Ben Lives In a Cabin Up a Mountain
This mini-comic is one of the latest batch of three to come from wonderful Melbourne cartoonist Andrew Fulton. Fulton’s work has mostly concentrated on the infinite canvas aspects of web comics up until now, but he’s obviously decided to concentrate on designing stories for the printed page at the moment, with great results.
As with I think all of Fulton’s self-published comics, these are quaintly and gorgeously small at around A6. Just the right size for Fulton’s cartooning sensibility: understated, maybe a little arty.
Although this is still very much recognisably Fulton’s work, it looks like he’s experimenting with or perhaps evolving his style. In this mini he’s mixing his usual fun and funny, loopy, rubber-hose limbed people with more precise and geometrically stylised and constructed environments and characters. All the while still having an illustrative feel because of the lively organic line of wavering thickness from the nib of his dip pen.
The story of the titular Ben takes place over an extended period of time, many days. Even though it’s told primarily in single panel pages, and rightly so, there is also the effective use of multiple repetitive or semi-repetitive, panels to a number of the pages to ably convey this passage of time. The panels throughout are mostly borderless which helps give it an open and airy feel, much like the mountain setting of the story, and totally suitable for this ‘silent’ comic.
Printed in basically a duo-tone colour scheme created with watercolour washes, there’s plenty of interest in the drawings beyond just the character and setting design and the delicate but assured lines.
If you don’t like cartoon penis and poo then this isn’t for you, but rest assured the only aspect of them being gratuitous is that they’re played for laughs, not for grossness or shock value, and are in fact integral to the story. What great laughs they are too — great, poignant, pooey laughs. And I’m not kidding regarding the poignancy, which Fulton achieves in this very short 16 page pooey love story.