Comic, Chelsea Bellrose, 20 pgs., chelseabellrose.com
We don’t often consider the mortality we share with our rat neighbors and co-habitants. I suspect they don’t think of it much either. We’re both so busy. Jobs to do, buses to catch, nests to build, pizza to drag through the subway station. And yet from dust we both came and to dust we shall both return. Chelsea Bellrose indulges thoughts like these in the wordless comic Rat.
The comic is black and white. The cover is in colour, with the emphatic title Rat emblazoned in black and green across a soiled paper plate, which figures in to the story’s ending: a poor rat’s improvised coffin. Chelsea’s panels are laid out in landscape and irregularly formatted across halfsize pages. The black and white illustrations of this city rat story are densely inked and lushly shaded, with an overcast vibe that fits the downer mood. The images move the story – a startling sidewalk encounter between a human and a live rat by night, who is a dead rat by morning. Thoughtful and artfully composed, this comic is for anyone with a heart for grimy rodents whose days are numbered, just like ours. (Joshua Barton)