Wonderful review of TALKING LINES in the Boston Globe

Humanity, glorious and vile

The Boston Globe    |    Carlo Wolff    |    January 3, 2010

R.O. Blechman maximizes the minimal, his economy of line speaking volumes. “Talking Lines’’ collects work from the late ’50s to now, showcasing Blechman’s singular blend of the abstract and the whimsical. His stories - some brief as haiku, others the equivalent of a novella, like “Georgie,’’ his heartrending depiction of a family life as nuclear as it can get - focus on vulnerability and capriciousness. Blechman’s figures operate on a blank slate; there’s no background on these pages, only the lines and the shaky, childlike thought balloons of the protagonists. Despite this austerity, Blechman’s world, black-and-white with spot color, pops with wonder and wit. “Tolstoy’s Pen’’ is the last word on consumer fetishism, “Metamorphosis’’ a clever twist on Kafka, “Magicat’’ a fantasy update of George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat.’’ Like contemporary Saul Steinberg, Blechman knows better than to fill the page; his figures, human or otherwise, need their space - and occupy it fully. This isn’t a graphic novel - it’s comics in all their permutations - but it sure is graphic.

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