Another delight that’s dropped through the postbox is the past few weeks has been the first issue of Ink Brick. This is a new journal dedicated to:
… work that crosses the borders between comics and poetry, and to critical writing about the hybrid form.
Eight writer/illustrators have come together to present a small volume of work that does, indeed, explore all the potential manifestations of this hybrid genre. There are examples of illustrated poems (Keeping Time, Alexander Rothman), graphic short stories with a poetic feel (Black Magic, Gary Sullivan; 9 Weeks, L. Nichols; Mobilzation, Simone Kearney), free-text with visuals that flirt with abstraction (Untitled, Simon Moreton; The Intermission Festival, John Hankiewicz), and hybridized, text-image poems (Avenge Me, Eavesdropper, Paul K. Tunis; God Complex, Bianca Stone).
As befits it’s description as “poetry”, all of these works approach the notion of a hypbrid genre in a highly individual way; no two creators link text and image in quite the same way, nor manifest the “poem” using entirely the same mechanics. As such, it gives an excellent survey of what this hybrid form is all about: the bringing together and the manipulation of words and images in new and unexpected combinations. Interestingly, too, this collection also highlights the ability of such combinations to accommodate not just divergent styles, but divergent inspirations – from personal/memoir (Mobilization) to metaphor (God Complex) to tone-poem (Untitled).
Ink Brick’s manifesto of “crossing borders” is all exciting and inspirational stuff. As I’ve noted before, it’s of particular interest to me because I can see the potential for this sort of approach in both of my particular areas of interest: graphic medicine to archaeology comics. Identification of these works as “poetry” sidesteps the restrictions usually imposed by more didactic graphic approaches.
Issue 1 is out now, available from inkbrick.com and is recommended for anyone interested in exploring this hybrid form.