NOTES OVER YONDER/TIGER!TIGER!TIGER!
Written and Drawn by Scott Morse
Published by Red Window/AdHouse Books
Scott Morse is one of those talents whom it can be easy to forget about. Why? Because he’s quiet. He doesn’t work on “mainstream” comics. He doesn’t start fights on the internet. He doesn’t spend his time criticizing other artists’ work. And he takes his time with projects, making sure that he has achieved his vision fully before releasing them. In short: he’s something of an anomaly. Plus, he’s kind of busy at his day job, toiling as a story artist and designer for Pixar, only the greatest animation company in the world. So when he releases a new book, it tends to be something special.
And within the space of two months, he’s releasing two!
NOTES OVER YONDER is a wordlessly told tale of a musician suffering from terrible heartache, his cat, and the dreams which carry him along until it is time to pick up the guitar again and play his soul out into the crowd. It’s a beautifully painted book, presented as a sweet little hardcover, and definitely an emotionally resonant offering. While there is no dialogue, there are three written notes in the story that tell you all you need to know about what has happened to this man and what will happen to him in the future. Perhaps just as much as the story, I was drawn into NOTES by looking at the composition of the pages; each page is an individual “panel”, forcing Morse to execute his storytelling on multiple levels. This is a fine, fine effort.
TIGER!TIGER!TIGER! is a wildly different animal (pardon the pun). Functioning as sketchbook and as a guide through Morse’s adventures as a father, there’s an aching sincerity to the book. The author is full of doubt and worry, putting up a front to carry himself through the difficult moments. I admired the book’s honesty, and was struck by how facile Morse is in working in different artistic mediums, but at times, it was a bit too much for me. A little less spiritual “nudity” might have made for a more comfortable read. Still, as presented in a lovely Euro-style hardcover, this is another worthy effort from a great talent.