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martedì 25 febbraio 2014

š! #15

Various Authors, Kuš! Komiksi, Riga (Latvia), November 2013, 164 pages, A6, $14 (worldwide shipping included).

Reviews of comics anthologies are quite similar to each other and so this time to talk about š! I decided to slightly change style awarding prizes to the best contributions in this fifteenth issue, dedicated to cats and published at the end of last November. So let's start immediately, because the new š!, this time with the villages as theme, will be out already in these days.
Best Cover - Well, the cover is only one, but I can't go on without mentioning the brilliant idea of editors David Schilter and Sanita Muižniece to commission Latvian illustrator Edgars Folks to design the book. Folks, born in 1951, has little to do with indie comics scene but his contemporary reinterpretation of images from the past is well suited to the general atmosphere. 
Best Folk Song Talking about "folks", in The Land of No Parydons English illustrator John Broadley reads the lyrics of some popular comedies of the early 20th century in his own way, accompanying them with the adventures of anthropomorphic cats. All done with his style between Central Europe and Victorian London.

Best Essay - Among the artists who decided to write brief illustrated essays about cats and their peculiarities, Mārtiņš Zutis did the best work, with eight original pages about the egalitarian power of "meow". 
Best Pumpkin-Head Cat - The one created by Edie Fake. His Beachball could also be good for a Halloween anthology. 
Best Artwork - As in the previous issues of š!, I loved the work of Latvian artists Dace Sietiņa and Rūta Briede, the first more complex and structured, the second simpler and playful, but I would like to give the prize for the best artwork to "biografiktioner" Paul Paetzel and its colorful Walter, the story of a cat collector full of bright ideas, and to Brazilian Pedro Franz, with a black and white work that mixes abstract and descriptive moments.

Best Commercial - The advertising broadcasted in Lars Sjunnesson's Errol works well. Cats won't quit smoking anymore...
Best Tribute - Definitely that of Weng Pixin to her cat Pica, died in 2013 and here remembered with some pictures as well.
Best Story - I really liked the development of a relationship told by Finnish Emmi Valve, but the best comic in the book is Guncats by Michael DeForge, about a land inhabited by fierce animals who kill tourists with gunshots, armed by local police to discredit environmentalists. But beware, these strange killers could arrive in our country... As usual DeForge manages to tell a complex story in a limited space, in this case only six pages.
Best Poster - The first page of Reinis Pētersons' 7 Deadly Sins for 9 Lives and Beyond! could be a beautiful poster for a movie.
Best Pub for Cats - The Ol Ktteh in Lost & Found by Dāvis Ozols is the ideal place for a feline evening. 
I could go on for a while, but I don't want to bore you too much. Of course in the 164 pages of š! there are also comics I didn't like so much, such as Interface by Léo Quievreux & Fredox and Palace of Cats by Ernests Kļaviņš, which I found out of context compared to other contributions. However the overall quality is always high and the Latvian anthology remains an example for any publication of this kind.

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