Feb. 15, 2016
Flashed: Sudden Stories in Comics and Prose. Neufeld, Josh (editor) and Sari Wilson (editor).
Pantheon, $24.95 (184) ISBN 9780990636427

A.D.: New Orleans After the DelugeCartoonist Neufeld and writer Wilson bring together an assemblage of cartoonists and authors for a unique collaboration. Flash fiction (limited to 1,000 words for prose, four pages for comics) is produced based on a "seed story" and broken into groups of three under such intriguing thematic headings as "Shell Shocked," "Leviathan," and "Mutable Architecture." The story interpretations can share a character, an incident, a trajectory, or just a particularly rich line or word, though the most potent juxtapositions riff on a particular feeling, as in the three "Frozen" stories, which delve with differing interpretations of isolation and loneliness, or offer resonating tonal surprises, as with the "Venus & Mars" stories, which take on relationship woes. Though as a whole the comics tend to be more boldly experimental than the prose, the book itself is a fascinating example of how a transition from words to visual art and vice versa can deepen, subvert, or transform an idea in a revelatory way, and Flashed burns brightest when fired by this alchemy of discovery.

Jesse Karp

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