The Blonde Woman – Aidan Koch

Reviewed by Bill Boichel.

Aidan Koch is currently at the forefront of efforts to bring painterly values to comics.  Continuing a tradition with forebears including Jeffrey Jones, Jon J Muth and Frank Santoro, Ms. Koch creates comics in which the content is to be found as much through the process of representation as in that which is being represented.  The Blonde Woman is a 48 page, full color, graphic novella, originally printed & perfect bound in a numbered edition of 500 with the assistance of one of the last grants from the Xeric Foundation. It is now available through Space Face Books.

The story, as such, is one of doubling, of seeing oneself (or not) in the other, of the projection of subject onto object and the gleaning of awareness that this process offers.  As is often the case in narratives such as this, the artist renders her hard won insights unto the reader of the work, who receives illumination, while the characters portrayed remain in the dark.

That said, the primary benefits on offer here are æsthetic.  Ms. Koch is forging a unique synthesis of the values of classical drawing and painting with those of contemporary cartooning, and The Blonde Woman is the most substantial embodiment of this synthesis she has produced thus far.  Well worth a look for anyone who like to extend their appreciations in either direction.

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