I’d never seen Trondheim’s Bleu, but Derik B. at madinkbeard pointed it out to me as an example of abstract comics which don’t use panel borders (a trope I expressed unease about in this post.

As Derik says in his analysis, Trondheim’s project is pretty amazing in its ability to evoke comics without actually using any of the standard icons that would singify “comics”. I also find it startling just how much like Trondheim’s representational stuff this abstract comic is. Not that I’ve looked at a ton of Trondheim (especially in relation to his output), but, of the things I’ve seen, I’ve been struck by his phenomenal mastery of cartooning and comics language; his tediously pedestrian approach to page composition, and his cute (sometimes overly cute) humor. All of these qualities are retained in his abstract work. Its a tour de force of cartooning, showing that he can create a comic with no props, no plot, no characters — nothing. The tiny blobs with the stars are (in the small size, in the rounded bits, in their smoothness, in the glittery star) undeniably cute; even precious. And the page layout is pretty darn boring; a basic grid that is never violated.

The dullness of the layout is part and parcel of the effort to make the page readable as comics, of course — with nothing else to go on, the only way for it to be comics is for it to be monotonous. It’s a briliant solution as far as the process goes, but I’m not entirely sold on the product. Still, the colors are pretty, and it has a comfortingly attractive pop art sheen that is pleasing to contemplate….I dunno, maybe I’ll have to find a copy and look through the whole thing more closely to figure out what I feel about it exactly. It’s certainly worth thinking about, though, especially for someone like me who’s working (however hesitantly) on creating some abstract comics….

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