October 19, 2009

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Art School Chronicles Year 3

Written by Jessica White
Illustrated by Jessica White
Self-published (Heroes and Criminals Press)

The format and tone of Ms. White's ongoing mini-comic change radically for the third edition of her thoughts on going to art school.

While the drawing has improved even more from the past volume, the confidence of the author has not. This time around. White is having serious doubts about her future. From the first page's depressed self-portrait in a traditional gallery to the metaphorical use of bridges and paths to illustrate the narrative, the story almost needs no words to convey her inner conflict.

That's not to say the narrative is unimportant. If the last comic kept the reader at a bit of an arm's length, this one draws you in and gives you a very good understanding of White's feelings during her third year of school.

Have 15 years of dreams come to naught? Can she come to grips with the low place art plays in today's society and negotiate the problems of creative politics? What about her desire to give back to the world versus the thrill of just creating for creation's sake?

Those are just a few of the thoughts that White considers in this comic. It's a great narrative and I think anyone who is looking for their place in the world can relate to it.

The only mild issue I have, and it's White's comic so she can do whatever she wants, is that we learn almost nothing about her actual experiences in school this time. There's a lot about what to do, but not a lot on what she's actually doing. It takes the story in a vastly different direction, which is not a bad thing, but should be noted for those who are mostly interested in her school life.

White promises in the back of this comic that she will finish the series, and I hope she does. I really want to see how she gets from this confused time of year three to her current business, which seems to make me think the story has a happy ending.

I'm sure there's a great story in there, when she's ready.

If you'd like a copy of Art School Chronicles, you can pick one up at Black Light Diner Distro. [A copy of this comic was provided by the distributor for review. It was pretty easy, because I live with her.] You can also visit Ms. White's website for more on what she's doing currently.