Synopses & Reviews
The "graphic lit" love child of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Raymond Carver, Carol Swain's comics first appeared in print in the late 1980s, and Swain has since contributed her biting, bedazzling comics to over twenty anthologies across the globe. Her two graphic novels, Invasion of the Mind Sappers and Foodboy, have been kept in print by Fantagraphics Books, and Alan Moore describes Swain's Foodboy as "dark and full of life, like soil... a perfect example of what modern comics are capable of if they only try." Collecting over thirty short stories by the London-based writer/artist, Crossing the Empty Quarter and Other Stories is Swain's first career-spanning collection. Her introspective, boldly executed, and visually unique works are peppered with magical realism, autobiography, and undying punk attitudes, and while Swain's canon of stories runs through a wide range of emotions and situations, they are all tied together with an art style that is universally appealing and undeniably unique.
"This career-spanning collection of Swain's short stories is a needed retrospective on an underrated cartoonist. Swain trained as a painter, and her comics are distinguished by an accomplished, atmospheric tonal style that delicately shades her carefully observed, heavily stylized characters and landscapes. Her panels feature striking compositions within a strict grid for panel layouts that enables startling transitions keeping the reader off balance. The stories vary from slight incident or political parable to visual tone poem, usually building to an oblique punch line. In some, Swain refracts subcultural narrative traditions through a blue-collar, British sensibility; other pieces are merely elusive to a fault. Many of her best stories take place in a literal nowhere an uncharted land (in the title story), an obsidian deposit, a toxic shore but even in recognizable landscapes characters seem to be on an endless search. The book is rounded out by some sharp political work, including an effective piece recapitulating the well-documented barriers Florida voters encountered in the 2000 U.S. presidential election. The collection overall makes a case for Swain as a visual storyteller whose unmistakable style will surely earn her followers willing to forgive the occasional slight plot line." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A collection of over thirty short stories that are peppered with magical realism, autobiography, and undying punk attitudes.