We were so focused on promoting M.S. Harkness's October 12 visit to Copacetic celebrating the release of this book... that we forgot to list it here on the site! Sorry about that.
So, Time Under Tension is: A) at 260 pages, by far the most substantial work yet from M.S. Harkness; B) her first solo work published by Fantagraphics; C) her most ambitious – and successful – work to date, wherein she manages to integrate the themes reflecting the far ranging aspects of her life that populated her earlier works – hook-up culture, weight lifting, sex work, comics making, family history including traumatizing childhood sexual abuse, art school, drug use, popular culture – and weave them into mesmerizing pattern.
Most of all, Time Under Tension amply demonstrates the advances that Harkness has made in her cartooning, as through its pages she takes her comics making to the next level. The artwork on the page clearly shows her continuing to hone her sharply observed, cleanly delineated (and instantly recognizable) drawing style. Her greatest advances are in her breakdown of the narrative into comics: the expert employment of a variety of grids – primarily 6-panel, 8-panel and 9-panel – yes; but she also knows when to break out of them for best effect, with splash pages that make an impact and wild, free-for-all spreads that really work to convey the temporal and spatial shifts brought about by changes to and shifts in psychic states – especially within the context of their signalling a release from the regimentation of standard temporality signified by the grid.
Worthy of special note are her keen observations regarding our now established dependency upon mobile phone texting as a default mode of communications. The naturalistic and fluid manner in which these observations are incorporated into the narrative diegesis convincingly illustrates the behavioral changes that texting has brought about – as well as its incipient impact upon consciousness and identity. There's some real food for thought there.
Recommended! Special price!