Frank Santoro, writer/artist
PictureBox Inc., 2006
I have no idea if this is an active reference point for him at all, but I can’t read Frank Santoro comics without thinking of the swirly, sensual, romantic rapture of a good shoegaze song. Both are (generally) more concerned with mood than with any kind of narrative–knowing, perhaps, that emotions can be stories in and of themselves. This particular comic reads a little like a dress rehearsal for the more rhapsodic moments of Santoro and Ben Jones’s teenage-riot series-cum-OGN Cold Heat. Joining his usual minimal line to an equally minimal layout (one or two panels per page), complemented by unbroken fields of blue, orange, and white color, Santoro “tells” the “story” of an emotionally epic romance in the language of metaphor–wild horses, mysterious combat, vampiric antagonists, deserts and mountains, blazing suns, parents that just don’t understand, desperate embraces, taking off a shirt, hands on bodies. Each of these sort of dissolves into the next in a fashion that enables you to make it all the way through the comic in under a minute, or flip back and forth and re-re-re-read like putting “Vapor Trail” on repeat. It’s slight, and not for everyone, but lovely for me. I want to connect with the emotions he’s conveying even though feeling them has become a distant memory for me.