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Alex Fellows' Canvas
By LJ Douresseau
November 4, 2004 - 15:10

Fantagraphics Books
Writer(s): Alex Fellows
Penciller(s): Alex Fellows
Cover Artist(s): Alex Fellows
80 pp., black and white w/color cover, $9.95

Canvas is a 14-year-old girl in the grips of the one quality she’s had time to develop in her short life, curiosity. Curiosity leads as she becomes attracted to two guys during a camping trip with her parents; her father is a frog, and her mother is a pig. Curiosity sends Canvas on a double date that has an outcome for both her and her friend that shocks her, and she also gets drunk for the first time, which subsequently leads to an awful hangover.

Canadian cartoonist and Xeric Grant winner, Alex Fellows has the makings of being an alt-comics all-star, plainly evident by his first book, CANVAS. His illustrative style is heavy and layered, but is quite evocative, perfect for dealing with the delicate character emotions of non-genre comics.

He reminds me of the young Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. The quirky and fantastical elements (such as the anthropomorphic parents) will disappear over time (as it did in the Hernandez book Love & Rockets, as he delves deeper into drama. In the meantime, his storytelling is a bit oblique and only occasionally shallow. Sometimes, it’s a bit like something off the WB. That’s not a criticism aimed at saying Fellows is a hack; it’s the sign of a cartoonist lacking maturity, but not by much. In time, Fellows will have us lapping at his feet, if Canvas is any indication of the excellent comix to come. B+

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