Digital Strips reviews The Contradictions

“So, what’s a ‘zine, anyway (and what does it have to do with Webcomics)?” / Digital Strips / May 15, 2019

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Bringing the subject back around, Yanow’s Eisner-nominated strip The Contradictions bears a lot of resemblance to the types of storytelling and art often found in zines both historically and today — for as the e-reader didn’t eliminate the book from history neither has the internet erased zines and zine culture.

Yanow’s simple black-and-white art style with clean fill and simple affect perfectly homages the technical limitations faced by zinesters at a photocopier, where shading, colour/greyscale and fine detail rarely survive the reproduction cycle. The artwork also screams classic counter-culture, as does the strong social left and anarchistic themes explored by the narrative. Even her word balloons eschew the traditional circle-style speech bubble for a closely-cropped square: each visual element of the comic tells you in no uncertain terms what kind of experience you’re in for.

The presentation of The Contradictions as a webcomic bucks convention, too — Yanow’s decision to put the comic up as an infinite scroll beginning from the first ‘page’ each time you visit the site (therefore requiring the reader to scroll past the entirety of the comic to access the latest update) would normally be considered anathema in webcomic-reading circles.

It’s not difficult to see, then, why Yanow’s webcomic is present in the Eisner nomination list for 2019 — not only does it present an excellent example of it’s genre, this e-zine also respects and celebrates the proud tradition of creativity which ultimately led to the webcomics we all read and love today. A worthy addition to the Eisner’s lineup.

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