As many of our longtime-readers know, we, at Sweet, love multimodal compositions. We love comics poetry. We love photo essays. We love poorly-drawn doodles and stunning artistic feats equally, so long as they are composed with keen awareness and breathtaking mastery. We love attention to detail. White space. Hand-written text. The closure that happens between panels. The way these pieces make our eyes dart across the digital page. We love the combination of words + images: how somehow, together, they unfurl this storytelling into something risky, vulnerable, poignant, and fun—often simultaneously.
We are delighted to feature four stunning literary nonfiction comics to round out the last issue our 10th year. Sean Ironman’s “One Way Ticket to the Promised Land” comic essay in digital greyscale offers a stark, sobering look at race relations and mass transit in the city of Orlando with its meticulous cartography, photo-realistic architecture, and rich data and research—all framed with a personal quest for adventure, and it’s unexpected results. Robert Russell’s series of vignettes, “Youth at a Glance (a tryptich),” features brightly-colored watercolors and detailed illustration amidst highly intimate, hand-written confessions of memories of childhood. Alizabeth Worley’s digitally illustrated essay, “On Book Curses: An Apology,” studies the curious history library signs cursing book-stealing patrons to “be struck with palsy” (or other ailments) from the perspective of an accidentally-borrowed-books-forever writer whose husband has had Cerebral Palsy from birth. Rounding out the comics in the issue is Michael Chaney’s gorgeous hand-painted greyscale comic “The Horse’s Mouth,” which humorously explores a rider’s relationship with his obstinate camp horse. These four comics highlight the flexibility, diversity, and scope of the sequential art medium for engaging in ugly histories, handling nostalgia, and considering the future.
Consider with us, given the extent of ugliness in our daily news, the beauty of the well-crafted word. May our little slice of literature on the Internet bring you hope and warmth for a better future.
-Leslie Salas, Graphic Nonfiction / Comics Poetry Editor