We at Fleen have never been shy about our admiration of Meredith Gran and what she’s doing on Octopus Pie; in fact, we at Fleen own a number of OP originals, and love them dearly. We’ve also made no secret of the fact that Gran’s work has been improving, has taken a tremendous jump particularly in the past two years, and especially since she announced that she was winding up the strip. It’s like she’s got decades of further improvement in front of her, and is determined to not let any of it go unseen by readers that might not follow her to the next project¹, so she’s throwing it all in now.
But sometimes she finds a way to make it screamingly apparent that maybe nobody understands how comics work, how they can tell stories uniquely, like she does. Case in point: the top tier of panels in today’s update. Marigold is knitting, time pauses at sunrise and she is for a moment lost in a reverie of yarn and needles and contemplation of possible futures — disaster or new day. I suspect she has been at it all night.
It’s gorgeous. It’s immediately intuitive what’s going on. It’s emotionally affecting, even before you realize the whole time, Jane was asleep next to her, and that the sweater is a gift. It would lose a fair amount of its impact if not for the stellar coloring job by Valerie Halla, but that image lived in Gran’s brain first, and she had to direct Halla to get it just right. I honestly can’t think of as simple and quiet a collection of panels, such a small moment that revealed itself so beautifully.
While the remainder of Octopus Pie is now in that borderland where the most appropriate unit of time is shifting from months to weeks, Gran is in no way easing off. There’s no senioritis here; she’s spent the past decade achieving ever-higher plateaus of skill and will make us miss these characters like crazy.
But for now, someplace in Brooklyn it is that dawning time when we’re not sure what the future brings, and a young woman is knitting a sweater forever.
Spam of the day:
Obama–is- leaving, this- is- your – last chance
Not for another nine days, he’s not, but you’re right, it’s nearly my last change. The Six-F is still taking donations, folks. Ten causes, I match your contributions up to a total of ten thousand damn US dollars cash money.
Oh, and thank you, President Obama. You’ve been better than we deserved and we shall miss you mightily.
¹ Memo to readers that don’t follow Gran to her next project: What the hell, people?