Nine Ways to Disappear By Lilli Carre

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Nine Ways to Disappear
By Lilli Carre
Little Otsu

lillicarreninewayscoverGiven a little more time, one suspects that Lilli Carre could conjure up a lot more than nine. There are plenty of ways to disappear, and perhaps even more justifications for wanting to do so. It’s a good number though—certainly enough to fill up this beefy little teal volume. And besides, a nice, neat, round number like 10 wouldn’t suit an author so prone to open-ended tales as Carre.

Nine Ways to Disappear is a quiet book of single paneled pages based largely around narration, pieces mostly spun with fairy tale omniscience, a storytelling method well-suited to the magical realism that unfolds in nearly every piece. Mermaids populate these pages as do perpetually shrinking men and living skeletons. But Carre doesn’t embrace the fantastic for its own sake.

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Interview: Lilli Carre Pt. 3 [of 3]

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lillicarrewoodsmanwakeup

There’s a little bit of the future and the past in this quick final installment of our interview with The Lagoon author. We discuss the ways in which Lilli Caree’s fascination with sound has affected her comics, the power of a resolution-free ending, and why Hans Christian Andersen’s short story about a sad little Christmas tree is good fodder for a comic.

[Part One][Part Two]
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Interview: Lilli Carre Pt. 1 [of 3]

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lillicarrethelagoonwater

For a book so invested in the poetry of sound, The Lagoon seems somehow quiet. Siren songs and metronomes and the whooshing of wind fill the its pages, but the book’s important moments, more often than not, seem to exist in the spaces in between, those quiet panels when its cacophonies have been temporarily extinguished.

It’s fitting then, in a sense, that when I first approach the book’s author, Lilli Carre, about doing an interview, she was a bit hesitant. She soon admitted that she had never actually done one via phone, and while I finally convinced her to give it a shot, I largely expected that, like The Lagoon, Carre would keep many of her answers to herself.

As it turns out, however, for all of her fears of coming across as muddled, Carre had plenty to say with regards to her methods and works, from The Lagoon to its predecessor Woodsman Pete, to the more sporadic work she’s done in the field of animation.

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The Lagoon by Lillie Carre

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The Lagoon
By Lille Carre
Fantagraphics

lilliecarrelagooncoverA black triangle to one side of the nose is Lilli Carré’s graphic trademark. It drew my attention when I read The Lagoon, and after a while it becomes something you see but don’t notice. It’s like recognizing a person, ‘oh that’s Lillie Carré.’ When I first encountered her trademark nose, I kept looking at Grandpa where he says, “I couldn’t make up a song that pretty, you know that!” The tip of Grandpa’s nose meets his laugh line and flattens the effect of the rendering to make the black triangle look like a hole. An optical effect where the positive and negative shapes swap places.

Carré draws figures with the push and pull of black and white. Transitions between the two poles often employ the artist’s brush in the manner of woodcut illustrations. In woodcut, the tool gouges out the black. Her brush feathers in the black. The gouge and the brush. Hard metal. Soft fiber. They’re strong opposites and they can create a very similar graphic style. Black and white. There’s no crosshatching. The white shapes are as necessary to define the figure and ground as the lines, patterns, and black ink. With this balance, Carré creates a pleasurable line of sight through the book. Her story dances on the surface and has a depth that one must put on a diver’s size thinking cap to plummet.

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