September 13, 2013

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SPX Spotlight 2013: Jarod Rosello and The Well-Dressed Bear Will (Never) Be Found

Welcome to another entry in the 2013 SPX Spotlight series!  For the next month, I'll be highlighting creators and publishers who will be at the best convention, the Small Press Expo.  You can check out all of my spotlights for SPX from both this year and prior years here.

As we get down to our last few SPX Spotlights this year (and I'm so sorry to everyone I wasn't able to feature), I'm pleased to add Jarod Rosello to the list of creators you need to seek out.

Jarod first came to my attention with a comic featuring two people discussing who should own an old Spirit comic book (see my review here) and I immediately liked his distinctive, angular line work and ability to tell a more complicated story underlying the apparent simplicity of the plot.

This year, Jarod recently collected his past comics and will be offering the "trade" edition of them called There's Someone Behind You. Funded on Kickstarter (Disclosure: I was a backer), Rosello says that it contains just about every comic he's written, including a few not published previously.

In addition to this debut, Rosello will also have an anthology called Pants Optional, in which he collaborates with two other creators on a series of stories about animals without pants. That one sounds like a lot of fun.

Rosello will also be debuting his newest work, The Well-Dressed Bear Will (Never) Be Found, which Jarod tells me will be a series of 5 or 6 mini-comics, with the first debuting at SPX this year. He was kind enough to give me a review copy, and I recommend it highly. A simple bear is pestered by a phone call from a woman who wants to speak with Jonathan, who is not the bear. In this first issue, we learn just how much this displeases the bear, who only wants to live his life, making lasagna for a party of 15.

With Rosello as the unnamed narrator, we are taken through the bear's world, which is first shown in well-detailed domestic bliss but then expands out to show our bear lives in a very broken world, that gets increasingly darker as the first mini reaches its ending. It is a world where people hover over trash cans, buildings are destroyed, and helicopters roam with searchlights. Rosello makes a chilling transition here, putting his strong art skills to work showing just how desperate this world he's created is, while using an improbably long land-line as an anchor to the tranquility of the bear's house.

I know the general outline of the story, and it sounds awesome, as the bear's world gets more difficult and he must take desperate measures to keep his place in it. There is a lot of room for commentary in this comic, and it will be interesting to see how Rosello uses it (or opts not to use it) to talk about events that are very much in the public eye.

Whether you want to sample Rosello's work or invest in a bigger chunk with his new collection, Jarod is a creator to visit at SPX.

Well-dressed but unable to make it to SPX because they don't allow bears? You can find Jarod Rosello on the web here, with links to buy his books.