An A+ for Minus

I love Ryan Armand’s Minus. If for some reason you have missed the memo on this one, it’s a well imagined, beautifully rendered comic that mixes magic and childhood to good effect. It’s whimsical without being cloying, and the best comics in the series, like this recent one, have a hallucinatory effect not unlike a looser version of Little Nemo in Slumberland.

Apparently I’m not the only one who likes it: This week, the Japan Media Arts Festival recognized Minus in its Manga Division; it is one of only a handful of online manga that were “recommended” by the jury, and the only non-Japanese title in the group.

This is really an honorable mention; the JMA named the winners of its 11th annual awards a few weeks ago, then last week added some “recommended” works.

I don’t read a word of Japanese, but the other Recommended webcomic, sen-nen-gahou, is kind of interesting anyway. Each single-page comic records a single act, sometimes a visual pun, sometimes a seemingly nonsensical action. Certain motifs recur again and again: borrowing, cutting, flowers, and there seem to be only two characters, a student couple who appear to be lovers. The style is loose and soft, not unlike Minus, but with a much more abstract sensibility. Most of the strips are wordless except for the title; unfortunately, I suspect the title often is key to understanding the comic.

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