2011/10/01

Jamilti and Other Stories by Rutu Modan

Jamilti and Other Stories
Rutu Modan, 2008, 120p
I previously read and reviewed Rutu Modan's Exit Wounds, this is a collection of graphic short stories from earlier in her career. These stories are 10 to 30 pages each, and you can get a lot of artwork in that space, but not a lot of story. You can make up for that lack of temporal space with the depth of content that the artwork holds, but Modan is really only up to that challenge occasionally. Her line work isn't particularly expressive, and she leaves most of the atmosphere to her colour work.

Or perhaps all the elements are here, but not at the same time? There is great atmosphere and variety of perspective in "The Panty Killer", but the story is a limp mystery that didn't engage me at all. "Homecoming" is made up entirely of bold, full page panels with line and colour that put me in a Gauguin mood, and an interesting story, but thin, rote characters. "Jamilti" has an interesting story and an engaging character, but flat, clumsy line work. And so on, until the last story "Your Number One Fan", which has all the pieces in place and I think is superior to "Exit Wounds".

Which leads me to approach this as a satisfying collection of juvenilia. The reader can watch the author diddle around with various notes, before finally hitting a lovely, rich minor chord.
Except from Your Number One Fan

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