Indie Comic Review: Oubliette

Two of the most interesting comics I picked up at the Stumptown Comic Fest this year were a pair of comics by Kenan Rubenstein.

I have included a picture of the books so you can get an idea of how small they are. Both books are formed from a single sheet of paper folded four times. The resulting effect is that each unfolding produces twice as many panels as the previous “page”. So, the opening of the book gives the reader a single panel that is twice the size of the cover. The next opening produces two panels. The next, four, etc. until the final unfolding reveals a full-page final panel. It is a neat trick that adds something to the overall entertainment value of the book.

Not that the books needed much in the way of added value. Each story is unique and entertaining in completely different ways. “Prologue” is a story about a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve that leads two people to have an unexpectedly intimate conversation. The pacing is fantastic, the art is quite good, and the final, full-page reveal is spot-on. The fact that there is no way to read ahead on this book is important. It gives the final panel that much more impact.

“On The Beach” is a more humorous book than “Prologue”. But, it shares the same important elements. Great art, great pacing, and a fantastic reveal. The storytelling isn’t quite as clear in “On the Beach”, but I think that it has to do with the fact that Rubenstein is attempting to move the characters through a large amount of time, while keeping the space very limited. That is not to say that the book is confusing or unclear. It just requires the reader to pay attention to the story a little closer. Given that the story takes place at a nude beach, it is easy to get distracted by the art!

Both of these books were a true find and a delight. Rubenstein also has at least one other book, Tick (which is referenced in “Prologue”. I am regretting that I did not pick that book up as well.

The books are available through his website,

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