I’m delighted comics anthology Karagoz is finally available online for everybody to buy. It’s an anthology I enjoyed immensely after picking it up at Thought Bubble last year from contributor Warwick Johnson Cadwell’s table, having been instantly drawn by that great cover; a quick flick through being enough to establish this was something worth buying. Karagoz is, above else, simply a visual smorgasbord and a really fun read. And not enough comics are fun- either they’re busy trying to propagate certain messages or addressing specific issues or being experimental. Let’s face it- it’s not the easiest thing to combine fun with more challenging material.
Which makes it refreshing to read something absorbing and light. The quality of illustration on display here is a sky-high stand-out point, from Nadine Redlich’s covers to Rita Furstenau’s 4 page mythic folk-tale and wonderfully detailed endpapers, to Max Fiedler’s dreamscapes, to Thomas Wellman’s energetic centre-fold ‘Warzards’ spread. There’s so much to take in in these vistas, something going on in every corner, each individual character busily involved in his own shenanigans.
The comics are pretty good, too. A favourite is Meier’s unnerving ‘Michael’ contemplating the future evolution of the android after David in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Meier hones in on the science fiction trope of what it means to be human, and the inevitable manner in which artificial intelligence prove themselves to be so by mirroring the worst of us: Michael has been programmed to consume and want without ever feeling fulfilled.
Karagoz is pretty much a humour anthology, and Lomp’s Golge and Schuster’s Koala Adventures are both similarly amusing in tone: Golge begins with an ominous Galactus-esqe destroyer in the starry night sky but proves to be something else, while Schuster’s shorts see his cute slacker Koala engage in various non-tasks. Cadwell’s Black Imps vignette is imbued with his signature frenetic lines and style and an oozing cool attitude\.
There is the odd damp squib- Lisa Roper’s Before and After felt out of place, and Olaf Alber’s Kontakwano a little too zany in execution, though his cartooning is fantastic. The length of the stories is kept short, and is interpolated with the double page illustration spreads which keeps things interesting and the pages aturning, never allowing for boredom. Overall, Karagoz is a gem of an anthology and one you would be remiss not to pick up.
You can buy Karagoz here.