Jens K Styve

His simplistic characters are deceptive, brimming over with life and vitality in a way that is surprising and deeply human

Heftet JensK#1 er anmeldt av ein engelsk seriejournalist:

Jens K #1 by Jens K Styve

I found Jens on Twitter a while back via his diary comics and immediately fell in love with his art style – in which I see a little Ralph Steadman and a little Quentin Blake. His simplistic character designs are deceptive and brimming over with life and vitality in a way that is surprising and deeply human.

Like the best diary cartoonists, he is unflinchingly honest and the self deprecating way he presents his own avatar here, allows the reader to peel back layer after layer of the onion that is the man behind the book. I loved Jens K #1 from the minute I opened the envelope it shipped to me in, the gorgeous front cover depiction of Jens bathing in a giant sized cup of coffee, still wearing the bizarre pixie hat he draws himself in along with a broad smug smile, gave me cause to expect something special. And I wasn’t disappointed.

It reminds me in many ways of Martin Kellerman«s excellent Rocky, possibly in its sardonic sense of humour (here hilariously represented by Jens» cough and the grim hypercondria that slowly inspires in him over the course of the month this issue charts). As in Camera Obscura Styve’s solid grasp of the basic tenets of good cartooning are on show here. Again he shows an uncanny knack to express a complex range of emotions in his cast, varying from simple expressions to exaggerated, cartoonish gurning facials with the flick of his pen, often using little more than two dots and a wavy line to expressive and hilarious effect, reminding me of luminaries like Bill Watterson.

And like those great artists, Styve’s strips are frequently funny, with a neat blend of physical comedy, often surreal and fantastical situational comedy and punchy, witty dialogue, hinting at a dark, wry sense of humour that certainly appeals to this reader.

Styve explains on the inside front cover that his inspiration to start drawing daily strips came, in part, when the sun returned to his home town of Tromso, in Norway, after the two months of complete darkness inhabitants go through in that area every winter. He describes how that darkness can dampen productivity as well as the moods of the people living there, and the explosion of creativity he felt this year when the lights came back on.

Well, if this is what comes out of that change in the seasons, I can say without reservation, I am truly looking forward to the next ten months. At the same time though, part of me wonders to what dark corners that twisted sense of humour and imagination might go in those winter months.

I for one, intend to be around to find out.

Robin William Scott / The Mini Comic Courier

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