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Notes Over Yonder
posted November 18, 2008


Creator: Scott Morse
Publishing Information: Red Window/AdHouse Books, hardcover, $12.95, November 2008.
Ordering Numbers: 9780977471522 (ISBN13)

This is my favorite of the Scott Morse books to date, which I admit isn't the strongest recommendation because Morse's work -- Southpaw, Magic Pickle, The Barefoot Serpent, primarily -- has never been my cup of tea. By that I mean while I recognize he's a fully-formed talent and can wrap my brain around someone's positive reaction to many of Morse's past works, at the same time I'm seemingly unable to appreciate them on that level myself. Some artists just don't work for some readers. It's like a bad date: you can get into details, but it doesn't speak to the reality of your reaction any more effectively than the apologetic smile and shrugged shoulders you give the next day at lunch to the friend who set you up. All you know is that you had that reaction and you think you were right in having it.

That said, I think in this comics short story from his own press and Chris Pitzer's AdHouse, Morse smartly and effectively plays to his strengths. It's built from single images rather than more complex comics pages, it depends highly on deriving mood from the colors and the blend of those colors on the page, and the story told is both right there on the surface in terms of a clear progression of events but holds within itself a number of ambiguities in terms of tying the two narrative threads together and what exactly they and some of the contributing sub-elements mean. Like most of Morse's book -- and Pitzer's, for that matter -- the presentation and design snaps. It's slight as a stand-alone book and I can't totally get past the feeling that it deals in easy, romantic generalities, but there's a delicacy to Notes Over Yonder and even a kind of messiness that I found appealing.