Tuesday, October 8, 2013

the media broke it

I keep meaning to talk about John Dermot Woods' Activities here, and I keep forgetting because I am the worst.

It's also hard for me to really review comics because I don't have much experience creating them, and the fact that I can't draw means I can't really say much about the visuals. I pretty much just enjoy comics on a superficial level unless the writing is really good.

Lucky for me, John's comics all benefit from solid writing and concepts that don't feel like random indie comic wackiness; even when I don't quite understand the point of what he's doing, I'm aware that there is a point. If nothing else, I admire his ability to start with something very basic and tangible and twist it into something surreal without losing the original charm.

Basically, think of each comic as a piece of flash fiction broken up into panels and told primarily through images instead of words and you have this book.

(Sidenote: Baltimore is something of an indie comics hub, and most of them aren't very good - I feel like too many indie comics use post-modernism as a shortcut because whoever's writing them can't come up with good jokes or anything of import to say.)

I'm also a fan of the multiple drawing styles in John's book. which goes from really cartoony to impressive, if simple, realism. I feel like each entry in the book lets the story dictate how it was drawn, and I like that approach. Honestly, I wish more mainstream comics would take that approach.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I really did enjoy Activities. There were times when it felt more like an exhaustively illustrated short story collection than an indie comic book, and I mean that as a compliment.