Comics Time: Mould Map #1

Mould Map #1
Jason Traeger, Daniel Brereton, Aidan Koch, Massimiliano Bomba, St├ęphane Prigent, Kitty Clark, Matthew Lock, Lando, CF, Jonathan Chandler, Matthew Thurber, Brenna Murphy, Drew Beckmeyer, Colin Henderson, Leon Salder, writers/artists
Hugh Frost, Leon Sadler, editors
Landfill Editions, December 2010
16 large pages
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Ingenious idea, meet ingenious execution. In this gorgeously printed, oversized anthology, a posse of prominent and obscure artcomickers create evocative one-page science-fiction strips/images/whatever — not so much to tell a complete story as to convey a mood, an environment, a series of story possibilities that emerge into the past and future of the events depicted on the page. Aidan Koch’s bold all-caps lettering meshes perfectly with her story of a nude, distraught wanderer of the highways who knows that something terrible is growing inside of him. Lando’s similarly perambulatory protagonist is confronted in the final panel by a reptilian counterpart, the ominous of the sudden meeting conveyed by superimposing a massive image of the creature’s head over the panel itself. CF’s contribution features a warrior in freefall and ends with the phrase “ENTERING ENEMY AIRSPACE” — it stops where the story starts, basically. Jonathan Chandler’s soldiers marvel after one of their fellows — “He really did it. He went out alone after the lights.” — whose journey to a cryptic series of what look like cardboard cutouts of robots or aliens remains unexplained. Many more pages are simply wordless images or wordless series of images featuring vaguely science-fictional figures doing vaguely science-fictional things. The tight space constraints offer the participants a welcome opportunity to step away from the typical worldbuilding concerns of alt/artcomix-genre hybrids and instead focus on world-evoking, a sense of what it would be like to be there, even when you don’t know what or how or why “there” is. The comic is printed in a flourescent orange and blue palette, like Cold Heat‘s pink and blue gone radioactive — a post-apocalypse run by a New York Mets memorabilia cargo cult. It’s a fine package and a delightful combination of form and function.

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