Slikmiks by Mikkel Sommer / Mekl (Kus! Mono #8)

Slikmiks is an offering from the Kus Mono line, acting as a single artist showcase for talent from around the world. This collection of shorts opens with Banana Rainbow, centering on our perceptions of reality, what’s real and what’s not. By the time you get to Wizardman and its bold use of language and obtuse references to fantasy literary canon, it becomes clear that auteur Mikkel Sommer is content to focus intently on one-note themes in each piece. The duplicitous traveler in Wizardman is offset by villagers with stark art that conveys clear facial emotions; as he gains the ultimate revenge, we learn that perhaps the takeaway lesson is to treat strangers with kindness. Best Goal is another one-noter that highlights the idea that those who succeed had the same setbacks as those who fail, they just didn’t give up, and kept showing up – that’s all that separates the winners from the losers. Sommer’s art style varies widely in each piece, sometimes taking on a more rudimentary style, like Best Goal or Cat and Mouse, and sometimes utilizes more finished backgrounds like No News Day. I loved the dark washes in You Are a Plague (my favorite piece visually in Slikmiks), which is a Matrix riff that juxtaposes the somber and the effervescent, with wonderful control of light-sourcing. Many of the pieces seem to flirt with pop culture appropriation, such as Poems Mostly with its Britney lyrics. A Problem Solved was another favorite entry (my favorite high concept in the one-person anthology), ostensibly about how to contend with overwhelming problems (dense text suitably weighs the early pages down), and moves into a literal demonstration of how to eat an orange while reading a book, thus solving the problem with a how-to depiction in orange tones, apropos. Allan ends the book in a George Constanza-like manner of a path-not-taken approach to life focusing on contrarian, opposite, nihilism. While I personally think A Problem Solved was the stronger piece to end the book on, I appreciated the small nuggets of wisdom Allan offered, like acceptance and gratitude being a cure for depression.


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