Glomp: Amanda Vahamaki

July 11, 2008

A panel from “The Trashing Party” by Amanda Vahamaki

The best story in Glomp #9 also bridges the gap between the freer art and more traditional storytelling. In “The Trashing Party,” Amanda Vähämäki draws a palpable dread in nervous pencils. Her art recalls Katri Sipilainen’s, but with more particulars. Each of Vähämäki’s characters is an individual, just like their place, a factory town’s school. Garish color underscores a pervasive unease.

The story focuses on a boy worried sick about the werewolves that have been terrorizing the school. He’s not the only one: even though the wolves have been caught, the adults in charge have sweat beading on their foreheads. A school assembly– that site of schoolchildren’s ultimate dread– threatens to go south at any moment. No one save the boy seems to realize it. Everyone else is happily beating up the werewolf gang, following the principal’s orders. But the wolves are right next door. It would all be terribly dreamlike if Vähämäki didn’t reject that option outright. The story’s ending lets everything grow long after reading’s done.

A page from Amanda Vahamaki’s story “The Trashing Party”

Vähämäki, a Finnish artist who works with the Canicola collective in Italy and KutiKuti back home, has proven herself a talent to watch, not for the future but right now. Her story “The Bun Field” was published online by Action Yes, and another of her short comics, “Prophet,” can be downloaded free from the German publisher Electrocomics. Neither has the impact of “The Trashing Party,” but all are solid work from an artist for this decade and the next.

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