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Friday, July 24, 2015

There's No Bath In This Bathroom. Joe Decie (Writer & Artist). Commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (2015)

A very engaging and enjoyable fragment, there is not really enough structure to qualify as an anecdote, about a visit to a pizza shop in Toronto. Joe Decie was at a comics festival in Toronto in 2014 and met some other comics creators, called his son from Toronto, went to a pizza shop and avoided staying in the student hostel where he had attempted to sleep the night before.
It is hard to beat as a summary of nothing in particular and in less conspicuously talented hands would have been just that. Instead it is amusing and engaging, light as a feather and hiding the considerable skill in plain sight.
The gray wash of the art is soft and inviting, it provides just enough detail to give a strong context without ever being too specific. The panels are carefully done so they look a little like photographs, some of the cast are drawn with detail, others are a bit looser. It is a nice way to deal with memory, people who are better remembered appear with greater clarity than those who are just passing by.
What is striking is how artfully Joe Decie uses the slimmest of threads to create an engaging moment, a visit to a dark and very grimy toilet, an interaction with a man in a car park. None bear any real weight in themselves, it is all in how they are told. The editing and pacing of the story does all the heavy lifting and the pleasure in the book is how well it is done.
The balance between the captions and the panels and the use of panel sizes to control the pace of the storytelling are beautifully done. Joe Decie has created a rarity, a friendly comic that charms and amuses without overstaying its welcome.

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