Sublife: Vol. 2

John Pham, Author
John Pham, Author Fantagraphics $8.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-60699-309-5
Reviewed on: 01/11/2010
Release date: 12/01/2009
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The second volume of Pham’s biannual anthology continues some stories from the first and adds several new ones. In the space adventure that begins the book, Pham uses spectacular imagery to convey the experience of a time/space warp, symmetrically drawn designs that are precise, hallucinatory, and fascinating. A brief episode from the “Sycamore St.” story about a household of white supremacists is followed by a short autobiographical strip in which fragmented panels recall episodes from grade school. Pham’s sharp sense of humor makes an appearance in a strip about conflict between bloggers, and the final, long story, which is wordless, expresses a powerful sense of darkness as much through its moody shading as through its violent events. The variety of stories and styles is unified by duotone inking and thin, precise lines, and Pham’s consistently innovative graphic storytelling makes every page of this short volume worth dwelling on. A gem. (Dec.)

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