I’ve been fiendishly busy and scattered besides, with a mind to post on myth & pop or the spate of great semi-comics anthologies of late or butter or something. Then my mind crumbles and, oh, not so much. I am that of the title, melted on couch and floor.
Better just to look at the images of Laura Park. I could say comics, since that’s what she does. But she also doodles, draws in her Moleskine, and fits none too well the frameworks I have for evaluating comics.
I pointed to the mini in my best of ’08 in TCJ, though not on the strength of its stories. It’s a 90s-style one-person anthology with short strips and doodles. The only longish story I recall is a sort-of parable that felt like a false start.
But the drawing, the line, the fine hatching, the fact that she balances her compositions with all that detail. The mini’s remarkable for that, and better as a point of entry to her Flickr page, where she’s posted a trove of art.
For a critic, it’s hard to frame. There are drawings, a few strips. Really, she jots down bon-mot doodles, a kind of artist’s daybook. Sometimes they hint at diary or autobiography. While most such works pare events into a literary form, Park’s comics dart from moment to moment, focusing on atmosphere and sensations. So the recipes and drawings of food seem like key parts of her work, not petty indulgences. I think trying to fit her talent into a “graphic novel,” at least with the implied primacy of a capital-S Story, would suck.
Instead I have this image of her much like the drawing above, leaving a trail of exquisite drawings wherever she goes. Like Johnny Appleseed, only the trees are flat and dead.
When I first read Do Not Disturb My Waking Dream, having long been an admirer of her drawings, I thought it the work of a gifted artist looking for something to say. In other words, I missed the small things. Now I hope Park doesn’t find a story. Not a capitalized one, anyway.