Night and Day by Sarah Becan
Night and Day, from Sarah Becan and Chicago-based Shortpants Press, is another perfect example of what mini-comics can do so well. In just over 50 pages, Becan creates a tight, engrossing story of love and insecurity. This mini is the third of the loosely connected Shuteye series. I haven’t read one or two, but the third one stands alone as one of the finest story-based minis I’ve read in some time.
The screen-printed cover is an eye-catching sparkle tinged charcoal. The two main characters, Ari and Theo, sit on the steps of an abandoned house watching fireflies light the night sky. On the back cover, a short synopsis of the story grabs your attention.
”While walking through the wilderness of the northern Midwest, a couple stumbles upon a mysterious abandoned house and suddenly find themselves off the map.”
I liked this touch; reminds you of picking up a novel and checking out the back cover for a description. “Off the map,” is also a perfect description of this tale. That subtle phrase captures the essence of this tale of a newly engaged couple. Theo is a grad student in a family of intellectuals and atheists. Ari never went to college and her dad is a teamster. Despite her distaste for roughing it in the wilderness, Ari finds herself happy to have Theo all to her own. She’s never felt good enough around Theo’s family or roommates. In the Wisconsin wilderness, she feels more comfortable in her own skin.
While wandering through the woods, Ari catches just a single glimpse of a mysterious house above the tree line. It disappears only to return when they take an unexpected detour. The abandoned house becomes the main character suddenly, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to spoil Becan’s wonderful tale here.
The visual details in Night and Day are served by simple shapes and generous grey-based shading. Becan’s art exists in some kind of comic art middle-ground. It’s more realistic than cartoonish, but she’s confident enough in her line to just give her figures a basic shape and her faces simple expressions. Eyes and mouths are often just tiny circles. Yet, you’re never guessing at the emotions of her characters.
Night and Day will only set you back $4. It's available from the Shortpants Press website. While you're there, check out this lovely review of Oliver East's Trains Are Mint. You know we love our Trains Are Mint here at the SIZE MATTERS offices.