My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"A collection of short comics by an array of people who look awfully hip; I was drawn in by the pretty colors." I wrote that before I started this book and I assure you it still holds true, but I can add a few things:
I read my first graphic novel in early 2009 and I have been hooked ever since, but I am still not sold on the idea of super short graphic stories. Sure, these mysterious little things called "comic books" have done well for themselves, but still, anything shorter than sixteen pages makes me squirm a little.
I generally like my non-fiction short and to the point, while fiction I prefer plump and fleshed out. The old problem of creating a whole world within a short space is terribly amplified when an author has only a few hundred words and some pictures to tell his story. In fact, I have noticed that many short comics have trouble just with telling a complete story -- set aside things like character and world development.
I have read a few fantastic short comics -- including one that will always stick, by Will Eisner -- and I have read a lot of junk. This collection continues the trend, with around five enjoyable, memorable stories from the total twenty-five. The rest, well, some make you wonder what just happened to the time; still others lead you to weakly say, "Good effort..."
Some of these stories have "hipster" written on every page, while others feel oddly mainstream. No doubt these authors are (or were, in 2004) the up-and-coming stars of "underground comics" (that are not especially underground), mixed in with some chaff for good measure. But I feel I must applaud all these authors, for being the movers and shakers, for keeping things moving, if only slightly.
I love the variety of art styles in this book -- yes, some styles more than others, but variety is spice enough for me. And I enjoyed the number of attempts at wordless- or near-wordless stories, a sub-sub-genre that is even less developed and untapped.
I suppose I very easily could have given this two stars, but something about its spunk and vigour made me bump it up to a solid three. If you want something different, something that at least isn't boring -- read this.
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