Sunday, June 8, 2014

Midwestern Cuban Comics #s 1-6

( It is hard to know where to start my raves about this series. But perhaps I will do it with a list of three things this amazing series argues so passionately for: The first is the power of storytelling. The two storylines crafted by Odin Cabal are far from groundbreaking, but as we follow the travails of Pito and Maria, a gambling parrot and a busty tough broad trying to scratch together money to fix the plumbing in their apartment, and Francisco, a moral but violent ex-con, it's hard not to hang on every word, laugh at every jokes, and get tense at every strange turn. This is remarkable in part because the comic is ridiculously, to use an overused phrase, raw, with a scratchy drawing style, loose, sometimes misspelled lettering, and stylistic decisions one might mistake for amateurish, if  the awesomeness of the books as a whole didn't reveal that this cat is what professionals should strive to emulate. The second thing MCC celebrates is the power of the "floppy!" Like all contemporary indie cartoonists, the artist posts this work on Tumblr, and I suppose he could go the route of many and just get these stories square bound in book form, skipping the old school comic book format (known as floppies in the industry). But the fact that this is the same size and shape as Avengers, Archie, and Richie Rich, even boasting a full color (albeit crayon-colored) cover makes this feel so much like a real live comic book that it's easy to get past the rough edges and discover the awesomeness. And the third thing that is celebrated here is pure artistic vision. This is a book saying exactly what it wants to, and while there are definite influences felt (especially Los Bros Hernandez, not just for the Latin themes and large-breasted protagonist, but for specific visual and storytelling elements), Midwestern Cuban Comics feels like an unfiltered personal expression, an artist doing exactly what he wants to do, how how wants to do it. Man, do I love these comics!

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