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mercoledì 12 marzo 2014

Wicked Chicken Queen

Sam Alden, Retrofit Comics, Philadelphia (USA), February 2014, 24 pages, black and white, 6,5" x 10,5", $ 5.

It seems difficult to talk about Sam Alden without using the adjectives "young" and "promising", but this time I prefer to describe the twenty-five year old cartoonist, also seen in Italy with two comic books published by Delebile, as an eclectic author. Currently Alden's creative vein alternates stories set in fantasy or rural locations, usually told with a stylized character design that can recall Nate Powell or Craig Thompson, and other works with realistic and everyday topics, that deal with the complexity of interpersonal relationships using a remarkable awareness, graphically characterized by impressionist pencil drawings. However, there aren't clear distinctions between the two trends and everything is left to the immediate inspiration of an author in progress, capable of making comics that are very different from each other. And if you try, for example, to read Haunter and Household (the latter in my opinion is the peak of Alden's production until now), they won't easily seem the work of the same person.

Wicked Chicken Queen, published by Box Brown's Retrofit Comics (here the review of his Number 1), is a new chapter of the cartoonist's artistic path. It's a fairytale told with full-page images that follow the evolution of a strange new world, inhabited by people with a single giant eye stuck in the middle of their faces. The birth of a chicken, coming out of an egg found on the beach, changes the life of the village. The newborn is considered as a daughter by the king and, after the sovereign's death, she becomes the queen of the island, marrying Saskia, the woman who had discovered her egg. But times are changing and from a matriarchal and monarchist society the island will go into a contemporary dimension.

The fable fades and the queen's adventures leave room for the journal of the woman who weaves the threads of the story and for her personal problems. The moment of transition, which is rendered with a greater definition of the art, is well evidenced in particular by two beautiful pages. The first shows the progress of a society now able to build roads, bridges and skyscrapers, the second depicts the narrator in bed while looking out of the window, emphasizing the emergence of an inner and meditative dimension, typical of modernity. Wicked Chicken Queen is a comic that behind an aura of apparent simplicity shows all the talent of its author.

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