D+Q Showcase 2 Reviewed in Booklist!

“Drawn & Quarterly Showcase: Book Two” / Booklist / Gordon Flagg / September 1, 2004

The second volume of alternative-comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly's Showcase series, which features a few up-and-coming talents at a time, demonstrates an international perspective. Finland's Pentti Otsamo depicts a young boy's attempts to make friends after a move to a new town, juxtaposing his failing efforts with the struggles to reach out of an equally alienated adult neighbor. Dutch artist Erik De Graaf offers an autobiographical tale of a visit to his grandparents' rural home, where he learned the fine distinction between pets and food. Chicagoan Jeffrey Brown progresses beyond his usual self-lacerating, navel-gazing relationship stories with a skewed murder mystery drawn in the same disarmingly offhand style that distinguishes Clumsy (2002) and Unlikely [BKL O 1 03]. Otsamo's and De Graaf's illustrations are slicker than Brown's but equally simple, and all three artists' unadorned styles, enhanced by the effective use of duotones, mask subtle storytelling. Their skill with sensitive subject matter and the universality of their concerns should make many eager for more of their work. 

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