cover image Big Gorgeous Jazz Machine

Big Gorgeous Jazz Machine

Nick Francis Potter. Driftwood, $24.99 trade paper (132p) ISBN 978-1-949065-14-5

Potter (New Animals) thrusts the reader into oblique, complex, and varied forms of comics-as-poetry, exhibiting a frequently thrilling and esoteric form, but not quite finding a style of his own. The images often “rhyme,” text becomes part of the art, and even blotches of ink take on narrative. Some of the pieces follow a story arc, while others veer toward abstracted patterns. Colors clash nonintuitively while words are paneled off as though they were individual drawings. Potter’s imagery centers around disintegration: things decay or burst into flames on personal, environmental, and metaphorical levels. For example, “a man in a shirt and white tie catches on fire,” only he has time to chat up a woman in a bar, interrupting her vacation until she pours gasoline on him. In a story where animals have disappeared, humans “hack at the landscape, set enormous fires, and build unnatural water structures.” Potter wears his influences plainly on the page, primarily Warren Craghead’s layouts, as well as Austin English’s use of color. Still, it’s a chance for indie comics students to appreciate how an artist processes the possibilities of the niche form, despite its derivative qualities. (Mar.)