Drawn and Quarterly Showcase: Book Two

Jeffrey Brown, Author, Pentti Otsamo, Author, Jeffrey &. Otsamo Broan, Author . Drawn & Quarterly $14.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-896597-81-2

The second volume in Drawn & Quarterly's ongoing young cartoonists' showcase features three stories from three very different artists. All share an interest in the mysteries possible in even the most mundane of life's events. Finnish cartoonist Pentti Otsamo has the longest entry, a ponderous tale of a newly transplanted adolescent boy in a middle-class Dutch suburb. Two pets are lost and an odd reunion occurs, but the story eventually just peters out, its cool veneer and competent, streamlined cartooning unable to hold a heavier symbolic burden. The second entry, by American cartoonist Jeffrey Brown, is a switch from Brown's usual autobiographical tales, as what begins as a "true" story quickly veers into fantasy, with a disquieting, David Lynch–like mystery at its center. Brown is trying something ambitious here, weaving his workaday life into a fantasy, but ultimately comes up short, unable to make all the story threads come together to create a larger narrative meaning. Erik De Graaf, of the Netherlands, contributes the book's shortest and best story, an oddly affecting tale of a child's stay on his grandparents' farm. Like the other two stories, this one has a slight mystery and the death of an innocent, but De Graaf's nocturnal artwork and sharp writing carry the day. While flawed, this showcase delivers strong ideas and solid talent. (July 7)

Reviewed on: 07/05/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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