Saturday, March 5, 2011

Solipsistic Pop #3

Solipsistic Pop #3
Edited by Tom Humberstone

«Solipsistic Pop» is an anthology of British comics, published twice a year. The theme of this issue is wonder. There are a lot of wonders indeed. Part of the comics is made for younger readers, some for grown-ups, but even those comics who seem to be quite childish in style and art, will please fans of comics of all ages.

The first thing that catches your eye when you start flipping «Solipsistic Pop» is this is a colorful book. There is no black and white works, and among all the colors red predominates. Already a saturation of only red staggers and prepares for a heap of wonders.

«A Joke» by Tom Smith is accompanied by a poetic text. Poems here are as a voice-over to the surreal story: a young man goes to drink at the bar, and there he is met by the animals. The reader knows in advance that the entire story is a joke, but here's a young man about it yet to learn. Darryl Cunningham is represented in the book with three single-page stories, in each of which he exploits the same technique: the main character, which is easier to describe in two words «unknown animal», finds application to intangible objects in the picture, making them tangible. This animal uses the cloud and the so-called bubbles with words and thoughts. Cunningham comics are very simply painted, very funny, but jokes apart they still have genuine feelings of sadness, joy, and loneliness.

«The Torturer's Garden» by Rob Davis is a much more sophisticated. Davis experiments with the framework panels, alternating black humor with cruelty, and in the end uses postmodern trick. Philippa Rice in her «Interdimensional Treehouse Party» uses the most unusual artistic means. Two bored hero, like everything else in this comic, are not just painted, but carved out of paper, thus Rice makes something middle between a traditional animated film and a comic book. On the one hand, it narrows the artistic possibilities (too much static), on the other - the opposite of expanding. At least this reads very funny.

Octavia Raitt in «Molly vs. The Wondertaker» united in her short work two styles: the usual manner with a realistic three-dimensional on the description of the monster, the Wondertaker. In fiction narrative about a bored little girl, the author also put in pseudodocumental story about a monster. Fiction-like part often looks more organic, but the whole story together is a pleasure. Andrew Waugh in his «Teething Problems» uses the minimum number of words, but the picture conveys subtle humor stories. At the heart of comics is the relationship between suffering from excessive love for the master robot and a man. The story is full of gags, it has a very funny ending, but the author conveys to the reader one simple truth: we have a responsibility to those we have tamed, even if it's a robot.

«The Elephant of Surprise» by Faz Choudhury is like an illustrated story by Edgar Allan Poe with the elements of weird. Art of Choudhury is full of dark colors, details. «Sardines» by Becky Barnicout is drawn in indie-style, a style recalling Robert Crumb and co. This is a story of indifference, where in each panel, we look at abomination. Very strong work.

«Magic and the Man» by Kristyna Baczynski is a two-page comic drawn in a mirror manner: on one page we see the magician is at home, on the other - at work. That’s funny story, with impeccable design. «The Haunted Barb House» by Mark Oliver is a great example of how to paint a surreal story. The author not only invented a strange world filled with strange characters, he also added a few stylistic highlights: for example, answers of one of the two comic book heroes do not appear in the cloud, as it is customary, but directly on the face, making the man faceless. «The Egg» by Luke Pearson is another strange story about a boy and a girl. Power of Pearson in the first place is in his art: The picture is very realistic and at the same time it is something dreamy.

I was not very impressed with the plot of «Fruits Delamer» by Warwick Johnson Cadwell, but his artistic style charms. The author seems to admit negligence in the casting and working with color, but it works on the picture: art seems faded, lines are coarsening, and the picture begins to match the story, which is already several hundred years old.

«Solipsistic Pop» is 80 pages of continuous enjoyment. There is enough room for wonders for a year-old child and for one hundred years old.

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