THOUGHT BUBBLE 2019!
Debuting at Thought Bubble via the Wine & Zine collective, the first thing that strikes the reader about Zara “Zukinee” Williams’s Roy & Rei at the Fair is its vibrant use of colour. It’s immediately entrancing and perfectly encapsulates the dizzying hubbub of its fairground location. Billed as a comedy drama, this episode follows the titular duo as they spend a day at the fair, enjoying the rides, visiting the Haunted House and spending time on the Big Wheel. But the ghosts of the past are encroaching on the present for Roy as events at the fair begin to stir up emotions…
While Roy & Rei at the Fair is perhaps slight in narrative it has a huge appeal in terms of connective characterisation and enchanting visual storytelling. One of Williams’s greatest strengths here is her ability to step back from dialogue and allow the action to tell her tale for her without need for any overt exposition. The unconventional panel structure of the opening pages of the characters’ day at the fair, for example, beautifully captures a feeling of the bustling and eventful passage of time. It’s a trick she uses to differing effect throughout the comic to build mood, whether that be a sense of joyful exuberance or, in the more dramatic segments, something more measured and carefully evocative.
Roy & Rei at the Fair is a compact tale and to dissect the key narrative details here would be to give too much away, but there’s much to recommend this short in terms of pure craft. As mentioned, use of colour is quite stunning (a late double-page spread of the view from the Big Wheel is enchanting in its presentation) and there are other neat touches like dialogue being replaced by symbols to give a more animated feel to exchanges. While backgrounds are occasionally sparse this serves a purpose to put the emphasis on the characters and their emotional states and move them centre stage. Thought Bubble always gives us an opportunity here at Broken Frontier to spotlight the comics of artists we haven’t featured on the site before and based on the artistic strengths of Roy & Rei at the Fair I’ll certainly be investigating the work of Zara “Zukinee” Williams far more closely in future.
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