Saturday, October 23, 2004

16th Leg: Copper

It's been a week since my last Find, I think. Almost a week. But I've been busy.

Trying to updating Finds very frequently is a bit more difficult than if it were a news site, really. While it'll highly unlikely I'll ever run out of comics to read, every post is a review, which does take time to read about, digest and write

Sometimes real life just gets in the way. but like I learnt after a partially webcomic-induced nervous breakdown of trying to do too much, sometimes you just gotta know when to not do something when there's something more important.

But enough of rambling, I'd like to introduce you to this gem of a comic:



Comic: Copper
By: Kazu Kibuishi

Genre and Setting: Present-day, Imaginary World, Introspective

Art Style: Stylised Cartoony, Inks, Awesome Digital-colouring

Is About: The musing and adventures of Copper and his faithful canine, Fred in both real-life and imagined dreamscapes.
Website: http://www.boltcity.com/
Frequency: Monthly
Availability: Free

First Impressions and Presentation:
The link to Copper from the previous site was directly to the archive page, which led to some considerable confusion to how I should start. Instead of the traditional "First comic here" style of navigation, we get a page full of thumbnails. I did immediately note the distinctive art style. And the simplicity of the page only serves to enchance the breath-taking beauty of the art.

Of course, eventually one figures out to start from the bottom-most comic.

The Concept:
The premise behind Copper is relatively simple: You have a boy and his dog. And you have a boy and his dog and the boy's imagination and what he does in them.

Somewhat evocative of Calvin and Hobbes or the early strips of Alice, but much much much more beautiful, wistful, thought-inducing and profound.


The Art:
Exquisite. The art for Copper is so beautiful that after I've read the comic, I stop, go back to panel one then go through it again just to admire the art. There's not much use of fancy gradients in the fantastic colouring, but flat colour in wonderful backgrounds and soothing compositions are such soothing eye-candy that you can't help but fall in love within the first 0.5 seconds of glimpsing it. I'm especially astounded by Kazu's use of colour to depict form and motion. Awesome!

The drawing is excellently stylised: simplified and with clear, minimal ink lines. I love the way Kazu draws everything, from the extremly adorable Fred to the scary looking smiley slaves. Somehow everything works, and is so right that you never think about it because you have the feeling that that is how it's supposed to be.

There also some beautiful and subtle use of camera angles, moving horizons and perspective.

In short, some of the best art I've ever seen, and this is NOT hyperbole.


The Writing:
There isn't really much of a plot continuity, but that's is not what Copper is about anyway. The writing's main purpose seems to be to catch those fleeting notions, fancies and dreams we once had and forgot we had; those things we see in dreams and can't remember when we wake up.

There's some beautiful philosophical meaderings as well.

I really like a comic that makes me think.


Problems:
The schedule is probably the main problem. A page per month is a little difficult to pull off. For all good things there's patience, but sometimes there's also impatience...


Overall:
Reading Copper is like coming in from a grimy, rainy day in some urbanised, crowded city and walking into your living room to be transported into a beautiful and peaceful garden. The air smells sweet and the only sound you hear is soft lapping from a pool of clear water.

Such beauty in perfection that it makes you want to cry and be happy crying.

Copper may be an element in the periodic table, but it's a rare gem for webcomics.


The Next Leg:
There's a nice list of comic. Not sure what to pick.

Return to Sender rings a bell though. I think there was a recommendation for it on the Copper archive page.

Who am I to refuse a recommendation? ;)

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