Children and God Vol. 1-2 by Kelly Clancy

Categories:  Reviews

Children and God Vol. 1-2
by Kelly Clancy

I am like a pile of warmed butter for this series by Kelly Clancy. Children and God parallels the lives of people living in post-communist Central Asia and modern day Middle America. Through nearly imperceptible changes, Clancy transitions between vignettes that span time and space and paint an overall image of sadness, progress, cultural disparity, innocence, ignorance, nostalgia, and religious fanaticism.

There’s something unique and beautiful on every page, but Clancy also cleverly employs devices reminiscent of other cartoonists’ work: Jeremy Tinder teardrop-shaped word bubbles, Lilli Carr√©-esque scrolling narration through the panels, Craig Thompson triple-bump noses, and large almond-shaped Sam Hiti-ish eyes. I make these comparisons only to help you visualize the humble curves that make up her artwork, which can be seen here, but there are also completely new aspects to her work. Overall, her comics have a fresh new feel and are more than pleasant to look at as well as read.

She illustrates the characters’ feelings and history through letter forms in a way that is simply stunning. I have a weakness for words – in comics, the lettering in particular – and she just nails it. A boy explaining the sensation of being hit by a mine blast is visualized on a page turn by a smattering of “Oh God” exclamations, written in script and painfully layered in different sizes to show the magnitude of what losing half a leg must really feel like. In Volume 1 she elongates and manipulates the letters in “horse” to create an actual image of a horse, among other things. The details aren’t ignored and it’s so rewarding for the reader. Her art creates a sensation more powerful than a statement and a static image could have. Clancy is pushing the comics form in a the right direction by creating new and inspired narrative art. She takes every tool at her disposal and consistently renders something potent and lovely. It isn’t overdone and it suits her topic perfectly.

Clancy spent time in living abroad in Central Asia and has a unique perspective to offer a post-9/11 America on the heritage and beliefs of certain Muslims and tribes. It’s refreshing and shocking to learn how little many of us know about people half-way around the world, and because it’s done in many ways through humorous and friendly storytellers, that education is easy to comprehend.

The books range from 28-32 pages each and only begin to tell part of a larger story that will merge into a solid graphic novel when everything is done. Both volumes of Children and God are black and white. They’re available for $5 apiece from Clancy’s etsy shop: thedivinebanquet.

– Sarah Morean

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2 Comments to “Children and God Vol. 1-2 by Kelly Clancy”

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