Comic, Dakota McFadzean, 32 pgs, One Percent Press, onepercentpress.com, $5
Of One Percent Press’s impressive line-up of artists, Dakota McFadzean is among the more established. His daily online comic strip is an impressive feat of consistency, blending a cartoonish-surreal style with four panel set-up-knock-down jokes. It works.
Hollow in the Hollows is no exception to this rule, but functions more like a Stephen King short story than a Saturday morning comic-strip. McFadzean captures a moment in the life of sixth-grade outcast Mary, unable to relate to anyone save her lonely classmate Arnold, and looking toward fantasies in a local wood to fill the gap. The narrative rings with the adventurism of King’s The Body, or Katherine Patterson’s Bridge to Terabithia, but carries itself more delicately than either one.
The comic’s sepia colour scheme uses heavy shadow to make every glance an eerie one, and every sound a potential threat. Symbolically, certain images could be a little heavy-headed (the skeletal remains of a deer found in the woods, or a new tree growing from the centre of an old one) but Hollow in the Hollows’s well-established atmosphere allows the reader to invest as much or as little meaning in these as she likes.
One Percent Press has put out a professional product while still honouring its DIY ethic. Hollow in the Hollows is McFadzean at his best, offering his established audience a comic that isn’t so much quirky as it is insightful. (Joel W. Vaughan)