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Safer Places s/c back

Kit Anderson


Page 45 Review by Stephen

Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month, June 2024.

A kick-start for your senses; so much mulch for your mind!

Inspired and inspiring, perception plays a prominent part in these 22 stunning short stories, as well as the world around us, if only we'd listen and look. Adjustments may be required.

Included in the 22 offerings are at least a couple of post-Forster reminders that it's easier than you think (if you don't) to turn yourself, quite unneccessarily, into little more than a battery-farmed cow, chicken or pig. Or a ten-second tourist to your own life.

'Deep Breath' in blue is beautiful below the surface, where suburbia swims shimmering in the water-rippled light. I haven't photographed its final oh so fabulous page, perhaps my favourite in the book.

A student called Jane is discovered to have a flower growing out of her head. It's a bloom that takes root, self-pollinates and spreads. It's prettier than acne, although it could cause havoc with her dissertation...

A woman follows the regular daily routine prescribed by her smart phone, taking her efficiently through morning wash, processed packet breakfast, neat fridge restock and orderly reordering (online). It never takes her outside her symmetrical living unit, but that's what pre-recorded, meditative walk-talks are for, right? Her final task is "unboxing". Brilliant!

A young man travels what's left of the west where once the buffalo roamed. There are some new landmarks now, and he frames each with his hands, held up in front of him. Clever use of boxed colour, there.

During each of the interspersed Quests two off-camera individuals speculate - one more waywardly than the other - on what the local 'wizard' might be up to. We witness the bearded one's actual activities, and they're infinitely more magical than any crass conjuring.

Kit Anderson is emphatically travelling in her own storytelling trajectory, but I'd be lying if I said that the great Tillie Walden didn't instinctively spring to mind, especially since this hails from the same oh so nurturing British stable, Avery Hill Publishing.

So where was I? Flair, flavour, focus and thought. Leaves and waves of both water and grass. Nature: accept no second-hand substitute no matter how conveniently packaged!

Pen, pencil crayon, monochromatic and full-colour washes, black inky pools, computerised jiggery pokery and even some semblance of pixelation. Experimentation. Glorious!

I leave you with a conceit that Jean-Luc Goddard threw out, late in life, to longterm collaborator Fabrice Aragno during a walk in the woods:

"Birds are words that the trees exchange.”

I don't think it's entirely irrelevant to SAFER PLACES.