Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Capacity by Theo Ellsworth

This handsome volume from Secret Acres houses the first seven issues of Theo Ellsworth’s brain-liquifyingly-detailed Capacity, as well as a few new things, including an amazing introduction written and drawn by the author. I enjoyed the few issues of the mini I picked up in the past, but the book treatment serves Ellsworth’s work well and it is interesting to see his artistic development while reading his take on it.

Ellsworth’s work calls out to me on a visual level. It is surreal without abandoning the depiction of direct, simple ideas like the difficulty of portraying emotions outwardly, the joys and perils of relating to others and finding the strength to continue doing what you love. His figures appeal to me on a visceral level; monsters, clowns, queens and in-betweens rivet my eyes to the page. I especially love the monsters, with their big eyes and dumb, happy demeanor—the kind of monsters you’d want to go on an adventure with. Everything object has its own pattern and the book is full of leaves, tress, eyes and misplaced mechanical elements, all of which are elements that I love to look at.

His work always warrants a few reads to take in all the intricacies of his black-n-white scapes. Unlike many comics, I actually enjoy going back to Capacity over and over.

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