Just an amuse-bouche this week: more image than text, more pleasure-taking than critique.
Can an image take your breath away?
Here are a few that have taken mine:
One silent, lovely double-page spread in Mariko Tamiko and Jillian Tamiko’s Skim: unmoored, unspoken, unassimilated, unpunished. With it, the narrative flow of the work arrests, and stutters…(S)Kim, the protagonist, has disavowed this romance several pages previously (“Technically nothing has happened”), and yet, here it is, surprising us on pp. 40-41 (hardcover edition) with its candor, its loveliness, and its wildness.
Luke Pearson scatters these –again, unremarked, unassimilated – two-headed baby skeletons throughout his spare, sunset-colored meditation on loss and obliviousness, Everything we Miss, but it is the lighting that breaks my heart. Here, most likely, car headlights momentarily illuminate the strange creature, but the unbroken Doppler shift of light shows that the driver saw nothing and passed quickly.
Craig Thompson taught me through Blankets that penwork can be suffused with eros. His lovers are traced with rare compassion, his settings as well. Ground reaches toward figures; figures reach back. Being in love with a person becomes—no surprise—an ocular feast, as elements of the world (snow, tree branches in winter) suddenly emerge as radiant, present, conspiratorial:
Finally, scenes from my beloved Mushi-shi anime, (based on Yuki Urushibara’s equally sensuous black and white manga series). Ginko (sic), the Mushi master, moves through Japanese history as easily as he passes through its landscapes, and each tree, each breath of the wind, each snow-touched mountain calls to us as insistently as it does to Ginko himself. With Mushi-shi, it’s not one image that takes my breath away, it’s most of them. Try this anime on a tablet or phone in bed before going to sleep. Mesmerizing.