Dark Tomato ‘one of the best comics of 2011’Posted: February 12, 2012
Dark Tomato #1, by Sakura Maku. This is the debut book from Austin English’s new publishing concern Domino Books, and it’s an auspicious start for him. Maku is firmly in the Immersive camp of comics, mixing traditional narrative, collage, lettering for decorative purposes and poetic language to create a dizzying array of images that nonetheless draw in the reader’s eye. The story concerns a subway train driver in New York who slips into and out of hallucinatory, dreamlike experiences that she can’t quite explain. Make fuses Snow White, Prince, high fashion, and the energy of a cityscape that alternates between piercing dissonance and remarkably fluid harmony. Indeed, if one can describe a comic as “musical”, this comic certainly fits that bill. It’s not just because of the frequent use of song lyrics, but rather it’s due to the way Maku uses an almost staccato pattern of images to create rhythm while her figure work is sort of the tune–scribbly and liquid on the page. Maku flips foreground and background, dreaming and waking, and the mundane & the fantastic–often in the span of a single panel. Despite demanding that the reader approach the comic on its terms, Dark Tomato rewards the reader with a cohesive, fascinating narrative that is just beginning with this first issue.