Page 45 Review by Stephen
Production values ahoy!
Not only does the cover come in that thick, grained watercolour paper stock with glowing, organic-fruit hues, but the interior pages are equally classy allowing Chapman's rich graphite shading to shine in all its soft, polished beauty. The art is so warm that it's like being nuzzled up to by a faun's felt-covered antlers. Katriona doesn't just invite you into her life, she makes you feel as comfortable in it as if you were sitting beside her on the sofa, sharing a glass of wine.
This is unmistakeably about Katriona but it's not for one second egomaniacal. She's not declaring; she's sharing. I believe you two will get along smashingly.
In the opening two-page salvo winningly entitled 'Hello', Chapman presents quiet, brief bursts of some of the elements which form her profound passions while dictating her daily routine - a routine which we will see disrupted with surprisingly stoical equanimity in KATZINE ISSUE TWO. (Clue: London Transport at night. No thanks!)
They're not necessarily the passions you'd normally associate with a 36-year-old woman, which she owns almost immediately and increasingly endearingly. Family-run hardware shops for a start! Katriona tells of a childhood trip to B&Q when she became transfixed by racks and racks of wooden, decorative moulding. The illustration accompanying that recollection - its harmonious arrangement of cross sectional shapes and three-dimensional shading with an almost Escher-like, hypnotic harm - will convert you to her point of view, I promise.
Chapman is that winning combination of accessible and exotic and above all eclectic in taste. She has the confidence to create, print and distribute a high-end 'zine of comics and lavishly illustrated prose yet suffers from social anxiety. I think you'll be enamoured with her regular, admirably balanced feature of 'Fear' and 'Love' on opposite pages. The 'Love' in this instance springs from her job as an usher at a theatre during moments when she takes advantage of her introversion. You'll see - such positive thinking!
The extended feature this issue is 'All Summer Long', musing over her family holidays in Canada, the friends she made and - now that she's on the point of return - wondering whether it will be weird going back as an adult. However, it was upon reading the two-page illustrated article on the International Space Station - I had no idea one suffered such tissue loss working in zero gravity but it does make sense when you're not really using your muscles - that I realised how I would most accurately described this gorgeous artefact: it's like the most artisan school project you've ever read!
It's all so loving put together with attention to detail, like the inside front and back covers which not only glide effortlessly into the endpapers but - were you to remove that cover - form a panoramic star chart of their own.