Saturday, June 22, 2024

Nadine Redlich's, "Doing the Work," is as Funny as it is Tragic

\In 2018 I admired the dark wit of Nadine Redlich's, "I Hate You--You Just Don't Know it Yet," and in 2021 I loved the weird minimalism of her, "Stones," comic. Her latest book is, "Doing the Work," and as with the previous titles is being published by Rotopol. It assembles a number of strips from ones revisiting the rock in, "Stones," to pieces with birds, a dog that is alarmingly joyful while at the same time seeming a bit, "Off," weird representations of the human ego, and plenty of other comics that range from a single page to a handful.

There is a clever and intentional disconnect in some of the pieces as they are brightly illustrated while at the same time carrying an immense sadness or sense of dread. A man being interviewed is asked what superpower he'd pick if he could have any and after thinking declares, "Empathy." Someone working in an office checks their watch and notices it is the designated time to cry. A piece titled, "Happy Forever," features a cartoonish with an unending smile that almost looks more like a toothy scream than a vignette of joy. There is a nice sharp edge to the illustrations and while at first glance things look joyful with bold reds, yellows, and blues often featured, there is a melancholy undercurrent to Redlich's work once you look past the, "Cute," and see the hint of despondency sneaking in around the metaphorical edges. It's fantastic, in other words. It isn't all cynical, by any means, with some strips carrying a nice little bit of optimism to balance the book out, but the pieces with, "Bite," are the ones that really stuck with me.

"Doing the Work," impressed me with author Nadine Redlich's lovely illustrations that combine wonderfully with her sardonic wit. I'd encourage you to ask your local bookstore or comic shop to get you a copy--that or you can visit Rotopol's site if you'd like to order directly from them. I loved everything by Redlich I've read, so I can't wait for what she cooks up next!

5 out of 5 stars.

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