Story and Art: Mario Van Buren
A few weeks ago I did a review of a mini-comic called “Girls Don’t Poop.”I was so excited about this book that I showed everyone I knew, blabbed about it endlessly, conveniently left it out where it could be “discovered” by others, and even sent an email to the creator telling him how much I enjoyed the book.
Lo and behold, a little envelope arrived on my doorstep Friday. Inside was a copy of The Marsh. Mario Van Buren, the creator of Girls Don’t Poop, was kind enough to send me a copy of his latest book. He warned me that this book was “totally different” from Girls Don’t Poop.
He was right.
If it is possible, this book is completely different, and even better than the aforementioned GDP (sorry, getting tired of typing out the full title).
In a short 14 pages, VanBuren tells a story full of childhood innocence, close friendship, and a startling discovery that rocks our protagonist to his core.
I finished the book in one gulp and had the immediate reaction, “that’s it?!?!?” I craved more! I wanted to know what happened next. Where the mystery in the marsh came from. Why it was there. And, like I said, what happens next!!!!
But then I thought about it more and realized that VanBuren had just pulled off a neat trick. Childhood is all about incomplete understanding and unfinished business. By only giving the reader the middle of the story, we are left with only a partial understanding of the situation, just like a child who stumbles on to something bigger than he or she could understand. Even with a full explanation (one that would satisfy an adult) a child will always be stuck with the understanding generated by his or her fist-hand experiences.
VanBuren’s art is clean, clear, and helps to push the story along. His characters look like children, behave like children, and are instantly identifiable. His use of comic book panels and elements works to increase our understanding of the experience.
In addition, he is able to create a sense of tension and fear without sinking to cliches of dark shadows, stormy nights, and terrified glances over the shoulder.
Hopefully VanBuren will produce a full length comic in the near future. His work is too strong and too good to toil in the obscurity of the mini-comic. And, given what he can do in 14 pages, the mind boggles at the prospect of 24!
Find his work and buy his comics at: http://www.iknowjoekimpel.com/