Blood Orange #4

Written by Various Authors
Illustrated by Various Artists

This is the final installment of Blood Orange, which was probably for the best. By this time around, the credits are not even in any particular order, which makes no sense to me. Why would you opt to do this as an editor? To anger your reader? To "challenge" them? Just to show you're so hip you don't need to tell us who's doing the artwork?

Well, it annoyed the hell out of me and made it hard for me to appreciate the stories contained within, as this anthology series sort of limps to a close.

Some Googling tells me Rebecca Dart did the opening story, which seems to be mundane until you start peering at the background and notice the subtle changes going on from page to page. All of a sudden, there's quite the story going on, and you start peering at it to see what's happening next. This was probably the highlight of this edition of Blood Orange.

Nicolas Mahler gets a slightly longer story that reminds me of something Jason might have done, as a man in a hospital bed suddenly starts to life his life fully.

Ted May pokes a bit of fun at zinesters with Supply Chain Management, which makes sense only in places, but features a caveman distro, complete with real cave men, so it's hard to complain. That one is probably funniest to those who know folks in the zine world.

Closing things up is an extended piece by Tobais Tak, whose work has probably been the most consistent of all the contributors to Blood Orange. He's got the skewed fantasy thing at work again, this time transitioning into a pseudo-romance. I wasn't quite able to make sense of the ending, but his artwork is visually interesting, and I liked the idea of mashing up genres.

Overall, Blood Orange was definitely an experiment that worked more often than it didn't, but seemed to run out of steam fairly quickly. Still, for those looking for new artists and comics that would have trouble making it on their own in book form, Blood Orange is worth a shot--and also pretty cheap on Fantagraphics's website. If you're willing to take a chance, you might find a new favorite or two.

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