Minneapolite and cartoonist extraordinaire Will Dinski’s new comic is out, and you’re about to get a taste.
Two Novembers ago, I reviewed Will’s last book, Fingerprints, for Paper Darts, however that was back when we had the old website, and now the link to that page is broken. I’ve already cried about a thousand tears over this loss so it’s time to move on. If you didn’t get to read that review two years ago I’ll sum it up for you by saying that Fingerprints (published by our new friends at Top Shelf Productions) was Dinski’s phenomenal debut work that tackled the superficiality of Hollywood with a little bit of science fiction. Dinski’s new book moves away from Hollywood to, some might argue, an equally superficial titan of culture—politics.
Ablatio Penis, published by the amazing local comic design illustration studio 2D Cloud, brings readers briefly into the life of Republican gubernatorial candidate André St. Louis. Weighing in at just under 50 pages, there’s a lot going on in this patriotic-looking book—St. Louis has just broken up with his girlfriend, a woman named Susan Wallace has won the Democratic nomination to run against him, and he has received damning information that could be used to to defeat his opponent. However, St. Louis isn’t a dirty politician. He believes in the working-class. And even though he’s a ladies man, he’s an honest man. So, why does he lose the election? Like everyone, he’s got a secret.
I don’t want to give anything away about Dinski’s new story, so I’m not going to do much analysing, but this is such a great comic for the run up to the election. Ablatio Penis raised, for me at least, some interesting questions about politics, men and women, sexuality, stereotypes, and above all, whether or not we, as a country, really want the truth from our politicians. Though we often demand it, is there some level of facade that we need in order to keep the illusion of power in place to help us trust these strangers with decisions that affect us. Of course, that facade can be extremely dangerous, but Ablatio Penis isn’t about that part of things. Just about truth, and what it means when we get it.
As always, I can’t say enough good things about Dinski’s illustration. It’s so clear, concise, and classic. Not to mention his lettering, which is impeccable. I appreciate his neat decision in this book to use an illustration of a page with a bent corner to separate time, space, and storylines. Because the book is relatively short, and a quick read, it would have been easy for even simple shifts between sections to feel cramped. This little detail kept the lines clear.
One criticism I will make—not that I have to have one—is that I wish there were a little more room in the story to move around in. Some of the shifts are so sharp that, even with the nice panel separation, it felt a little like being jerked around. But maybe that’s just politics for ya.