Comic, Issue #1, packmentalitybook.tumblr.com, $10
This has been a first for me — to open up my envelope of zines to-be-reviewed, pull one out, and unwittingly, uncontrollably go completely derp. Mouth agape, crude vocalizations — the works. Pack Mentality presents an arresting, visceral appeal, firstly in its incredible use of colour, but also in the gripping quality of the work. The book’s risograph-printed illustrations are some of the most vividly coloured printed images I’ve ever seen. Truly beautiful. Even the texture is amazing: chalky and precious, like I shouldn’t be allowed to touch it.
This compilation features nine pieces by different artists, with the offerings ranging from multi-page panel comics to two-page spreads. The crown jewel of this issue is Sean Lewis’s full spread centrepiece: an orca-gutting whaler, his harpoon rending an airborne killer whale, like some bizarro adaptation of Free Willy, on a red arctic sea surrounded by icebergs and a still-swimming orca herd. It’s pants-pissingly good.
Gillian Goerz’s comic, “Dry Skin” is 8-pages of beautiful, bright colour. Acknowledging our dry-skinned, lotion-dependent winters, Goerz casts that hard-to-reach patch of skin on one’s back in a starring role. Relying solely on expressive characters, Goerz weaves a quick, no-dialogue, clever tale to resolve that pesky inconvenience.
These are just two contributions out of nine very gifted artists. Each piece is a knockout, bulwarked ably by the outstanding presentation and printing job. Worth every penny. (Joshua Barton)