Pressure/Sensitivity Volume 1, edited by Caleb Goellner and designed by Dylan Todd, is a rich blend of tone and style, uniting unique voices from all over the cartooning field to tell stories about dealing with pressure. The stakes range from personal to apocalyptic, and the only bit of consistency is the energy and talent across these four stories.
Both “Jump Block” by bensears, a continuing story, and “Ada'mas” from mingdoyle (The Kitchen) share a sense of otherworldly wonder and suggest rich mythologies. Sears’s story explores the relationship between a girl, her cat, and her distant father through techno-fantasy environments that evoke Mobius and 16-bit adventure games. The story’s limited color palette and sensitive lines drive the emotional journey behind the mysterious Jump Blocks.
Where Sears’s work emphasizes quiet moments, Doyle’s piece presents a supernatural battle from the dawn of Earth. “Ada'mas” approaches epic poetry with a gestural sensibility. Doyle’s depiction of a heroic metamorphosis and trial by fire leans toward literalism, capturing the evocative spirit of classical mythology with fresh and cosmic visuals.
While also apocalyptic in scale, “Combat Robot Rhynie” from Giannis Milonogiannis - milonogiannis (Old City Blues) is about the end of the world instead its beginning. Milonogiannis brings humor to doomsday, unleashing an amalgam of 1980s anime references without the pretense of seriousness you’d find in his other works. The first chapter of this continuing story is full of colorful transformation sequences, doomed cityscapes, and special attacks brought to life with his dynamic and scratchy style.
Meredith Gran - octopuspiecomic (Marceline and the Scream Queens) and Mike Holmes - therealmikeholmes (Bravest Warriors) deliver my favorite twist on the theme with “Ethel,” the tale of a hen who can’t be bothered to feel pressure, even with an ax at her throat. The humor’s on-point and the commentary hits home in all the right ways, wrapping the book with a reminder that even if you have all the right tools, it’s up to you to sit down and get work done.
Pressure/Sensitivity is a fantastically curated showcase of some of the most defining voices in today’s comics, starting what I hope to be a long journey exploring the breadth of variety in the comics community. Check out Pressure/Sensitivity Vol. 1 for free from ComiXology!