Sam Ombiri on Aidan Koch’s The Blond Woman, plus new work from Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez!
Sam Ombiri here: When I open a comic, and look at the page as a whole, I’m immediately confronted with multiple moments all at once. Maybe it is as a result of this that comics are really good for experiencing and then re-experiencing moments. The images in The Blonde Woman by Aidan Koch are so beautiful that when I go to another panel, I get this overwhelming need to go back to the panel I was reading prior. I get the feeling that I’ve not spent enough time with the panel I was looking at beforehand.
In part 1 of The Blond Woman there are contradictions in the flow of time. Aidan uses this to convey a recurring force, for lack of a better term, that is present in the main character’s life. She wakes up, feels the need to brush her hair and is seemingly surprised, or to a certain extent seemingly troubled that it is still night. It seems that in her dreams she’s trying to get somewhere, and when she wakes up it’s the same story.
The moon isn’t a trustworthy indicator of time – although at first it is the moon that told us and the Blonde Woman that it is night. Later on however, the moon turns crescent and red. We are only able to arrive in this state of experiencing time in this manner because Aidan has established that this isn’t one night, but a number of nights, and since all the nights can now be accessed, a red crescent moon can appear. A very menacing red, and the crescent shape edges seek to pierce.
Through images and sequencing of the images the feelings of the main character, as a result, are very viscerally felt. The candles, at least in Part 1, are a more reliable signifier for immediate passage in time as opposed to multiple nights being conveyed simultaneously. I’m left wondering “Will dawn come for the character?” at the end of Part 1.
In the last chapter of the book – Part 4 – there’s what seems to be, for me, a real surprise about the main character, and it turned the whole book on its head. In between that uncertainty of how to react, or what to think, I find that it really makes me relate to the character. It certainly makes what I at first saw as her friends’ unwarranted frustration make more sense.
Aidan is able to communicate so much with so little. As readers we can circle this emotional space, and we see familiar structures and there’s so much information to derive from them. It’s not just information, because despite the efficiency of the images there’s too much beauty and sincerity coming from the images to refer to what’s in the images as “information”. That portrays the images in the book too coldly.
Throughout the whole book, even in the end where there’s a melancholic tone, there’s a real warmth. There’s a real undeniable warmth to the pleasant moments and unpleasant alike. – Sam Ombiri
Get a copy of The Blond Woman HERE.
Sally here – The Comics Beat has a preview of Tini Howard’s and Gilbert Hernandez’s new series, Assassinistas, which came out yesterday. You can catch Black Crown editor Shelly Bond talking to Gerard Way about the series as well in a couple of videos. See for yourself how “Howard is writing it her way” but in his can’t be beat style “Hernandez knows his way around dangerous women talking about waffles, hair dye and weapons.”
The Winter Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts January 16th 2018! 8 weeks – 500 bux – coaching for as long as you need. The course is hard, but Frank will push your comics making practice to a new level, getting you to think about timing and color in new ways. His experience and ideas have influenced the likes of Connor Willumsen, Michael DeForge, and Simon Hanselmann (quote “I consider Frank Santoro to be my L. Ron Hubbard”) among many others. Dig into something new in the new year!
Joanie and Jordie – 12-21-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio