Monday, December 28, 2009


A review of Dump from Shannon Smith at Poopsheetfoundation:

"I've been familiar with David Robertson's comics for a while thanks to the Shiot Crock anthologies. I've enjoyed everything I've seen of his so far. His comics are refreshingly void of angst or any sort of obvious agenda. Each story seems to exist solely because Robertson felt like telling and drawing that story at that moment. DUMP is a collection of these random stories. While the stories have next to nothing in common they all share a similar tone and work together for one enjoyable 99 page read. The book has a lot of the standard things you would expect in a one man anthology. Auto-bio, short fiction, parody and sketches. Robertson seems to handle them all with the same observational style and tone. The strongest vibe I get from all of Robertson's stuff is a disconnect. Robertson writes as if he is a foreign observer documenting the events as they unfold without judgment or agenda. The danger in this disengaged writing style is that it can feel stiff but Robertson pulls it off by being clever and fun. A lot of that is his choices in subject matter. A comic that at first seems like a straight up Star Wars parody turns out to be a clever satire on race. A comic that seems to be a set up for the animal tracking adventures of a movie sound man turns out to be a gag about job incompetence.

Robertson's drawing is simple and minimal but his layouts and storytelling chops are just fine. I don't know that more attention to the drawing would make the comics work any better. They would look nicer and it would possibly make them more accessible to a wider audience but that does not necessarily equal being better. Funny is funny regardless of how well it is drawn.

The comic itself looks nice and is a comfortable read at the pamphlet size. Ninety nine pages is a good count for a folded and stapled pamphlet sized comic. A lot of Robertson's pages are in the nine panel grid style which looks better at pamphlet size than at standard minicomic size so I can understand why Robertson whet with this choice. The resolution on the photo cover is a bit off and causes a slightly blurry image. It does not look bad but it draws attention to the less than professional nature of the book. As far as the content of the photo cover goes, I get it. It's an image of a dump and the comic has a story about working at a dump. And there is the idea of a one man anthology book being a dump of stories. I get that. My concern is that if I saw this in a store or at a con I would not have any clear idea what the thing was by looking at the cover. Some people might think 'what the heck is that?' and pick it up out of curiosity. Others might think 'what the heck is that?' and pass it by. I hope they pick it up. It is an enjoyable read."

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