What Had Happened Was…
Domitille Collardey, writer/artist
Weeping Willow, 2009
You could rough this one up pretty bad if you wanted–like Jog says, it’s an alternative comic of the “here’s some stuff that happened” school that people who dislike alternative comics think all alternative comics attend. Collardey’s stories–actually, that’s too strong a word–reminiscences about her move to Brooklyn, her visit to San Francisco, her interview with Francoise Mouly, her conversation with her Holocaust-survivor grandfather, even her very life story aren’t revelatory, or (with one obvious aforementioned exception) even memorable on their own terms. What they are is a showcase for her art, and she’s got some serious chops. I’m really drawn to her wavy line, the way a series of gentle S-curves both cohere into little people and convey the timidity and uncertainty with which Collardey apparently approaches the world. Against that backdrop her depiction of Mouly really pops: Bigger eyes rimmed with make-up, darker hair, taller body, confidence and competence standing out amid Collardey’s gee-shucks artistic personality. Equally impressive are color sequences that employ brown and gray watercolors to convey warmth rather than desolation or “realism,” most notably in a self-portait that strikes me as both clear-eyed and flattering–which is then surrounded by a colorful panoply of cartoon heads. The paper stock really holds Collardey’s brushwork and colors well, by the way. As a sampler of an artist with a lot of potential, it’s worth a glimpse. Let’s see where she goes from here.