Published on October 16th, 2012 | by ALICE0
Comic Review: “Nelson” An Anthology from Blank Slate Books
At TCAF 2012, Toronto comic fans were privileged to not only get creator driven alternative comics from Toronto but also a lot of international books and creators. I talked to the guys behind Blank Slate Books from the UK. They were super cool and kind, I was lucky to meet them and get a copy of Nelson as well as some other UK comics. When they handed me Nelson they were practically beaming with pride. When I read it I totally understood why.
Nelson is a pretty big book, an anthology aimed at showcasing UK’s talented comic creators. Usually I’m not into anthologies, they are great for artists to get their short work published but no matter the theme I find my attention wandering midway through. The really cool thing about Nelson is that instead of a bunch of short stories around a theme it is a collection of short stories that paint a picture of a person’s life. Each story is a defining moment of a year for Nel, each artist got a year to work with and editors Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix put it all together.
I don’t want to give to much away about the overall story but it is all really well put together. The book covers 44 years of Nel’s life; toddler stages where the focus was her parents, her angst filled teen years, to her struggling with art during her 20s and beyond. Another neat aspect of this anthology is that each year in Nel’s life lines up with significant moments in history. Events and cultural phenomena such as the Spice Girls and the 9/11 terrorism attacks play into Nel’s life story.
Nelson doesn’t feel like anthology created by 54 different people, it feels like a story with lots of chapters. Nel is a well thought out, defined character and her story shows us that the journey in life is never a straight line and what may be stone carved opinions in your twenties will evolve as a person grows into their forties.
When it comes to art Nelson makes clear that the United Kingdom has a diverse and talented cartoonist community. None of the stories had art that I hated flat out. One can tell the production of this book is very well organized because the style of the art often matches the mood of that particular story. So even if this artist’s style isn’t your cup of tea (tea reference for the UKers reading this) it works because that is the nature of that story.
Blank Slate Books has every reason to be proud for creating an excellent work of art, and redefining what an anthology means. The United Kingdom has some excellent comics creators to be proud of, thanks for representing at TCAF 2012 and sharing your art with us.
Nelson by Blank Slate Books.
Also check out this video interview I did with Martin Steenton and Darryl Cunningham about Nelson & Blank Slate Books: