Satisfactory Comics #7 by Isaac Cates & Mike Wenthe

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Time for another issue of a comic from two of the most inquisitive minds in comics today. You know, these two could “mail it in” in any of a number of ways. They could make crappy comics, saying that they’re focused on the experimental side of things and that quality is bound to suffer. Or they could chuck the difficulties they set in their way when they make these comics, taking some of the structure out of them but possibly having more fun making them. Instead they manage to make great comics out of any circumstance, which somehow manages to amaze me every time. This time around they did this comic mostly in a 30 hour period, on May 17th and 18th of 2007. Strips in here are either one or two pages. Some strips are passed back and forth between Isaac and Mike from panel to panel, usually with no communication on where these strips are headed. One they started with the last panel of a strip, drawing their way to the beginning. One uses monosyllabic words and has the artist draw left-handed (which, oddly, helped with the dreamlike quality of that particular strip). The highlight, for me at least, was two page spread in the center of the book, The Graveyard of Forking Paths. This one can be read any of a number of ways, up and down, side to side, reverse side to side, with different possible endings. They’re nice enough to put a little coded system at the start of the book with the titles, so you can tell who wrote and drew which parts. Oh, and the actual topics of the stories? A lonely spaceman, a string of assorted sentences, a killer tattoo artist, a tricky gardener ghost, an unhappy seaman, problems with the interpretation of evolution, virtual reality, a Maakies tribute, and being able to hear the thoughts of plants. Not everything works perfectly here, but they get all kinds of credit for being willing to take so many risks. Well worth a look, for students of the possibilities of the art form and people who just like a good batch of assorted stories.


Price: $2.50

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