Suspended Animation: Mind's Eye review
Thursday, October 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
Review by Mark Allen
Sometimes people ask me; "What call a 32-year-old man possibly see in a bunch of funny books?" Well, maybe not those exact words, but that's the crux of the question. Out of the myriad of possible answers, one that I have often given is the versatility of the comic form, or, if you like, "sequential art." That's right; ART.
Take for example, Peter Kuper's Mind's Eye, a collection of comic strips first designed for the New York Times. While not a particularly "pretty" piece of art, it certainly takes it's place in the category of "daring originality.â€ In this work of â€œvisual puzzles," Kuper sets the viewer up with four panels depicting a particular scene, or short story, if you will, and as they attempt to determine whose viewpoint they are witnessing, the fifth panel gives the usually surprising answer.
The most attractive part of Mind's Eye, however, is not the perspectives of the work, but the art itself. Kuper has a simple, yet, somehow exaggerated style in which the characters are just that; caricatures. Whether intentional or not, the result is not realism, but a form of surrealism, in which the wordless strips draw the viewer in with very distinct and "readable" actions, and then attempt to throw them for a loop. The style lends a dream-like quality to the work, as if the viewer was privy to the dramas and/or comedies playing out in a sleeping mind.
While not one of my favorite works, Mind's Eye is wonderful example of the power of sequential art (comics). Several messages are delivered to the reader, some of a benignly trivial nature, others biting satire, all without the benefit of any printed words. The only form of communication is a group of pictures in a specific sequence; a language in and of itself, and worthy of notice.
Mind's Eye could likely be ordered through comic shops, found in bookstores, or acquired by visiting the publisher's website, www.nbmpublishing.com.
Mind's Eye is published by NBM Publishing, 125 pages, and priced at $11.95.
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