Time For Another Mini Kus! Week : David Collier’s “Before The Pandemic There Was A Touch Football Tourney” (Mini Kus! #95)

It seems like there’s a new foursome of Mini Kus! releases from our Latvian friends at Kus! every time I turn around, and trust me when I say that is in no way meant to sound like a complaint. In fact, if they really were putting these out every time a person turned around that would probably be a good thing, because while there’s nothing remotely “uniform” about this now-long-running series of stand-alone comics, they are uniformly interesting and uniformly worth checking out. I’ve made it a habit of reviewing all of ’em within short order of their being published for the past few years now, and that habit continues this week. First up, then : Mini Kus! #95, an intriguing autobio work by the great David Collier bearing the mouthful of a title Before The Pandemic There Was A Touch Football Tourney.

Not that the comic itself is primarily about said tourney, mind you, its main focus being Collier and his wife visiting their son at his school in Toronto, but the title does make perfect sense, in the overall scheme of things, in the way that Collier’s work always does, which is to say — well, what am I trying to say? Sometimes I tend to lose track of such things, which I freely admit isn’t the greatest look for a critic.

Still, I’m not the only unreliable narrator in town, as right off the bat in this comic there are indications that what we’re seeing here is generally true, but perhaps not entirely reliably-narrated (much of the dialogue is deliberately info-dumpish, for instance), and strange as this may be to consider, the simple fact is that’s not necessarily as out of the ordinary as it sounds — I mean, are our own memories the most reliable narrators of our lives? Mine certainly isn’t, but apart from those scant few folks with a photographic memory, whose really is? Collier has a way of being honest about such things without ever coming right out and saying so, just as the other cartooning disciplines he’s made his mark in over the course of his illustrious career sometimes “bleed in” to whatever he happens to be working on at the moment. It’s all kind of an amalgamation at this point, with biography, history, visual essay, fiction, and yes, autobio stirred into the same creative pot. Newcomers to his stuff might find it disorienting at first, I suppose, but by the same token it’s in no way overtly confusing — and it’s all utilized expertly in service of an over-arching theme.

In this particular instance, that theme is connection — with loved ones, yes, but also with the world at large and society in general. Of course it’s far to soon to declare the COVID-19 pandemic “over” in any way, shape, or form, but by and large most of us are at least starting the process of getting back into whatever “the swing of things” is, and finding out as we go along that this “new normal,” for good or ill (perhaps a bit of both?) isn’t the “old normal” at all. But maybe it’s trying to be? Or at least to effectively mimic it? The events depicted herein, then, occurring as they do right before everything locked down, take on an entirely different character and sense of significance in light of everything that’s happened since.
If you can’t tell, for a fairly straightforward (especially by Mini Kus!‘ frequently-experimental standards) story, this one left me with a lot of questions, but that’s due more than anything to stuff that isn’t even in the comic per se — which rather strikes me as being the point. “Just before it all changed” is perhaps the most rich vein of creativity for anyone to be mining right now, because it’s inherently loaded with extra import, and Collier’s narrative is specifically tailored to engender all sorts of “then and now” comparisons.
It’s also, as you’d no doubt expect, exceedingly well-drawn. They don’t come much more skilled or intuitively adept at drawing the eye into a scene than this guy, and his texturing, shading, and composition are all pretty much what I would describe as flawless. Like his writing, his art brings out the all complexities in the most deceptively “simple” of situations, and stands as testament to the infinite richness of everyday life — in this case, the everyday life that we all miss so dearly.


Before The Pandemic There Was A Touch Football Tourney is available for $7.00 from the Kus! webshop at https://kushkomikss.ecrater.com/p/38343259/before-the-pandemic-by-david

Also, this review — and all others around these parts — is “brought to you” by my Patreon site, where I serve up exclusive thrice-weekly rants and ramblings on the worlds of comics, films, television, literature, and politics for as little as a dollar a month. Subscribing is the best way to support my continuing work, so I’d be very appreciative if you’d take a moment to give it a look by directing your kind attention to https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypse

4 thoughts on “Time For Another Mini Kus! Week : David Collier’s “Before The Pandemic There Was A Touch Football Tourney” (Mini Kus! #95)

  1. Pingback: I Don’t Recall Saying “Good Luck” – This Week’s Links - Avada Classic Shop

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