Some thoughts about Sam Alden’s Wicked Chicken Queen:
Although I’ve only received 2 books from my Retrofit subscription (and therefore can’t judge the collected whole), the books I have received are very high quality books. If every book in the collection is as well put together as Number 1 and Wicked Chicken Queen, this will be an $80 well spent.
I love how Sam dances on the edge of abstraction in his most recent work. The Lydian Mode and Wicked Chicken Queen both are projects that allow him to go wild. It’s a magic thing.
Alden’s pencil work on Wicked Chicken Queen has this lovely texture that I haven’t really seen in a 24/32 page comic. There is a depth of tone that pencil can generate that you can’t mimic with ink, Pencils also show the shadows of revision in a way that pen cannot.
I think it’s very interesting the way that Alden mirrors the story of the chicken queen with the story of the narrator. The narrator’s own story makes me wonder how much of the history of the chicken queen is “true” in the sense that perhaps the duplication of these narratives is the narrator applying her feelings and thoughts onto her past. We do this as people, although perhaps not on such a grand scale.
More interesting still is the final page of the book, where a bewildered narrator scales the stairs of the now empty palace to find the chicken queen’s sculptures, replicas of her beloved Saskia. The power of grief gets a lot of page time in Wicked Chicken Queen.
Sam blogs at Gingerland Comics, and you can find his and other cool work at Retrofit’s website. Sam’s It Never Happened Again is being published by Uncivilized Books this Spring. You can pick up a copy here.
You should also check out Dan Berry’s recent process interview with Sam at Make It Then Tell Everybody. Dan has a very soothing voice.