- Posted by Johanna on November 20, 2006 at 7:31 am
- Category: Minicomics
- CREDITS: by Yali Lin
I bought this minicomic by Yali Lin at SPX for one simple reason: It included this illustration, entitled “V-Day”, in color.
I fell in love (as suits the title) with the girl’s expression and the soft colors. There’s just enough pink to be topical and girly, but not so much it overwhelms the piece. (The purple and yellow do a lot to help keep it from being too Easter-eggy.) And I love her quizzical look, as though she’s thinking … well, any number of things. It engages the viewer well.
In addition to this and another illustration, With Love contains a selection of short (two or three page) stories on that universal topic. (Two of them can be read online.)
Her style is manga-influenced and gentle, which I find very appropriate for these poetic meditations on relationships. Her two-page pieces remind me of haiku, in a way. A mood is introduced, developed, and then departed from, leaving the viewer pondering. For such a short length, they aren’t unnecessarily abbreviated or overstuffed, traps many others fall into, yet they still have a point and a purpose.
Her figures are expressive and enigmatic at the same time — like real people, you see them react, but you can’t be sure that they’re being fully honest with you, as though they had complex interior motivations that might not be accurately reflected in their faces and actions.
Touches are subtle. In the first story, “Love Come and Go”, the passage of time is obviously indicated with month labels, but it can also be determined by the indications of mood in the background and the lengths of the characters’ hair. Time passes visually, not just textually.
The second piece, “Disgusted”, is an anti-smoking ad, but the time Lin spends wordlessly showing the couple together makes her rejection of his bad habit all the more powerful and saddening. “Love Is About Time” experiments with panel construction, varying shapes and sizes and including boxes of only words to make a universal point.
The book concludes with the most traditional story, a six-page effort called “Sisters” in which two girls sharing a room cope with the upcoming marriage of the older. Fighting camouflages their uncertainty about the future and unwillingness to admit how much they care for each other. A more experienced artist might have cut back a little on the captions, which often confirm what the reader already knows or can guess from the characters and situation, but that’s a suggestion for improvement, not a flaw.
I was very impressed by this effort, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more — Lin is one to watch.