November 4, 2010

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The Spirit: In Contention

Written by Jarod Rosello
Illustrated by Jarod Rosello
Self-Published

Ever have that moment in a comic book store where you hesitated on buying something and later regretted it?

That's the plot of this interesting thought exercise by Jared Rosello. A man walks into a comic book store and ponders buying an old Spirit comic. When someone else opts to buy it instead, they duel over who should buy the comic. While our protagonist gets increasingly frustrated, he makes up fantasies in his head. Though offered purchasing rights, he declines, instead wishing his rival for the comic some grand misfortune.

The whole conversation comes off as mock serious, which is appropriate for the debate in question. Purchasing rights is such a silly concept, but if you think about it, we already do this in other ways, like drilling rights for oil. Why not take the market to the extreme and use it in a store when there's only one copy available? The lovely conceit of supply and demand as related to a completely unnecessary luxury item worked well for me. Combined with very exaggerated dialog, the story flows nicely as a parody of several ideas at once.

Rosello's art style makes use of a lot of long lines. Arms are given unlikely length to make a point and bend at the elbow in perfect angles. Everything feels like it's drawn along either the X or Y axis of a grid, rather than flowing across the page. It's a slightly different style than I'm used to, but I liked the change of pace.

The Spirit: In Contention has more to do with thinking philosophically than it does Will Eisner, but comic fans will come for the name and setting but stay for the snappy dialog and subject matter. I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for a new mini-comic artist to try. You can pick up a copy directly from the artist.