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BOOK: The Awake Field by Ron Rege

Author: Ron Regé Jr.
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
ISBN: 1896597971
List Price: $7.95

Review: Though this thirteenth installment of Ron Regé’s ongoing Yeast Hoist series is assuredly a piece of a larger puzzle, one doesn’t need to start from the beginning to appreciate the finely crafted stories and vignettes within.

The Awake Field is a collection of eight minimalist comics, of varying length, strung together by a feeling more than a theme. Because Yeast Hoist serves as one artist’s public sketchbook, a feeling is all it needs. The feeling (in case you were wondering) is the simple joy that can be achieved by noticing the small corners of life and by slowing down. Appropriately, The Awake Field was written during Regé’s recent two year sabbatical in Rhode Island where I imagine life was a refreshing slow down from his home of L.A.

The title comic in The Awake Field is no more than a series of full page panels depicting a small townscape where sprites float overhead, floating from house to meadow to house, making sure everything is peaceful and serene. No words are used, only sparse line drawings and a dream-like jump-cut pacing.

The remaining seven pieces deal meditatively with the relationships between the author’s comic subconscious and his loves, his friends, the state of the world, and ultimately, his family. Some of the funniest moments are also some of the most serious, coming across as a polite request of the reader to realize that the personal operates in conjunction with the rest of the world. It is as if Regé is saying to us, “I know it seems ridiculous, but all we have to do is care a little bit more. It’s true!”

Regé’s line work is equally meditative, simple and innocent (yet not naive). His sketched and loose characters allow for the maximum array of emotions using the minimum array of detail or features. Like a poem that hints at a message but leaves it up to the reader to decide, The Awake Field presents itself in much the same way. Topped with a simple one color scheme that will make a reader either shut off or pay close attention at what must be behind the simplicity, I found myself appreciating Regé’s work more with each subsequent reading.

The Awake Field serves as a biography of Regé’s subconscious. At 48 pages long, it is just the right size to give us a glimpse into another life and inspire us to propel our own.

3.25 / 5

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