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posted July 9, 2008
Theo Ellsworth, Tim Karpinski, Jennifer Parks, Zack Soto, Dylan Williams, David Youngblood
Self-Published, mini-comic, 32 pages, 2007, no price
This was one of several sketchbook minis available at the 2008 Stumptown Comics Festival, and one of the more standard-looking one of its kind at the show. Sketchbook minis, particularly of the pitch-in variety like this studio-centric example, in many way are sterling examples of the impulse towards print: they come into existence as secondary objects based solely on the desire to make something, to have something to place in people's hands. Like many group projects, this one has at least two cartoonists with whom many people are familiar – Dylan Williams and Zack Soto – bringing eyes into the work where they settle on a largely unfamiliar and surprising presence. While Jennifer Parks and David Youngblood provide excellent component work, the belle of this particular ball is Theo Ellsworth. Ellsworth's drawings combine the stiffness of classic children's illustration with a strong sense of single-image design: simple ideas, bold contrasts, strong shapes. They fairly pop off the page, making me want to see some comics immediately. I would buy a mini-comic from this group any time they'd like to put one together even without the Ellsworth material, so having it put his name squarely into my consciousness is an added bonus.