It Never Happened Again

Sam Alden. Uncivilized (Consortium, dist.), $12 (164p) ISBN 978-0-9889014-6-9
Virtually unknown outside select indie comics circles, Alden nevertheless displays a sort of confidence that is rare among young cartoonists. The first of two short stories collected here, “Hawaii 1997,” reveals his deftness for saying a lot with a little. Told through largely wordless panels in a rough, scribbled style that could pass for penciled thumbnails, the story of fleeting young love showcases the artist’s keen ability to utterly break your heart in a single, well-timed word balloon. The storytelling in “Anime” is a fair bit more complex, and the artwork is more refined, though only slightly. The character study of a Japanophile uncomfortable in her own skin and native country relies more heavily on dialogue to draw a full and sympathetic portrait of its protagonist, but Alden still knows when to let the silence take over. The result is two thematically divergent, but devastatingly human portraits from an emerging cartoonist displaying the sort of storytelling and artistic restraint that often only comes after years of toiling away at the drawing board. Alden is a talent to watch. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 07/01/2014
Genre: Comics
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