Comic Solutions

Sweaterweather: & Other Short Stories

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-3-35-12-pmSweaterweather: & Other Short Stories
Sara Varon
First Second
February 2016

Long ago, in a world far, far away, before Odd Duck, Robot Dreams, and Bake Sale were ever glimmers in the eyes of the world, Sara Varon created Sweaterweather. A collection of short comics that Sara created to showcase some of the works she had created over the years for various projects. But…sadly it was lost to time. Or at least to being out of print for many years. But thankfully First Second has brought it back to life, with additional content, new cover, and introductions to each of the works. And so Sweaterweather once again lives!

What I like about Sara Varon, other than being an extremely nice person who forgave me for misspelling her last name in a different review, is that she has the ability to tell a good story with relatively simple illustrations. And I say relatively simple, only because she has simplified her line to the bare necessities to make the characters recognizable and enjoyable. A simple brush line creates each character giving them a fluid shape and structure that allows them to move in any direction that they need. Modern readers might think of characters from Adventure Time, but really it harkens back to early Disney Cartoons, where the characters often had no recognizable joints or hard angles, and could stretch out their arms and legs to any proportions they wanted. While Sara doesn’t take it to quite that length, it allows for characters to move freely with each other. More than that though, it will remind younger readers of themselves. Because when we’re younger we do seem to be able to flop about in strange positions that make it look like we have no joints and that we can stretch out our arms and legs as long as we like. So it allows readers to see something of themselves in the characters.

The other thing that I like about Sara’s illustrations in this book, is that she sticks to one or two colors. While for other artists this could prove limiting trying to display depth and emotion, Sara uses it to her advantage to make it feel like we can walk into the scene with the characters. That we can take a part in their play because the action is right in front of us. In addition, only having one or two colors lets us imagine the world being anything we want it to look like. The sky can be green, dogs can be orange. We can make ourselves be a part of the world in any fashion that we choose.

The other nice aspect of this collection, is that Sara tells us how each story came to be. Allowing us to get insight into her creative process and see how she grows and changes over time as a creator. Readers, both young and old, will enjoy seeing this thought process, as it allows them to see how the creative process can change over time. Which is often something that other creators have trouble allowing a reader to see.

This book belongs on the shelf of anyone that is a creator or enjoys creating to learn how the process can change over time. It also deserves a spot on the shelf of anyone that is just a fan of quirky fun stories. You won’t regret it at all.

ARC provided by Gina at First Second

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