COMIC BOOK REVIEW: 566 FRAMES / AUTHOR: DENNIS WOJDA / ARTIST: DENNIS WOJDA / PUBLISHER: BORDERLINE PRESS / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY
Independent comic book publishers have few advantages over their mainstream competitors, but one of the things they can do very well is produce quirky and interesting books that deserve to have a platform. Polish comics’ creator Dennis Wojda’s 566 Frames certainly fits the bill; odd, charming and utterly fascinating. Like a lot of indie work, it’s at least semi-autobiographical and difficult to define in terms of genre and style. Though the concept is hardly unique, the creator of this work has made it entirely his own.
The format is pretty simple: each frame is a whole scene in its own right and the art is accompanied by a couple of short sentences. Together, these 566 Frames tell the story of Wojda’s family; the tale itself is strung together using the story of the author’s birth to connect the pieces; the narrative zips across time and space, detailing the remarkable misadventures of his ancestors, who apparently include witches, psychics and horse murderers.
Wodja weaves his tale in a long, drawn-out narrative, lending a dream-like quality to the work. You can almost imagine the author telling the tale of his family over the course of an evening, darting backwards and forwards as he draws all of these people’s fates into a single whole, one that leads to his very existence. It isn’t entirely smooth, however. In an effort to achieve brevity it does become muddled at key points, leaving questions unanswered. This is more a feature than a fault, as it adds charm rather than frustration to the overall feel of the work.
The art is a fantastic example of how a skilled storyteller can say so much with so very little. Each frame is drawn is a very basic way, blue and black line art, so simple that you almost see the single strokes used to render each image. Though no one in the year 2015 should be in any doubt that comic books can deliver intelligent and thought provoking literature, alas not everyone is as comic-literate as we would all like. 566 Frames is a great way of giving a friend an education in what this medium can do. Highly recommended.
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