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 mImagey 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.






About Adrielle Mitchell

Adrielle Mitchell is a Professor of English at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY. She is a comics scholar whose work is informed by visual and media studies, cultural theory and formalist criticism.

3 responses »

  1. Damon says:

    Hi Adrielle, I really like your post. As comics scholars we shouldn’t forget sometimes to just lose ourselves in the sheer pleasure of comics. I hadn’t seen the Luke Pearson page but it is wonderful. It also makes me wonder how it was made, is it 4 versions of the same digital illustration? Recently Geneviève Castrée’s work has made me just stop in my tracks, in the past Jaime Hernandez and Jason have done the same.

  2. Hello Damon. Thanks for your comment, and cheers to your support for “losing oneself” in the pleasure of comics occasionally. I don’t know much about Pearson’s process, but I do know he maintains a frequently updated blog, so perhaps you can sleuth this out. On my part, I was happy to hear about Castree (new to me). A cursory web search suggests that I’m going to enjoy her work. I second your Hernandez shout-out, though Jason’s spareness has yet to engage me. When you stop in your tracks, what happens next? Do you let it stay there at the level of unfocused appreciation, or do you find yourself trying to suss out why what works, works so well?

  3. I heartily agree with Damon. Sometimes I get caught up in the process of linguistic analysis and lose sight of the joy of reading comics. Thanks for a good reminder, Adrielle.

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