The Cross Hatch Dispatch 1/28/09

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch
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[Above, Eleanor Davis gets Stinky. Below, the smell of Dispatch in the morning.]

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Motro #1 by Ulises Farinas

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Motro #1
By Ulises Farinas

ulisesfarinasmotrobloodypanel“Think about how big the world is,” writes Ulises Farinas on the inside front cover of Motro’s first issue. The brief note appears to be handwritten in every copy of the book. It’s a small print run, of course. The mini is, for all intents and purposes, something of an teaser for Farinas’s Act-I-Vate strip of the same name, pulling together the first several pages of the online series—an teaser, mind you with a fair amount of thought put into execution, with a fold-over cover that opens to reveal the titular hero lying unconscious in a pool of his blood. Closed, the puddle makes up the deep red of the single letter “M.”

The quick reveal soon proves an overarching theme for these first pages of Motro, the inside cover inscription more foreshadowing than friendly philosophical aside. Pulling back the proverbial camera to reveal a larger world is a something of a reoccurring motif for Farinas. The first few pages begin simply enough, centering around a young native in a bloody but heroic battle with a fierce lion. He takes a beating, to be sure, replaying the gorey scene hidden beneath the front cover flap, but his actions prove bold enough for him to be deemed the legendary Motro, by his father, the chief.

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Fishtown by Kevin Colden

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By Kevin Colden

kevincoldenfishtowncoverWhen I first reviewed Fishtown, back in January, the artist was using Act-i-vate to publish a page a week of the book, which is based on a true story and follows four Philadelphia teens who brutally murder and rob their friend Jesse (the character’s name in the book). Now Fishtown is out in hardcover, courtesy of IDW, which means that readers can take in the rest of what began as an emotionally charged, upsetting, and incredibly well executed comic.

In the latter part of the book, Colden maintains the same narrative distance with which he starts. He reserves passing judgment on the kids, focusing instead on fleshing out the characters and approaching the tale as something of a question or a puzzle. This feat is particularly impressive given that this section of the book includes a reenactment of the murder. Colden’s drawings–whether they show the run-down Philly neighborhood of Fishtown all in inky yellow and blue and black or the horrifying scene of Jason’s slain body, stained in pink blood–are haunting. But the most affecting panels are the ones depicting the four teens—Adrian, Keith, Justin, and Angelica—committing the act of murder.

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