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posted February 28, 2008
Anatee Power Media, mini-comic, 44 pages, February 2008, $3
This is a rough and I'm guessing early work by a cartoonist named Jason Viola, who apparently hales from Massachusetts. A rabbit crushed by 9 to 5 work finds that his shadow, if manipulated, can be turned into art. Eventually people tire of the art, at which point the artist is forced to find another avenue by which to create. Although Viola's drawing looks like it will become more refined at some future date, I already like the expressiveness of Viola's figure drawing, and the fact that his figures have some weight to them -- everything seems settled in. He also varies his point of view just enough to help drive visual interest, which is key in a panel-per-page story. The central idea that an artist may depend too much on self early in their career and eventually must grow past that is a fine enough one for a comics story, although you're not going to win any prizes for originality. It's also a bit pat as presented here, and the metaphor of actually manipulating one's shadow kind of forces the work out of the subtle statement suburbs and into a no-margins-for-rise high-rise that demands way too much of Viola in terms of forceful execution. I'd like to see future work by the artist, though, and it's nice to see someone displaying the conceptual drive that results in an entire package instead of random comics pages.