Burglars stole my time!

*So I can't write much until later tonight, when I'll have all of the new periodicals to enjoy. I'm really enjoying an old periodical right now, one that I've had for a while and one that I've read several times: Gerald Jablonski's "Cryptic Wit" which was published in 2002 with a grant from the Xeric Foundation. It's a 40 page b&w no-ads book, although the front and back covers also count as full-page comics, to be frank.

There are three types of stories in this book: stories about a boy and an adult (both of whom are some sort of cat-human thing), stories set among the animals on a farm, and wordless excercises in visual dazzle involving a toddler and an alien child. All of the stories (each are exactly one page) proceed in mainly the same way. With the boy and the adult: the boy's music is very loud and ruins the man's radio (television?) serial. Then they get into an argument about the boy's teacher, who seems to be an ant. The end. On the farm, the farmer narrates a tale about reckless or cowardly or mean animals who generally meet a special friend and accomplish nothing. The End. The third type of story has no words, and little plot.

The comics are amazingly wordy, with huge text balloons filling up panels, their stems wrapping around background objects and making every kind of dizzy pattern before resting in the mouth of the speaking character. There are lots of panels: usually around thirty per page. And yet, despite the jaw-dropping verbosity and the ultra-busy layouts, I love this comic. Jablonski certainly has some visual chops, as evidenced by his wordless work, and the twisting trails of the word balloons, and the often fanciful backgrounds (when they can be seen, of course). But just sitting down and reading all of this stuff really pulls me in. By the end of the book I was addicted to the subtle shifts Jablonski would mix into each plot, all of which follow the same structure. I seriously got to like his use of language ("What happened next has to rate as one of the saddest occurrences of all time," declares a caption illustrating an image of a horse kicking dirt in a chicken's face) and his idiosyncratic sense of humor. It took time to settle in, but I find myself returning to this book over and over; it might be one of my singe favorite floppies.

So yeah, "Cryptic Wit". I think Jablonski put out another, earlier book called "Empty Skull" and he's a regular contributor to the various Comics Journal Specials (it's especially amusing seeing how he fits each volume's 'theme' into his typical plot structure). I know little else about him. He advertises books in the Journal sometimes. This is the sort of thing we need things like the Xeric Foundation to promote: totally unique work. I hope there's enough of an audience for Mr. Jablonski's stuff, because I selfishly want him to release new comics!