What Did I Learn?
Today’s review is on Pokeweed, by Drew Pocza. It’s black and white with intresting but structurally simple lines. There isn’t a lot of texture to the backgrounds but there isn’t a lot needed, so that works for me. The artist prefers a less-is-more approach that pus the focus on the characters.
I really like black and white comics and I wasn’t sure what to think when I saw the first colored strip. Of course, there was only one and then a couple more later on. So I couldn’t get a real squinty look at a few examples. As it turns out, I think the color enhances the expressions on the characters – or perhaps clarifies them. I do happen to like the color combinations in the panels where the characters are brightly colored and the backgrounds are more muted. Your preference may vary.
Now, the comic often centers on some kind of base humor. It’s a little unusual in that the jokes are part of short storylines and it really makes them far more amusing when read together. One of the characters, Buster the crotchety snowman, is in a couple of strips where he’s melted or his arms are pulled out. If you stumbled into the comic in the middle of that run, you might not pick up that Buster is a snowman.
Know what that is? That’s a visual gag. I loves me some visual gags. For that reason, I enjoyed the velociraptors and hiding from Adam Lambert fans and the battering ham and the cheesy quesadilla… and much more. These are where the less is more thing really drives the visual gag.
I also happen to like puns and word play, which you’ll see some of if you read through the archives of Pokeweed. That goes hand in hand with the characters and their story purposes, which are constructed in such a way that they all have other facets than their main gigs. The dialog is pithy and pretty succinct, too. Just enough to carry the gag and still give you a little character.
What Did I Learn?
Sometimes I like lots of little fiddly detail to look at in a comic. Other times I just want to follow the main storyline or gags and not be distracted. Sometimes I’m more focused on the characters in a comic or the actual setting itself, and I want to know more. Sometimes its silent comics or painted comics or … well, there are too many things I want for them to all be in one comic. And so I enjoy lots of different comics for different reasons.
And as I try to visualize this, the image that comes to mind is a concept graph, something like an inkblot splashed on a line graph. Pokeweed might be heavily blobbed on the side of the graph where the art is simple without being plain, spilling over into the part where the topics are common without being pedestrian and oozing over to where the characters are solid but not simple.
Okay, so it’s a pretty awkward and nebulous visual concept, so I’ll leave you with a beautiful rainbow.