A preview of things to come
Iâ€™ve been a fan of the Savannah College of Art and Design for a number of years.Â Not only does the college crank out talented artists, they also have a sequential art program that preps students for the comic book industry.Â For the last four years the school has released an anthology series featuring the works of some of its top talents.Â The 2008 Sequential Art Anthology arrived at my door the other day, and even though it doesnâ€™t hit the shelves until January 2009, Major Spoilers has an early first look.
For the fourth year in a row, the anthology features a theme that runs throughout the tome.Â Last year, the theme was Discovered, and students presented short tales based on found objects.Â This year the theme is Pantomime, and each of the 110 entrants were required to submit a story devoid of words.Â From those entries, 37 were selected for this 212 page book, and if this is any indication of what we can expect in future comics, graphic novels, and web comics, I canâ€™t wait!
To further hone their storytelling craft, each artist was required to distill the story down to the very essence, attempting to tell the story in as few panels and pages as possible. Most of the stories are told in three to five pages, but there are few that extend a bit further.Â In each, a complete tale is indeed told.Â My favorite, both in story and art is Memento to Mori, which tells the tale of an unfortunate knight who stumbles across a damsel in distress.Â While the comely lass is a real treat, she is more than she appears, as the knight finds out – right before he dies.Â Another fave features a fruit mortician, who uses unconventional means to make a smashed pumpkin man presentable for an open casket funeral.Â Letâ€™s just say morbidity can be quite funny.
By removing the words, students are forced to convey emotion through gestures, and focus on detail to move the story forward.Â Likewise, readers end up lingering on each panel as they suss out the message being presented.Â Itâ€™s a brilliant theme and one that works perfectly for the sequential art form.
Every art style you can imagine appears in this anthology.Â From highly detailed to Saturday morning cartoon, each is perfectly aligned with the story being told.Â I find it interesting that editor John Lowe decided to have all the pages printed in blue ink instead of the standard black and white. This adds a little flair to the volume and makes it a bit more interesting to read.
At 212 pages, I wouldnâ€™t advise reading this in one sitting. Instead, spend a few days flipping through and finding something that catches your eye.Â This isnâ€™t bathroom reader material, and can be read when you only have a few moments to spare. If you are trying to impress that cute girl or guy on the bus or subway, whip this out, and theyâ€™ll see you as someone who is into the fine art of comics rather than Biff, Bam, Boom â€œsillinessâ€.
Iâ€™ve going to read through this anthology a few more times before passing it on to the rest of the Major Spoilers crew.Â At $9.95, this is a book that has something for everyone, and considering other tomes of this size donâ€™t feature up and coming talent, this is a steal.Â Pantomime: A Savannah College of Art & Design Anthology receives 5 out of 5 Stars.