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Friday, July 21, 2006

MINIVIEW: Noble Boy [Red Windows]

If you yearn for what looks like a children's book printed on thick slabs of cardboard, but isn't, that takes 60 seconds to read for $12.95, that offers bad poetry, no story, and excellent, animation inspired art, this homage to animator Maurice Noble is for you, bud. MV

Canon (Winter 2006)/40 pgs. and $3.00 from PicSure Press

The theme of this quarterly short story anthology featuring the work of SCAD (?) students and faculty is everything nautical. That means art and story focus on lighthouses, sailors, pirates, boats and such. As is true with every anthology, its quality is uneven, but Canon is thoroughly entertaining. The students are probably young; some of the stories lack the polish of professional work and were most likely created by pre-teen and teenaged kids. These pieces, while entertaining, are simply not enough to recommend Canon. But there is exceptional talent in the issue; it is from its publisher, writer and artist Dove Hargue.

Dove's minimalistic style will remind some readers of the work of master cartoonist Alex Toth. As with Toth, only what is really needed to forward the story and characters is drawn into each panel. His characters are individually distinctive, his visual storytelling is engrossing, and he has a particular talent with the ink washes that add different shades of gray to black and white art.

Of his two stories in Canon, "The Keeper's Carol" is a murder mystery of sorts, and "Nemo" (chapter 14) is a new adventure of Jules Vern's famous submarine captain. Both tales will leave you wanting more.

Dove is a talent worth watching as his mastery of the medium matures, and Canon is recommended for readers of all ages. Sold at comics shops and

Dove McHargue is a member of the Oklahoma Cartoonists Museum.

Michael Vance