Hamilton, Ontario’s Joe Ollmann has been self-publishing his comic WAG for 11 years now, and his editorial strip “Job’s Palace” had an impressive run in The Hamilton Spectator, crossing boundaries between the conventional gag comic strip format and a journalist’s column. His scratchy, nervous lines, coupled with a deceptive, cartoony sense of perspective, lend an eerie and ironic self-conscious tension to the stories’ often painful subject matter.
Chewing on Tinfoil ($15.95 paper 1-894663-15-2, 160 pp., Insomniac Press) collects nine of Ollmann’s character-driven stories into his first commercially published book. Ollmann writes self-deprecatingly of his own work: “I often start a drawing, against conventional artistic wisdom, with a nose and build the figures and scene around that single central image.” Figures’ heads are larger than life, their arms and legs thin and caricaturish; backgrounds filled with little telling details and a sophisticated use of grey tone create claustrophobic panels filled with emotion. Dave Howard