Crabapple by Franklin Einspruch (review)

Crabapple, like many of Franklin Einspruch's other webcomics at themoonfellonme.com, is a sort of haiku - a freshly observed moment that unfolds and unfolds. He is a painter and it shows in both the beautiful handling of watercolor (the lively lines, the careful blending of colors, the spontaneously precise rendering) and in the observations the pieces are about. He sees things but finds them by making.

What isn't expected is his startling ways of making these images and words into comics. He is frequently subtle and sneaky in how he makes the pictures underscore the text and vice versa. In Crabapple, the first image is of a brown, almost crispy bush. No background, a line of brown (maybe dead rotten brown or maybe soil, sleeping, maybe waiting).

In the next image: the bush again, still brown but with green leaves, pink blossoms and a green carpet underneath. What amazes is the sky - this tree has blue sky all around and through it. The first tree was alone, separate, dead but this one is alive, penetrated and one with the world.

The final images in the piece, two similar pictures of flowers and leaves on branches take this theme further. The color of the leaves bleeds into the branch marking them as un-separate, as one. (The images I'm presenting here are out of context - the actual piece has a lovely side-scrolling motion, revealing itself as you look.)

His lettering also adds to the effect. In the first (all brown) text area the break of "down" where its ascender reaches up for the descender in the "P" of "pull" mirrors the image of the maybe-dead bush. The next text, after that beautiful tree image, is blue like the sky. The final text is green like the sprouted leaves.

This piece, like many others he has made, has such fresh observations and thoughtful, subtle ways of finding the world by making, is the best apology he could give.

All images © Franklin Einspruch

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