I probably couldn’t have picked a worse text/circumstance combination for the first entry in my “what I’m reading” comics blogventure project. I’m at the tail end of both conference season* and a cold, am heading into intensive dance-show rehearsal time, and am generally walking around in a state of near constance annoyance as result.
Brian Chippendale’s Puke Force is the kind of project that intends to be a little annoying, so it’s been a rough go. Chippendale’s text is probably most annoying because it asks readers to engage in a non-normative way: the text is split predominantly into one-page stories split into three rows of panel that are to be read left-to-right (top row), right-to-left (middle row), left-to-right (bottom row). What results, after the initial annoyance has worn off, is a bit of a simple game-board feel, sort of like playing candy land. Only most of the final panels are either anti-climactic, cliffhangers, or extremely dark (so I guess it’s a little like playing candy land in hell), which is actually pretty effective; the social critique present in the text, when it’s clear, is actually very compelling (more on this next week, when I’m less annoyed at everything). I’m only about a third of the way through this text, but I haven’t put down or otherwise given up, which is a true testament to its strengths.
*My conference season, that is. There are other academic conferences that are still to come, but I won’t be attending them.