A Fine Mess

 FIN9   (Alternative, 2004)

™ and © 2004 Matt Madden

The first installment of A Fine Mess by Matt Madden (Odds Off, Black Candy) includes a variety of brainy (though accessible) strips that are both interesting and entertaining. The brunt of the issue is a 16-page, two-tone character piece called “Night of the Grossinator,” which tracks the adventures of Guard Tindell, a hipster homosexual on the town in Austin, Texas. The issue also contains “Aranda’s Coat,” a clever little Twilight Zone-type story about an artist who draws a man’s coat in such a fashion as to claim ownership.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature is the segment titled “Exercises in Style.” Here Madden, influenced by French writer Raymond Queneau, draws (and in one case photographs) the same simple story (or non-story, as he calls it) eight different times using eight vastly differing cartooning techniques. Not only does this show Madden’s command of the medium, it helps illustrate (so to speak) the infinite possibilities of the medium itself.

— Brett Weiss

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