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Flesh And Bone
posted July 28, 2010

imageCreator: Julia Gfrörer
Publishing Information: Sparkplug Comic Books, comic book, 40 pages, 2010, $6
Ordering Numbers:

This is my first encounter with the Portland artist's comics work, although I'd been made aware of her web site through casual mentions here and there on the Internet from various peers. One of Sparkplug Comic Books' individual issues that almost look like historical recreations in this alt-comics light era, Flesh and Bone tells the story of a witch who reunites a man with his deceased love. Gfrorer manages to walk that thin line between piercing right down to the motivational core of her characters and leaving some doubt as to important nuances of behavior that might help us decide what happened and why. I don't know if our ostensible lead feels actual affection for the love-lost man or is just lonely in general; I don't know if the cruelty on display when she's practicing magic is necessary or a conscious choice. I do know that watching the drama play out proves to be moving because you never doubt these characters' seriousness. It does feel like an early comic in front of stronger comics to come. Gfrorer uses a rough drawing style and employs slightly abstract character designs, each in a way that may remind readers of Carol Swain's comics. She also shares with Swain a sense of humor about the resolute melancholy she inflicts on us. It's rare comic book when the demons are both terrifying and a sort of comic relief. This is a rare comic book in more ways than one.