Piggy Fire by Darin Shuler (Mini Kus! #116)

Schuler’s art style is immediately engaging. The crimson cover is eye-catching and ominous, giving way to interior art that feels like a hybrid of Charles Burns’ weighty, confident, and mostly foreboding lines, along with the type of gritty fine-line detail and alarmed emotive expressions of Noah Van Sciver. The interior coloring choices are smart, establishing ominous dark ink washes that suit the narrative trajectory until more color comes bursting along. I’m generally ok with anything that quotes Smashing Pumpkins or Pixies lyrics; here they're used to show the joyous transition/escape from the drudgery of family life to a camping trip between friends. There’s an interesting line about the city’s robotic dog enforcers “attacking a homeless encampment,” which I thought was a good note to also show how much we can feel like retreating from the extremes of modern society, and the varied activities we’ll find to shield ourselves from that. The characters in the book use “Funny Fire” additives to “Stain The Flame!” of their campfire with bright bursts of color, a reminder that we’re all just looking for a little bit of color in our life, whatever form that takes. The visual of the “Funny Fire” is an exciting pop of bright colors in the gray and black night, soon depicting a sort of comedic holy shrine for the guys to dance around. The ultimate message may be relatively simple (and psychedelic), but it’s still powerful and elicits a hearty chuckle, calling to mind the diversions we have in our own hobbies, rituals, and traditions to distract our attention from the mundane repetitious tasks in life which can be devoid of joy.


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