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(ku)š! #4
posted January 12, 2010


Creators: Paul Paetzel, Leo Quievreux, Rokudai Tanaka, Dace Sietina, Olegti, Ingrida Pickukane, Martins Zutis, Yoshi, Lamelos, Reinis Petersons, Ruta Briede, Keisi Kanamachi, Lai Tat Tat Wing, Kaspars Grosevs, Konig LuQ, Lamelos
Publishing Information: Biedriba Grafiskie stasti, Riga
Ordering Numbers: 1691-4686 (ISSN);

There have been five of these fine-looking Latvian anthologies published this year; this is the second most recent. Bursting with color, almost 100 percent in English, and boasting of financial supporters in an indicia that also speaks of a 3000 copy print run, reading š! is sort of like the speed dating version of visiting an SPX or MoCCA Festival. The comics come fast and furious, in a variety of styles that recall a family of boxcar children raised with issues of RAW and Buzzard in their homemade spinner rack. You let one settle into your consciousness and the bell rings and you're onto to the next one. There are worse evenings.

All of the comics here are called "Lost In The City," and recurring themes are lost neighborhoods, physical size issues and, most interestingly, plugging into an urban landscape to slip past fate. That's all secondary, though, to getting a sense of the room, finding an approach that appeals to you and jotting a name down. I liked very much the look of work from a children's books author and AX artist named Keisei Kanamachi and the the look of the art from a collective called Lamelos that reminded me of a Hanna-Barbera version of Marc Bell's cartoons. I'm not certain that anything knocked me down, and to suggest that some of the approaches were perfunctory rather than inspired would qualify you for a stint as the monthly chair of the Obvious Club. But holding this little book in my hand and puzzling through what it had to offer was as nice a comics experience as I've had this week. I wish there were more books like it, more of the amuse-bouche approach.