Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You Ain't No Dancer, vols. 1 & 2, edited by Ed Brisson

I first heard of these anthologies during an Inkstuds binge late one work night. The editor of New Reliable Press was talking about how publishing comics makes you broke and he sounded all depressed, but something about the conversation made me want to check out the books. So I did, and after seeing the contributors list, I ordered the two volumes available. When a tiny packet arrived from Canada a few weeks later, I was a bit surprised. Both have the dimensions of a postcard book.

Volume one has a cover illustration by Dave Cooper, Canadian super-cartoonist, featuring his pale, fleshy women/monsters. The volume features a wide range of styles in black and white. My favorite three stories were “The Curse of Kauai” by Dorothy Gambrel, a funny (and surprisingly affecting) meditation on your 20s for straight women (and selling out for everyone else) done in a more detailed cat and girl style, “Did You Know?” by Dean Trippe, a story about the wreckage a parent wreaks when they abandon a child and the missing parts that child will grow up to notice and “Flood” by Lili Carre, a simple and beautiful take on a relationship affected by Alzheimer’s, where what is merely a rainy night to a lame son is a flood to his sick mother. In fact, this volume had a flood theme—three comics in the collection are about floods, including two very sad and eerie ones by Hope Larson and Drew Weing.

Volume two is themed “youth” which made me shudder a little. I expected many comics about nerdy boys being victimized by peers and society. Luckily my arrogant assumptions didn’t stop me from digging into the collection. The colorful cover by Jeffery Brown looks painted, which was new to me, and I love it. His story, “Chimney Preference” gave me a laugh—it was so sweet and silly. “Indian princesses” by Colleen Mac Issac captures that moment where you and your childhood best friend are suddenly not on the same planet, “Of Course, Of Course, Of Course,” is a story about a nerd boy but K. Thor Jensen’s art is so perfect for the story of a kid trying to develop superpowers, that I forgive him the cliché. “Litter,” by Grant Reynolds is the only story to really show the dark side of the theme, and his does it beautifully and devastatingly and completely word-free.

I hear that volume three will be out in September and I will be sure to pick it up.

Also heard through the internets—love object Kate Beaton was asked to appear in an unspecified issue of YAND, sadly it was a surprise.

No comments: