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ABLATIO PENIS by Will Dinski

2D Cloud usually has very strong production quality; professional polish where you can still sense the hand of the artist involved. To me, something like The Death of Elijah Lovejoy sort of epitomizes their publishing aesthetic. Ablation Penis is a little different in that it still has extremely sound production quality, but I feel that it favors the slick and weighty professionalism over the “hand of the artist” dynamic. And that’s ok, it’s appropriate given the nature of the work. Dinski is an Isotope Award Winner and for just $5 you can be witness to the fact that he certainly has something to say in this book. It’s proudly printed by union workers and I like the sense that he’s sort of taunting us with the use of the ol’ red, white, and blue cover graphics. The figure scale inside is small, something I’m always attracted to, with dense and detailed blue lines executed very consistently. The focus quickly moves from relationship woes to larger political woes. The sense of sarcasm builds into something of a GOP gubernatorial candidate parody, with government inadequacy being emblematic of another type. The candidate is basically clueless with women and honest to the point of it being detrimental. He faces off against another candidate; they both have dirt on each other and it’s all a matter of how they choose to use it. One of the best parts of Dinski’s approach is that he uses a few key blank blue panels that effectively control the pace. Much of the narrative weight is also carried with no dialogue. It’s a very engaging read that uses virility as a stand-in for how, consciously or not, our perception of candidates (or simple party line voting) is largely what votes are based on, not necessarily a candidate’s objective stance on issues we care about. Perhaps Dinski dedicates a long time making this singular point, but it’s nevertheless a worthy topic that more people need to be exposed to in any election cycle. Grade A.

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