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Shuteye #3: Night and Day
posted January 18, 2007
Short Pants Press, mini-comic, 52 pages, 2006.
The third issue of Shuteye
features a killer concept wrapped in an effective series idea of one story becoming the next story's dream. Ari and Theo are a couple of the opposites-attract type, or more to the point, the "we're-from-opposite-worlds" type. The comic shows them out on a long, multi-day hike where they stumble across a building that traps them into a cycle of waking and sleeping. This intrigues because of how it twists the closeness of a couple's relationship in a way that retains the trust and bond between the pair but also keeps them apart. There’s something safe and loving about sleeping in the presence of something, but it's not the same as sleeping with them. It also works at the edges of the relationship, the selfish desires to keep and to hold and to hide.
Becan's story is judiciously paced, and moves forward in a satisfying manner that indicates she either trusts her material or knows that on some level she has no choice but to trust it and see what unfolds. The cartoonist's spare figure drawing and dropped backgrounds are a detriment here, I think; she lacks the elegance that other minimalist cartoonists have. This means that the physicality of the situation has to be suggested rather than felt, which puts the art to work in a different fashion than the other elements, and not to the comic's advantage.