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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 182: My Inner Bimbo #2

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from My Inner Bimbo #2, which was published by Oni and is cover dated October 2007. Enjoy!

Sam Kieth gets weird(er), ladies and gentlemen

My Inner Bimbo, Sam Kieth’s five-issue mini-series, is … odd. It’s not quite great, as Kieth tends to meander around far too much and doesn’t really go anywhere with his deep thoughts, but it is an artistic triumph, and we see some of that on this page. I’m not even going to try to explain what’s going on in the story, but here’s the deal: Lo is the main character, and the first caption boxes are about him, narrated by the Inner Bimbo. Lo found the body of Betsy’s ex-husband, and now he’s telling the Bimbo about the event. Kieth has some problems with pronouns – who’s the “her” in the first caption box? Who’s the “she” in the second one? Betsy? That doesn’t seem likely. It’s not the Bimbo, because it’s her voice. It’s very frustrating. Then Lo’s caption boxes take over – his look like ragged paper rather than bubbles, and they take him back to the event. Kieth does give the reader some good details about the death and its aftermath and what was going on in the apartment, but the Bimbo’s caption boxes are still annoying.

Kieth’s artwork is usually a selling point, and for the most part in this series, he delivers. This page is a nice example of his art. Lo is obsessed with women, so we get the Bimbo at the top and other women trailing off into the background before we see Lo in the top right, staring up at the wall of the apartment but also, because of the panel placement, staring back at all the women. Kieth extends the walls of the apartment vertiginously, making the flashback almost a well down which we must fall. It makes the poster of the sea serpent more dominant and creepy, as it dwarfs Lo and the others in the room. The room is angled from right to left, drawing our eye toward Lo’s caption boxes, and the curved panel border moves us back to the smaller panel where Lo and Betsy comfort each other. It’s a nice way to move our eyes and it makes the flashback more evident, because Kieth’s use of curves helps turn this into a more ethereal experience. Down in the lower left, we see the writing on the poster more clearly, and then we see the sword. Kieth links the curved sword to the panel borders, and notice that the table on which the sword rests appears longer in the final panel than it does in the bird’s-eye view of the room. Kieth stretches it to make it more mysterious and also to make the flashback more unusual, and then we see Lo bending in, anchoring the distended panel by his mundane appearance and questioning look. He stands in for the skeptical reader and also leads us onto the next page.

Kieth is an unusual craftsman, and he doesn’t always pay enough attention to his line work, but on this page, he does a very nice job both with the pencils and the design. While the initial narration might be confusing, Lo’s narration helps get us into the scene and the way Kieth lays out the page is very well done. My Inner Bimbo is a very strange comic, but this page, at least, does a good job of involving us in what’s going on.

Next: You’d think I’d have already featured a Joe Casey comic, but this is the first one! Such are the vagaries of randomness! Check out more randomness (and some order) in the archives!

4 Comments

I don’t know if I’ve ever commented on lettering before, but I feel like that page would work better with more natural looking hand-lettering. Or maybe it’s just the stylized caption boxes with the drop-shadow…something just looks a little off to me. Fantastic art though.

Speaking of Kieth’s art…I love it, but I own very little of his work (the first arc of Sandman and an issue or two of The Maxx). Anyone recommend any of his books in particular?

Diggity: In my humble opinion, Sam Kieth’s best work is Four Women, a mini-series he did for Wildstorm back in 2001/02. It’s really excellent writing and features some of his best artwork, too.

I was going to mention Four Women. Honest!

I like Marvel Comics Presents 100, a Wolvey/GR/Doom thing inked by, iirc, Tim Vigil.

Sandman and Maxx are probably his best works. Epicurus the Sage is pretty cool too.

Some of the stuff he writes himself isn’t among my favorites of his, although Zero Girl 1 and what I’ve read of Scratch (a werewolf teen that encounters Batman) and Ojo look cool.

He’s definitely cool, though.

Thanks for the recommendations! Four Women looks interesting, I’ll check it out.

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