Hic & Hoc Publications
Totally by Patt Kelley
NO! This is not about the MMA fighter of the same name! This is a very special comic magazine featuring the famous circus performer, Jojo the Dog Boy! Hic & Hoc Publications is a mircopress comics publisher that puts out some very underfround, very quality comics, and Patt Kelley fits with their brand perfectly. Patt Kelley has been working on some very out of the box comics that have, for the most part, flown under the radar. With this book, I sincerely hope that changes. Check out some other works and incredible art at http://www.pattkelley.com/
As I mentioned earlier, this story features Jojo the Dog Boy, who's real name is Fedor Jeftichew. Essentially, this is a tale of historical fiction which chronicles a romance in the life of Fedor. When the story starts we see a reunion of Fedor and his love interest, Helena. As soon as these characters are introduced, the story bounces back and forth, showing pivotal moments in the couples romantic life including their introduction, possible break up, acceptance, and many many more. Throughout the whole book you will grow to love Helena and Fedor, and you won't be able to help but worry what will end up happening to this chemistry rich duo.
This is far more than a relationship story, as it is also a story of personal acceptance and growth. Kelley has a tremendously smart plan for showing how these characters evolve throughout the tale and by the end of the book, we see characters very different from those met in the first flashback. Helena starts as a child but as she growes we get to witness her blossom into a women of individuality, to the point that she herself become a "freak" by getting coated in tattoos, which was very strange for people to see in the 1800s. Fedor evolves as well, as he tries to indoctrinate himself into a life of normalcy, primarily and preferably without changing his physical appearance. The only constant as Kelley's changes continue throughout the story is the powerful relationship of this team, which anchors the reader in the obtuse title.
Kelley's illustrations are very unique. I mean.... go to that website above and see for yourself. The style is very sketchy and sacrifices some background detail to give further attention to the deep character moments, which many other comic artists can have difficulty with, I've noticed. The facial expressions are small slights in the mouth or the eye that aren't insanely detailed but still showcase a whole range of emotions very clearly Where Kelley particularly shines is with the small details of the two main characters. Fedor has hair all over his body and looking at it you can understand exactly how it feels when Helena touches him. Various markings show the density of his unique physiology. In the case of Helena, it is clear that decisive planning and placement was paramount in figuring out which tattoos go where and keeping those locations consistent from panel to panel. Lastly I would like to point out the paper and the panel colors. The paper is a glossy but has a tea stained color to it while the panels have darker, sepia toned color schemes, all of which comes together to give the feel that you are looking at a collection of photos, though for this story a collection of moments may be a more apt description.
Fedor is a highly stylized comic that has a look completely it's own and features two individuals who will resound in you for quite a while. Also, there are a couple blurbs which give you some nonfictional history on Fedor himself. With visuals that showcase life, unique characters from a subject matter people are always curious about, and powerful dialogue that feels real, Patt Kelley succeeds on all fronts with this book. Now, this book had a pretty small print run but it is still available from the Hic and Hoc store. This comic came out on August 5th.