Monday, March 22, 2010

"GIANT NAKED BABY: Chapter One" by David Yoder: A Review


"It's two a.m. in this small, mid-western town.
No one is awake to see the strange visitor . . .
His presence brings many questions--
Who is he? Where is he from? And why is he here?
Some of these questions will be answered,
but not all."
David Yoder's mini-comic, "GIANT NAKED BABY: Chapter One" is a story expressing humankind's interaction with the ineffable. An empty, silent vessel, the Giant Naked Baby can be read to represent great, spiritual mysteries.

Buddha-like in appearance and enormous in size, the Baby walks into a small town and interrupts the routine of Denise Baker and her grandfather, Jonathan, by sitting in front of their house and blocking their ability to go to church. The comic, though humorous in nature, taps into the deep issue of how one should react when confronted with something truly spiritual. Yoder contends that the main aspect of the story is simply dealing with "well, how would you react to this thing being in front of your house?" However, the most telling shot in the comic occurs in panel two of the third page, where the Giant Naked Baby faces a church sign that says "God Welcomes All." This is part of the underlying message of the comic: despite all that various organized religions teach about God's love, we do not often welcome the truly spiritual things in life, even when they are sitting right in front of us.

Yoder's drawings for "GIANT NAKED BABY: Chapter One" are a stylistic departure from the visually-raw journal comics he is best known for. This mini-comic is a breakthrough, demonstrating not only a powerful command of storytelling, comedy, and mystery, but also Yoder's ability to bring a page to finish. The artwork features gray-tones, patterned textures, and backgrounds that give a solid sense of place to the story. The Giant Naked Baby is drawn always with a clean, dead line, sometimes surrounded by a halo, while the other characters and scenery are rendered more chaotically.

Though no longer available in print, you can read "GIANT NAKED BABY: Chapter One" online in its entirety at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/70025387@N00/sets/72157618607119144/
If you like what you see, look for David Yoder at the Toronto Comics Art Festival and SPX 2010 to obtain a copy of the complete, four-chapter "GIANT NAKED BABY" saga, a work currently in progress.

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