news for you. This is the story of Cassie, a young art student whose senior project involves an “organized bio-painting/ritualized movement piece.” It starts off with her standing in a small dish of water, naked except for flowers over her breasts and a pair of underwear. She also requests complete meditative silence for the piece, which is almost immediately disrupted when one of the students starts to criticize one of her choices. From there she leaves the bowl of water and walks out of the classroom, leaving the students confused as to what to do next. They finally follow her as she walks through the city and tries to ignore the stares and catcalls she gets from people on the streets. Eventually all of them, even the teacher, give up on her project and leave her on her own… except for one other student who is fascinated by what’s going on. This could have turned into a gimmick fairly easily, or it could have been played for laughs, or it could have even ended up salacious. It ended up being none of those things and instead is one of the better cases for the purity of artistic expression that I’ve ever seen. It looks like Yumi has a few other books available, and after reading this I am very curious to see what else she’s done. Artists of the world and anybody who has ever been ridiculed for sticking to their guns, this is required reading. $5
Is it too late for me to move to Seattle? Because the idea of a local community group like Short Run that “celebrates and strengthens” the local small press community sounds really fantastic to me. Oh right, you’re here to read about a comic, not join me on my mid-life crisis. This one is an anthology featuring six local artists, or at least I’m assuming they’re local because they’re all in this Seattle anthology. I also wish that the stories had titles, mostly for one story in particular, but I’ll leave you guessing as to which one I’m talking about. Stories in here include a piece by Drew Miller about a lonely survivor who is surrounded by people who won’t come out of their shells (literally), Yumi Sakugawa’s take on the dream of smashing all electronics and riding off into the sunset, Jaime Coe’s frankly adorable tale of Hercules playing with a puppy Cerberus, and Scott Longo’s piece on one particular part of the disappearing water supply. I also enjoyed Suzette Smith’s piece on the possibly irrational fear of black men as a couple gets off the bus, but one panel is mostly blurred out. If this is a printing error it’s in a very unfortunate place, if it’s intentional then it’s a pretty damned smart place to show why the conversation about getting a gun can fall apart in a conversation with a couple. I also didn’t get the piece by Anna Saimalaa, but I’m guessing that’s more my fault than the fault of the artist. $7 might seem a little steep for this, but come on now, that’s still 6 stories for $7. And they use blue!