I have to say this smaller format for Internet Comics 2 fits perfectly with Maré’s style. It’s compact and intimate, traits that I think harmoniously reflect his aesthetic. The color choice of off white, purple and yellow is gripping, and each of these colors are blocked in somehow on each page to regulate a sort of a chromatic rhythm to keep the eye moving. Each page and panel feels quiet like a whisper and the cover, the lower half of a self portrait, kind of indulges me in believing this idea. I really enjoy the brief staccato phrases that are placed just so along the page, kind of encouraging you to read with a steady beat in your head or even murmur to yourself. The brevity of these phrases are of course very Twitter-y, a medium Maré is well known in, and this skillful economic use of words is appealing in the way they’re nicely nestled into each panel. Maré’s ability to compress such poignant thoughts into clearly articulated thoughts in so few words always impresses me.
As a ~child of the internet~ myself, Internet Comics 2 reminds me of how ephemeral the internet and our digital identity is, how tiring it can be to maintain our presence on it and that tolerating negative presences in our virtual life still takes it’s toll. It also makes me remember how websites became locations in my memory, old forums with our messages scratched into the HTML like a knife through the bark of a tree (I ❤ U). And yet websites and social media accounts are so easily erased. Suddenly long time friends are phantoms you question were ever real. The internet is great at allowing us to become intimate with others, fall in love or share secrets and yet still you can feel how impersonal and fragile this non-physical space is. Without a body to breathe secrets back at you it becomes harder to feel and easier to fade.
Marés art is especially fascinating, painstakingly drawn figures are scratched in with thick pencil lines that makes them look weighty and dimensional. They look simple and easy to digest but they’re fastidiously crafted, they cast shadows and clothing is textured, walls and table cloths are all neatly patterned. Graphite smudges sometimes obscure objects or faces, countering the clearly lined patterns, blocks of color or judiciously placed halftones. The lettering is relaxed and natural yet demanding in attention as if the words were jotted down in a hurry before one could forget. Erroneous words are not erased but scribbled out making the few words we can read feel wizened, as if every word has been painfully plucked from the writers mind.
There’s a sort of performance aspect to this comic that Maré is so great at showing, letting a scratch here and smudge there stay on a page so you can see his thought process in a way. His lettering especially communicates emotion, a detail not many would pay attention to when creating their work. Sure there is lettering to show sound or signify the volume of a characters voice but to communicate the fluctuating emotions of the artist them self is a really intriguing element to think about. Marés work is deceptively meticulous and yet manages to communicate this effortlessness just by knowing when to restrain, abstract and obscure his art, a skill hard to attain and which makes this comic all the more amazing to read and re-read.