Graham Annable's follow up to his Harvey-nominated Grickle, further Grickle collects beautiful stories in which devilish comedy and eye-watering art enclose a rich, chocolaty center of sad poetry and bruised but intact innocence. Annable has been creating these stories for his own satisfaction concurrent with his commercial animation work, and it shows in their intimate, conversational tone and wholly personal outlook. The skills honed at his day job are just as evident in the deft, fluid way he puts his stylish figures through their paces - it's like listening to the eloquent solo improvisations of a jazz musician who has sharpened his chops playing every night in the band. Even several panels of an Annable character just sitting still at a table practically glitter with life and cartoon joy.
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Annable's visual inspiration seems to be Captain Kangaroo's cartoon feature Tom Terrific. His figures are shrouds with stick arms and legs and faces on top, but frantically expressive, anyway. Mostly young, they do more-or-less young-person things. Two guys going to a party ride with a boorish friend who gets them in a fight that puts them in the ER. A guy with a helluva cough sees a doctor who dons a football helmet and butts him; the guy slams back and thinks he's killed the doc. An out-of-work guy living with a gal thinks her pet wombat has killed the next-door neighbor's dog; while he's elaborately dealing with that, she moves out to take a job in another town. Annable realizes these scenarios with considerable poignance, despite the occasional ridiculous detail (e.g., the wombat), giving them the punch of good short stories. Shorter gag stories fill out the book. Ray Olson
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