Big Plans #5 from Aron Nels Steinke, Like Portlandia, Kinda

Big Plans number five

Big Plans number five

By the time I got to the end of Big Plans #5, I was amused that the writer, Aron Nels Steinke listed his address as Portland.  The book reminds me of Portlandia.  Big Plans #5 is a collection of very smart, quirky stories that generally center around a kind of turn of the century Woody Allen.  He’s sensitive, liberal, contemplative and intellectual but also self-absorbed and a little irritating.  Each of the stories are seemingly mundane moments in the character’s life that have been focused on and highlighted to emphasize what they say about the character’s perception of the world around him.

Besides reminding me of a silly, hip TV show, Big Plans #5 also does some interesting things with the media of comic books.  First, it’s pockets size and somehow more “precious” because of that.  It also has a great paper stock which adds to the books overall presentation sense.  The art is appropriate for the stories and smart.  There is a very inventive use of panels which includes voice over and dialogue taking up entire panels.  I also need to point out an amazing use of positive and negative space that is often missing from black and white comics.

All read and done, Big Plans #5 is not a traditional comic book like what The Big Two publish.  It’s an alternative look at one mundane character’s quirky life.  But it’s also re-examining what can be done with sequential art.  I’m not saying that tomorrow, the Big Two should be incorporating crazy book sizes but Big Plans #5 proves that it can be done and it can be done well.  Big Plans #5 is also a great example of a very well-executed book that could be sold in stores regularly as a way to pull in new and money-spending audiences.

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