Page 45 Review by Stephen
It's become tradition to kick off any KATZINE review with a declaration of adoration when it comes to the covers and production values.
I did it over and over again - and why wouldn't I? Because look!
(Okay, not so much with #4, but only because I failed to find time to write anything at all - I can assure you I read it with relish!)
These are no chapbooks - cheap affairs knocked out for maximum accessibility in t'olden days - but amongst the most luxurious mini-comics of all time with the most sensuous pencils printed on warm, fine-grained paper stock with even thicker card covers.
Speaking of covers, wait until you open this one up for the Eagle-fish interface endpapers! Such balletic grace and beauty!
Truly this is the EAGLE ISSUE, Chapman wisely now eschewing enumeration in favour of theme or content on account of readers believing they needed to buy the lot and read in a specific order. You do need to buy the lot - obviously - but you don't. Each autobiographical outing is completely self-contained with episodes from any era of Chapman's adventurous life.
Don't mistake introversion for agoraphobia or indeed self-absorption. Katriona has travelled widely both in Britain and abroad and has much to impart to those eager to listen and learn, rendered in a way which perfectly captures the spirit of place. You might as well be travelling with her.
Regular features return this issue - 'Local Business', 'Fear' and 'Love' along with a botanical page - but there's also a break for Katriona to explain to the uninitiated from personal experience what being shy does and does not involve. Like Allie Brosh's HYPERBOLE AND A HALF, this is done solely to promote greater understanding of the misunderstood, and extroverts would be well advised to take a moment out of their convivial lives to take note of the Energy Bucket. These are no melodramatic, egomaniacal, attention-seeking vapidities or woe-is-me wailings, but considered reflections on life.
The most thrilling feature this issue involves the titular eagle in which Chapman displays a masterful comprehension of both story building and narrative cohesion in comics. It's a thrilling four-page encounter on an uninhabited island whose own rugged contours form the adventure's background, rising then falling over the twin, double-page spreads as Chapman herself explores upwards to her spell-binding sighting in the sky before returning to her more sedentary mother below to witness the puffins they came for in the first place. The inset panels too reflect the semi-symmetrical nature of the narrative - the puffins first sighted far off then tantalisingly close.
All of which bodes wonderfully well for the extended graphic memoir which Chapman is now embarking upon and whose progress she intends to catalogue throughout future KATZINEs in her 'Graphic Novel Diary'. And if you think that bodes well, you should read her astute self-analysis in this issue's first instalment, about the considerable and rigorous editorial decisions necessary for moulding a gripping story out of potentially endless and so lifeless clay. Hint: you don't just slap everything you experience out on the page because then you're left with tales told by idiots, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Conversely, for thought-provoking, philosophical brilliance which has been so cleverly crafted - and rigorously arranged / edited, please see Eddie Campbell's ALEC OMNIBUS.