2.26.2012

Everyone Has a Tell

The Tell (Self-Published by Chris Kawagiwa): I’ve been assured that Kawagiwa has corrected all of the numerous typos for forthcoming printings of this book, and that’s a good thing, because they’d just detract from an otherwise great package. The Tell operates with a lot of intrigue and centers on an inventor subtly investigating the mystery surrounding an enigmatic ringmaster in a slightly steampunky circus. It’s a deeply engaging done-in-one (in a world left open for future adventures) with striking visuals done in gray tones and what looks like lush ink washes. My only slight reservation with how events are portrayed is that there isn’t one shred of dialogue, it’s all done in voice-over narration. On one hand, it seems to violate the “show, don’t tell” rule, but on the other hand, the recounting of the tale in this manner does seem to add to the mysterious intrigue since it’s a tale told in hindsight. Kawagiwa’s bulbous distinct figures and their emotionally charged body language keep things exciting. His style seems equally adept at figures, costumes, lions, environs, action, and the more contemplative bits. This is someone I’d like to see more work from, which really is high praise these days. www.chriskawagiwa.com Grade A-.

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