Nobrow 9: It’s Oh So Quiet

Alex Spiro, Editor, Sam Arthur, Editor
Edited by Alex Spiro and Sam Arthur. Nobrow (Consortium, dist.), $19.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-907704-63-5
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This distinctive and gorgeously produced comics anthology plants the flag for the current crop of art-heavy British cartoonists. This edition is focused on the elusive quality of silence. Artists and illustrators are assigned the task of using a limited four-color palette to create either pure illustrations or wordless comics that are variations on the issue’s central theme. The artwork is utterly stunning throughout, and the artists demonstrate inventiveness in everything from the simplest panel arrangements to the most complex sequences. Standouts include the dark humor of “Are You There Satan? It’s Me, Cindy” by Hellen Jo and the crazy trip of Disa Wallander’s “A Sneeze Within a Sneeze.” Rather than limiting the artists’ creativity, Nobrow’s proscribed color mandate has the opposite effect, freeing them to explore the theme to its furthest possible extent (and sometimes miles beyond). It also ties the art in the book to older printing traditions where the use of spot colors was a technological necessity and not a choice. The result is a wonderful achievement as a collection of both art and visual storytelling. (May)
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