by David Lasky
David Lasky, Three Short Poem Comics, 2021–22. Pencil, ink, and watercolor on paper, 11 x 4.5 inches
In comics, where the images do at least as much of the writing as the words do, what happens when the images are abstract? There is still a lot being said, but it is more about feeling, mood, rhythm—perhaps more in the realm of poetry than prose. After many years exploring comics that function like prose, I’m interested in seeing where they can go as poetry and beyond.
In these three short poem comics, I explore line art and pattern as a form of writing. In the first two, I have written haiku poems and converted them into comics by placing the words into panels. The images are the kind of patterned doodles I’ve drawn all my life (often while talking on the phone). In recent years, I noticed that this form of doodling has been one of the constant artistic practices in my life, and yet is the one I have taken the least seriously. Placing these patterns of lines inside comics panels is a way for me to try to perhaps understand what is going on in my subconscious mind. The third poem comic abandons the verbal and jumps into a sequence of swirling patterned lines and colors, leaving it up to you, the reader/viewer, to decide what is being communicated.
Seattle writer-artist David Lasky co-authored the graphic novel Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, which won comics’ Eisner Award in 2013. His goal as a graphic novelist has been to push the boundaries of the medium. He regularly explores new possibilities in informational comics, abstract comics, and poetry comics. Sometimes his comics are even comical. He has been a graphic novel instructor for more than fifteen years, and has focused primarily on teaching haiku comics for the past two years.