Sleeping Beauty
By John Cei Douglas
Published by John Cei Douglas

John Cei Douglas makes his debut in comics in this affecting, intimate reflection on romance and longing.

It's a safe bet that Sleeping Beauty is grounded in Douglas's own life experience, composed as it is more of brief snapshots in time than a narrative throughline. Here's the boy passing by a club and remembering his first time meeting the girl; here's the girl, alone in the autumn breeze, shivering at the cold, and perhaps something more, remembering a warmer season. Here they both are, exploring a first love, and wondering later what became of it.

Douglas's approach is tentative and a bit unsure, perhaps unintentionally echoing those early days of a new relationship. But his artwork suggests good instincts, economical and stark when needed, heavy and filled with shadow in other, appropriate places. You can also see his style on display in an online mix of comics and text called Feel the Fear...and Go Back to Bed?.

I have it on good authority that Adrian Tomine praised Sleeping Beauty, and that comes as no surprise, sympatico as it is with Tomine's own interests and efforts. Readers of Optic Nerve, as well as Chester Brown's Yummy Fur and Craig Thompson's Blankets will appreciate Douglas's effort and very likely want to see more from this new talent. Order Sleeping Beauty directly from John Cei Douglas. Grade: 4/5

-- Alan David Doane

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