Stephen Drennan (steviecat) wrote in bypasszine,
Stephen Drennan

Semiotic Cohesion # 2

Colour cover inside and out for SC # 2, this time around appearing in standard comic book format (Eightball/Hate-proportioned). Another multi-contributor effort from this bunch of South Africans, with - for me - Jesse Breytenbach's Bad Trip being the stand-out : I recall enjoying Jesse's piece in the debut number and would like to have seen more than just the two single-pagers on offer here. Bad Trip is very eye-catching, its nine equal-sized panels having strong black backgrounds against which a female stands and relates her on-her-own drug experience. In each frame, she's outlined in white, as though we're seeing inside a costume whose dotted-line ears are a different shape each pic. Jesse's other strip is a variation on that horse-walks-into-a-pub joke, with the quadruped of choice a polar bear (I shan't give away the punchline). Again, nice strong black backgrounds.
There's a good range of approaches to the comic strip form in SC # 2 - Sebastian Brockenhagen opts to paint across four double-page spreads of a book, which is most effective. Another contribution of his, a collaboration with Tom McNally, is of the photos-and-speech-bubbles variety. Jesse De Freitas/Tom McN.'s Hey Handsome Boy has a drawn-from-photos look. John Bauer comes up with something you might find on an archaeological dig (photos of pictures on the insides of bowls : I think John's a potter). And Carolyn Gad's story Exploding Eric, illustrated by Brockenhagen and McNally, is excellent - and makes great creative use of the comic's centre spread with Eric and a kind of Dickensian guy drawn in different positions as they progress across one big landscape : an explosion occurs simultaneously to Eric and inside the brain of Carolyn, who depicts herself in four smallish squares beneath the action. I have to say I prefer it when strips are hand-lettered, such as this one, as opposed to computer fonts being used - but that's just me.
McNally's front cover is a painting of a woman gazing into a fish tank in which an improbable-on-this-scale scenario is playing out : a miniature shark catches a tiny swimmer unawares.
The page numbers have been decorated with a silhouette shark (that creature being the obsession of one or more of those concerned) : said shark appears in a different position each time in relation to the numbers, as though it's swimming around. A neat extra touch.

Received : 17th May 2007.
Size : 245mm x 163mm. 40pp plus cover.
Price : ?
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