Sam Ombiri reviews a comic by Sienna Cittadino, and Sally goes on an adventure with Tarantula – in addition, we are pleased to announce the Comics Workbook-hosted workshops at SPX 2017!
Sam Ombiri here: I am thrilled today to tell you about a minicomic by Sienna Cittadino called Jeremy Meets the Forest Cow. [Editor’s note: Sienna is from Pittsburgh, PA, and made this comic for the 2016 Comics Workbook Composition Competition.] It’s a stupendous, charming, hilarious, and tragic minicomic. I’ve really only seen some of her one-off gags and one of her picture books. Those were great, but when reading this comic I was surprised at how amazing Senna is at weaving a narrative.
When I first read it, the design of the cover made me think the “Based on a true story” was a facetious comment, or a gag, but the back makes me think otherwise when it says “A comic for Jeremy and all the girls.” This is relevant because Jeremy Meets the Forest Cow comes from a very real place. Writing “For Jeremy and the girls” on the back makes the looming tragedy, from which we, the readers, are somewhat distant from, all the more menacing. I also get a better idea of who the Forest Cow is, and this expands how I feel for the Forest Cow.
For me, the comic’s strength comes from it alluding to only bits and pieces of the tragedy that Jeremy is running away from. These bits and pieces Sienna reveals to us, the readers, in a really lyrical and comical manner.
When I first met Sienna (who is a teen librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh), she highly recommended that I read Flannery O’Connor’s work, since I never had before. I don’t want to make such a thoughtless comparison, so I won’t make it any further, other than by saying how they both communicate tragedy with whimsical elements of humor and sorrow. I also couldn’t help but think of some of Leif Goldberg’s comics and drawings when reading Jeremy Meets the Forest Cow.
The last panel, in which the Forest Cow is crying, really got to me. The only animal that has inflicted more emotion on me is Balthazar. I don’t know if the Forest Cow is crying because the Forest Cow won’t see Jeremy again, or if the Forest Cow feels really bad for Jeremy. So then not knowing which makes me even sadder, and this is what’s so great about the comic.
I hope to see more from Sienna – of course I did before, but now my enthusiasm for her work has really grown. – Sam Ombiri
Sally here: I was excited to find copies of Alexis Ziritt‘s and Fabian Rangel Jr.’s Tarantula at Copacetic Comics the other day. Published by AdHouse earlier this year, it is a nice little hardcover that explodes in your face the moment you open it. It’s pulp, and noir, and supernatural action/adventure as any description would tell you. There is a team of crime-fighters (led by Tarantula herself) on a mission to stop a satanic cult that has taken control of the government. There is gunplay and fistfights and house-scaling.
There is plenty going on in it’s brief 96 pages, and while the script is bouncy and full of Spanish slang, it is Alexis Ziritt’s artwork that caroms the comic into happy chaos.
I wouldn’t write off the artwork by merely calling it trippy, or psychedelic. Alexis Zirrit is very intentional with his coloring, and despite the ferocious pace of each page, the action is clear. Characters are relatively easy to recognize from spread to spread, and considering that there are bird-people and lizard-like beings, characters with geometric heads, and masks galore, this is pretty important.
That being said, the shear density of the artwork does make each spread something of a bonus adventure to navigate, and while you will be compelled to crash headlong through the story, when you’re done the first time be sure to go back to the beginning and take another few moments to just look at the pages. Here’s one more to tantalize you.
Now go and find your own copy of Tarantula and experience the rest for yourself!
Alexis Ziritt will be at the Small Press Expo 2017 and will be doing a workshop with Comics Workbook (check it out HERE).
In fact the entire schedule of Comics Workbook-hosted workshops at SPX 2017 has been announced and it is exciting stuff. Gilbert Hernandez! Sacha Mardou! Connor Willumsen! Audra Stang!
Sign up for a workshop HERE and join us at SPX Sept. 16th/17th 2017.
Frank Santoro made a comic book about his parents and now he needs help making a handbound copy of the book for each of them. It’s a good story. Check out the Indiegogo campaign HERE – or if you want to contribute via PayPal, look at the campaign HERE.
Suzy and Cecil – 8-31-2017 – by Sally Ingraham
Joanie and Jordie – 8-31-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio