OJINGOGO, POHADKY and BIG QUESTIONS 11 reviewed by Newsarama

“Best Shots: Captain Britain, Secret Six, Punisher & More” / Newsarama / Troy Brownfield / December 15, 2008

Ojingogo (Drawn & Quarterly; by Mike): Matthew Forsythe’s dream-like tale of a young girl, her squid and a menagerie of strange creatures, simultaneously cute and terrifying, is a totally unique and engaging book. Drawing on Eastern myths (Forsythe apparently spent time living Seoul), Ojingogo is nearly silent and full of imaginative leaps of logic that keep the reader engaged. Forsythe’s gorgeous pen and ink artwork captures the nuances of his characters’ curiosity, fear, determination and creativity. The designs of the creatures and landscapes are tremendous. It’s just a really beautiful, well-paced, fun comic. You can even read some of it here.

Pohádky (Drawn & Quarterly; by Mike): One hundred twenty pages of beautiful, full-color illustrations from Marek Čolek and Pat Shewchuk, Pohádky combines Shewchuck’s graphic designs with Čolek’s fantasy illustrations. Mixing anthropomorphic animals, gypsy humans and the natural world into a swirling blend of fairy-tale reality, the artwork is simply wonderful. There’s no story; this is a pure artbook, done in D&Q’s small Petits Livres style, which might be my only complaint. The detailed full paintings deserve a more overwhelming size, dimensions that would allow readers to get lost in the complex, interwoven fantasy of Shewchuk and Čolek’s worlds.

Big Questions 11: Sweetness and Light (Drawn & Quarterly; by Mike): I wish I kept up with Anders Nilsen’s spare and subtle series. Nilsen’s such a strong cartoonist, with excellent panel-to-panel storytelling and strong illustrations. The blend of characters – humans, dogs and birds – surviving in a damaged and dangerous world all come across as distinct beings, particularly the animals whose natural behavior isn’t compromised by their occasional forays into human speech. The overall story is slow unfolding, but Nilsen’s great artwork makes every panel of the journey enjoyable.

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