Andrea Tsurumi is a cartoonist with an unusual preoccupation with poodles, bras, swimming pools, and various comfort foods like cake, pie, ice cream, and Ramen noodles. This all adds up to a lot of fun for readers. You can enjoy her highly inventive work in her new book, a collection of comics, “Why Would You Do That?” published by Hic & Hoc Publications.
A good rule of thumb for life in general is to go with your first thought. Sure, that could get you into trouble but still. Let’s focus in terms of creativity, okay? You can think of what Tsurumi does as akin to improvisational jazz or comedy improv. Consider a page entitled, “Ghost Bra,” about a bra that, when you least expect it, creeps up on you and provides…support. Not the sort of thing you overthink from the get-go. No, you let that impulse about a haunting bra fly.
Other segments take an initial thought and refine it, mine it for all its worth, such as Tsurumi’s examination of poodles. We discover that poodles are far more than man’s best friend. That would hardly cover their accomplishments over the ages. However, there is only so far such a brilliant creature can go with such a bizarre haircut that leaves it wide open to ridicule! As Tsurumi does throughout, the artwork here has an elegant light touch. It is not too light either. There is an organic quality to it. Tsurumi is happy to add as much detail as needed. But, even with her crosshatching, in the end, she maintains a crisp line and a pleasing clarity.
Andrea Tsurumi has honed a great dexterity with words and pictures. No doubt, fortified with an essential confidence and drive, Tsurumi has reached an undeniable level of mastery. Her comics appear to breathe naturally as if entities onto themselves. Her work is immersive in the best sense of the word as you get lost in it as you would a compelling piece of performance art. That’s how I felt reading her piece, “Do You Know How to Eat Ramen?” Sounds like something you might catch at an experimental theater doesn’t it? Well, it would definitely make for quite a show. We begin with a lively recitation of ingredients which includes “the part that lives inside you that has gotten small and scared.”
I also love Tsurumi’s observations on swimming pools. I can well imagine her wading in with a bunch of strangers and immediately aghast and bewildered. Swimming pools, in Tsurumi’s world are a lot of things, the least of which is a place for swimming. They are an odd place of ritual such as parents teaching their children, and anyone else caught in their crosshairs, about mortality. For someone fascinated by odd shapes, sounds, and the overall human condition, Tsurumi knows how to make the most of wherever she happens to find herself. This collection proves to be an excellent guidebook into her adventures.
Lastly, I would like to add that I recommend a nice slice of pie or perhaps some ice cream, or gelato, while you read this book. I enjoyed reading and reviewing it while visiting Fainting Goat Gelato in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. I was quite taken with the stracciatella.
“Why Would You Do That?” is a 60-page black & white trade paperback available now though Hic & Hoc Publications.