The graphic novelist updates her first solo collection (2003) with additional art, commentary, and minicomics.
Like the understated quality of the drama and humor that infuse these very short pieces, Varon’s (seemingly) casual drawing style hardly changes over the decade-plus of stories. The first entry is a wordless tale from 2002 about a rabbit and a tortoise sheltering inside the tortoise’s shell for tea on a wintry night, and the collection closes with a mid-2014 story in which animal figures share crowded panels with an autobiographical essay on turning full-time freelancer. In between she tucks graphic exercises such as a connected narrative with one panel for each letter of the alphabet, paper dolls (she suggests making photocopies to cut out), reports on beekeeping and on a trip on Mexico City’s subway, a discomfiting predecessor to Robot Dreams (2007) in which a dog abandons a rusty robot on a beach, and other abbreviated stories or personal incidents. Though a pervasive palette of deep blue, pale pink, and gray lends visual unity, as do the neatly hand-lettered texts and introductory notes, in subject matter this retrospective is all a bit of a hodgepodge, and any technical development in the artist’s craft revealed here will likely be visible only to experts.
Varon shows a knack for both verbal and visual storytelling, but this showcase is likely to be of more interest to confirmed fans and budding graphic artists than to general readers. (Graphic short stories. 8-11)