We've finally negotiated an allotment of this new, unique, handcrafted series from Comics Workbook that is put together right here in Pittsburgh. The premiere issue features a hand pulled silkscreened cover printed -- on both sides! -- in red and black, with an added yellow layer on the front cover only, on heavy stock. Inside you'll find four ten-page B & W stories (each with their own "cover" -- or frontice piece, in the case of Frank Santoro): untitled by Frank Santoro; "a resting place" by Harry Moyer; "Homesick" by Gabriella Tito; and "Drongo Culture" by Jack Brougham. Each of these stories takes its own approach to the form, and each is rewarding. The new-to-us talent of Jack Brougham, with his innovative use of the grid and solid chops displayed in "Drongo Culture" was a particular treat. Each issue is hand signed and numbered by Frank Santoro. Limited edition of 100. Don't miss it!
The Suzy & Cecil strip by Gabriella Tito and Sally Ingraham just recently celebrated it's first birthday, so it is now in its second year of appearing daily on Comics Workbook. Here's a look at the first 30 strips, to get an idea of how it started out. It's easy to see the strip improving, even in this brief period. That this improvement continued is evidenced by the 44 strips in this collection. All the strips in the collection are full color, and color is a big part of the appeal. A multitude of approaches to what can be accomplished in a daily strip are tried – all within the formal constraint of a square grid of four square panels – and it is clear that experimentation is a key component of this series. And experimentation, after all, is a form of play, and playing is what Suzy & Cecil do best.
Reading this strip on a daily basis on Comics Workbook, and then grouped together here in this collection, is a constant reminder that play is a crucial part of being. We all live our lives within the formal constraints placed upon us by our family, work, relationships, finances, etc., – in a word, society – and beyond that by the limits placed on us by nature and biology. The actual, physical play we engaged in as children becomes ever more channeled and rule bound as we age, as our constraints change from those placed upon us by our parents and schools to those placed upon us by the need to survive. One of the keys to happiness is acknowledging these constraints and then working within them. That might even serve as a working definition of fun. In these Suzy & Cecil strips we see, within the diegesis, on the the level of content, the characters playing; having fun – with each other, by themselves, with others, going on adventures, experiencing nature, and more. And, on the formal level, we see the artists playing, within the constraints of the grid; experimenting – with character portrayals, drawing techniques, color palettes, pacing, and more. In this way the recollected play of childhood innocence merges with the adult play based on experience and the development of skills.