Malcy Duff - It’s Just Ketchup (3 stars)

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It’s Just Ketchup

(Missing Twin Publishing)

INDEPENDENT

The modestly home-made comics of Edinburgh cartoonist Malcy Duff are abstract almost to the point of alienation, but there’s something about their cinematic grace and unashamed abstraction which sits comfortably outside the mainstream of graphic storytelling.

So this 24-page red-cover volume starts with a tree growing up a drainpipe in standard six-panels-a-page time-lapse. Tomatoes develop on the vine, then one is picked by a hand and thrown, one of dozens being lobbed at a man who’s running across a stage and up a cardboard mountain, his body already thickly coated with a gooey, ketchup-like layer. What it all means is unclear, and possibly even fairly irrelevant, but there is something painstakingly contemplative about the way that, for instance, Duff’s character bathes off the tomato juice while composing love poetry at the end. A short but well-crafted diversion.

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