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New Talent Showcase 6


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New Talent Showcase returns! Here are a few things I have picked up on my travels. This week we look at work by Tin Can Forest, Connor Willumsen, and Ed Choy.

First up: Connor Willumsen.

Connor Willumsen has been amassing a small mountain of mini-comics over the last couple of years. I think he is a terrific drawer and someone who is capable of “de-compressing” his sequencing like an animator. Jupiter Leucetius! Send Us a King. We Are So Bored. (the red covered book below) is an excellent example of how Willumsen uses simple formal transitions to propel the narrative forward. A story about a birth and how a “transcriber” nurse discerns if the baby is of “superior talent” (send us a King). Reads very much like automatic writing. This is part one — not totally sure where it is going but I enjoyed it greatly.

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Below – format fever in full effect. Four by Willumsen.

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Connor Willumsen – from Jupiter Leucetius! Send Us a King. We Are So Bored. (below)

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“UNTITLED” by Mum Pittsburg (below) is another great example of how Willumsen uses simple layouts, clear linework and decompressed action to construct a visually compelling short story that reads like a breeze (The linked to web version scroll of course reads differently than the printed zine below). The short story of a sort of science fair demo by a man named Mum Pittsburg, who sits in a chair and uses his “Untitled” (a blob of flesh) to wow the audience with a Moebius-like metaphysical romp. Hard to describe with words, it is essentially an opportunity to show off his drawing chops and deliver it all in a neat little package. Reminds me a little of Chester Brown’s wacky science stuff. Check it out at the link above.

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Connor Willumsen – from “Untitled” by Mum Pittsburg (below)

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more from “Untitled” by Mum Pittsburg (below)

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Ed Choy first came to my attention as the editor of Ghost Stories – a Xeric award winning anthology with a great contributor list. I’ve seen his work here and there on Tumblr but for whatever reason have never come across a comic of his own until the recently released Ed Choy Draws James Joyce. Preview here.

Printed on a Risograph and alternating between a purple and blue monochrome for each spread with a super sweet pink and blue cover, this little comic book is a beaut. Choy uses James Joyce’s “Araby” short story from Dubliners as a structure for his lively and well executed cartooning. I’m not the biggest fan of comic book adaptations of famous prose stories, but I have to admit that Choy does a very good job of handling the material. It’s his figure drawing and “cartoony realism” in counterpoint to the grittiness of early 20th century Dublin that makes it work, I think. Also the style is successful at depicting young love and the not yet adult world of the characters.

My only gripe – as always – is that Choy uses layouts in a way that detracts from the strength of his drawings. Most pages have one large tier or panel that focuses the eye at the near exclusion of the rest of the page, which is too bad since the drawing is very strong across the spread (sometimes this is ok – like when he goes full page for dramatic effect). Choy corrects this “problem” at the end of the book with a nice little two-page spread, a grid that is an excerpt form Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. See below. He also switches up the style for this little two pager and focuses less on fancy brush technique and more on solid drawing and tone. A great little book. Check it out.

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Ed Choy

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Ed Choy

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Ed Choy

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Ed Choy

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Ed Choy

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Tin Can Forest’s Wax Cross is a beautiful full color book published by Koyoma Press. It reads more like a film with a voiceover than a comic book. The images string together well – there is sequencing – and the text flows well but the overall effect is like two trains running on separate tracks. If there is a story I couldn’t figure it out as I was lost by page three. Try as I might as a reader, I couldn’t make the pretty prose poetry-like text and the animation-like drawings work together to create a whole. A gorgeous but ultimately flawed book. Worth a look.

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Tin Can Forest

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Tin Can Forest

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Tin Can Forest

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Tin Can Forest

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PERMANENT TOUR UPDATE

Hey! I am in New York City! I will be hosting workshops and mini comic book conventions in my summer studio in lower Manhattan. Please watch my Tumblr for details. Thanks!


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