The webcomics blog about webcomics

Summer Isn’t Over Yet

I think this week’s post (which I’m trying to write in advance, so as to have a little lead time and to be able to stay away from my computer during Rosh Hashanah; hopefully the timestamp works…) is just going to be a very quick shout-out for Kelli Nelson‘s work. She’s another one of those artists who I first encountered at SPX a whole lot of years ago, in minicomics form. There’s something endearingly familiar about her style to me–which is, to me, a bit evocative of Marc Hempel‘s work on Sandman: The Kindly Ones. You might recognize her name from her work on True Porn, and of course she’s got a story called The Three Men over at Tragi-Comix (I won’t tell you much, for fear of wrecking the story, but her color work is lush and compelling; particularly well-done for a story involving blood, tragedy, and some very deft revenge.)

She’s one of those webcomics artists who I don’t know if I’d consider a webcomics artist, exactly. This is an issue I’m hoping to continue to discuss and explore in coming weeks, in that there are comics published on the web that I think of as webcomics, even though their creators don’t consider themselves as webcomics artists. Does having something on the web simply make someone a webcomics artist? I once thought so, but I’m not as sure I agree anymore.

What I do know is that Nelson’s work is incredible and I don’t think enough people know about it. Or the range of it: in addition to the comics and the minis, there’s also an assortment of other stuff, including some very cool paintings. I’m particularly taken with her lettering, just recently leaving a job where I spent a lot of my day looking at different fonts. What’s remarkable about them in this case is that they lend the work a sense of whimsy in some cases without diluting the content or stifling the message. Quite the opposite, really. It’s remarkable how in something like the Summer Vacation mini the little perfect circles over the i give the strip a playfulness, while in The Three Men the subtle use of color in the narration lends it a more sinister feel in ways.

Just browsing through her site, you can check out web versions of her stellar minis, such as What We Did On Our Summer Vacation (watch out for the most awful looking sunburn ever), some other work (she calls it “doodly crap“), and even some archived “weekly comics” from a while back before book projects and moving and such. She works as easily in fiction as autobiography, which is a rare skill, and her stories are all very evocative; it’s difficult to read something of hers and not be moved by it, to not be reminded of something in your own life which is a little bittersweet somehow, something I find particularly salient for this time of year.

Does having something on the web simply make someone a webcomics artist?

I hope not!

[…] Anne Thalheimer looks at the online comics work of Kelli […]

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