Quill & Quire | Quill & Quire Staff | September 15, 2004
Quill & Quire Reviews THE FRANK RITZA PAPERS
From the October 2004 issue:
The word most often used to describe comics artist David Collier's work is "quirky," but "odd" and "unique" better sum up his world view and his art. Collier draws realistically but with an almost self-consciously naive style and his objective essays, which often form the narrative backbone of his work, contain much autobiography. The Frank Ritza Papers, Collier's fourth book is made up of a 30-page autobiographical; comics essay entitled "Homme de le Bois" which explores among other things Collier's fascination with Frank Ritza, a successful artist who lived in rural Ontario.
The essay explains how Collier lived for long stretches in remoter communities without a regular job, and so spent a large part of his collecting wood for the stove to keep warm (homme de le bois is a French Canadian term for "woodsman"). The essay is meandering yet cohesive and engaging, and is interspersed among 150 pages of Collier's sketchbook drawings done at home and abroad. The sketches capture the same quiet, determined spirit Collier brings to his wood collecting. At the end of the essay, when Collier comes across Ritza's haunting paintings of a rural legion hall, the reader senses an instant kinship between the two artists and perhaps an instant understanding.