zegas number one:
everything and more


This is one of those comics that I think of as near-platonically ideal. Along with series like THB and Eightball and other single-creator comics anthologies, I think of Zegas as diverse, personal, and in its way, basically perfect. It was no real surprise to me when Fiffe's excellent TCJ column on single-creator anthologies appeared last May (despite it missing some notable creators; alas), as he's absolutely the man for the job, following in those well-mapped footsteps himself; the man's corresponded with Ditko for heaven's sake, and has been making comics now for years and years and years. It shows.

Zegas is nigh-perfect to me. It's what comics should be. It's everything.

I don't want to talk too much about the style and art and whatnot, as those will be thoroughly addressed soon enough, for now I just want to talk about what Zegas means. What it is as a whole, and what it represents at large. Briefly, Zegas Number One consists of four strips: a twenty page existential opener featuring one of the title characters, Emily Zegas, the sister of the Zegas sibling pair; the comic then moves into an oblique little reflective, poetic one-pager, then we meet the male Zegas sibling, Boston, for a funny, violent little seven-pager, and then we get a closing, and absolutely amazing, little abstract reportage strip.

What makes anthologies work is emotional breadth. You want an encapsulation of a good range of possible perspective and experience with an anthology, not just a singular emotive note. The anthology is a symphony, not a pop song. It speaks to a broad range of experience, not a specific emotional tenor. And Fiffe makes the range work, here, immersing his audience in the variety of interpersonal relationships that grow up around the setting of the emergent modern urban environment. For Fiffe doesn't appear to be much concerned with nature or its landscapes or contexts, in Zegas. Zegas is a book about cities and the people in them; how people are shaped by both the structure of city life itself, and also, of course, by each other.

Zegas (the series, not just this first issue) is about those awkward little moments between people that we've all had in way or another and how we try find our way out of them, only to, so very often, simply dig ourselves deeper in. And it's about the inverse as well; about the beautiful little moments shared only between a pair or a secret few, but which are still intimately familiar to us all, each of us having lived an iteration of them in our way. It's about the universality of communication and miscommunication, and about the strange, happenstance intimacies that build up in the fluid chaos of everyday city life.

Like I said, it's about everything. And nothing. Utterly ephemeral and deeply meaningful.

Just like all the best stuff.

feelin' life jus' flash past...

Maybe it's just personal resonance, and this stuff really isn't all that good. Hell if I know. But I like Zegas a great deal more than I do most things. It feels like a real attempt to connect, rather just another goddamn pieceashit genre-remix thing that feels anything but personal.

Like I said, maybe it's just me. 


Actually, no, this isn't just me, this thing is great, I don't care who you are. Connected vignettes, modern little metaphorical fables, brief bursts of poetic noise, visual lightning, striking everywhere. 


And I love the opening to this comic. I love it so, so much, you've no idea. It's strange thinking back now, when Zegas first arrived in the mail from the kick-ass Copra Press, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, and when I first read the opening it just floored me. I opened to apocalyptic multi-color mixed-media art and this disconnected, declarative diction that reminded me of nothing if not recountings of deep meditative states or some drug experiences. Then, after declaring "Yeah, I could do that crazy shit if I really wanted to, motherfuckers" Fiffe drops us back down to earth where things have reality and weight and meaning in the most concrete and tangible of ways. From one end of the spectrum to the other, in a single page turn; mental whiplash all the way.

And he had me, that's the thing. He got me. I was onboard with the crazy apocalyptic shit, full bore, then Fiffe was just like "Naw, son, over here, this is what matters" and was, of course, 100% right. Motherfucker got me. God, it was awesome. And then later, when the surrealism begins to leak back into the comic, and metaphor, perception, reality, meaning and the art itself all kind of slam together into a crescendo chase scene to close out the first story... I mean, shit, I was so head-over-heels in love with this thing by that point, it was almost insane. And then there were three more strips to go after that! T'was nuts reading this comic for the first time. I loved it.

I'll have a closer examination of the plots in another post, but suffice to say, this neosurrealist mechanism certainly did its work on me. Through the aether and the white noise, and all the dull, repeated structures of the comics market, a little signal does sometimes manage to get through. 

Listen close.


i'm done waiting for things to happen...

and tomorrow: mapping comics makes its triumphant
return as a fortnight of fiffe continues!
thanks for reading!

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