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posted October 13, 2010

imageCreators: Jason Overby, Jennifer Tong, Jose-Louis Oliveros, Emily Wieja
Publishing Information: I Know Joe Kimpel, mini-comic, 56 pages, 2010, $7
Ordering Numbers: ordering site here

As of this writing at least, Future appears to be the latest in a series of anthologies that the students of the form at I Know Joe Kimpel call "4-Square": four artists contributing stories around a common theme that's then published in a square-bound format. This looks like the fifth one of them. The great thing about buying work from I Know Joe Kimpel is that they dump any monies received into a fund that defrays convention costs for the participants. So if you don't like the comic you're holding, you've already done something that would conceivably help those involved make better ones in the future.

This feels like student work to me: no one's voice is fully developed; the work holds together only if you regard it with the kindest of hearts, editing as you go. None of the cartoonists' efforts seems like a comic from one of those special talents touched by God, the ones that make you sit up in your chair or go and google their name. (Luckily, there are just as many cases of cartoonists making quantum leaps in effectiveness at intervals determined seemingly by random; there could be a future superstar somewhere in this bunch after all.) The best thing about the book, frankly, is the gold-embossed cover, which the above image really doesn't convey. Unlike most of the stories where the connection is either obvious or obtuse, there's a sweet irony is this kind of handmade effort bearing that kind of slogan. It's heartening.