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It Never Happened by Sam Alden

Courtesy of Uncivilized Books, we finally have a Sam Alden collection, an actual book, with a spine! It Never Happened Again collects two works:  the 64 page "Hawaii 1997" and the 90 page "Anime."  "Hawaii 1997" is the work through which many readers first encountered Alden.  When it was first posted on Tumblr, it blazed through the eyeballs of many an internet surfer.  The pencils here are strong, bold and decisive, executed with quick, deft strokes which crackle with emotional energy.  The figures and landscapes in "Hawaii 1997" feel like they are flowing non-stop out the tip of Alden's pencil and onto the paper in an automatic recollection that is magically transmitted from the mind to the hand.  In this respect the energetic linework recalls some of the pages in Frank Santoro's seminal masterwork, Storeyville, which was originally published in 1995.  Like "Hawaii 1997", "Anime" is a story told largely through images.  It is a more calibrated work, however, one that spans family, work, relationships and continents in a bold attempt to portray the perceptions of a personality that had been led to, and a consciousness that has been shaped by, animé.  Employing an informed and disciplined use of the grid, Alden is successful in implicitly conveying a sense of the irrevocable ticking of the clock, as time marches on while the concurrent personal growth necessary to survival sometimes has trouble keeping up...