With her rich, evocative artwork and compelling, poetic storytelling, Aidan Koch is one of the most fascinating cartoonists working today, and the new Koyama Press graphic novel After Nothing Comes traces her evolution by collecting six of Koch’s out-of-print zines from the last eight years. While all of the comics require a considerable amount of reader interpretation to glean meaning from the content, the earlier works have a more conventional structure and style than the later ones, which become increasingly abstract and experimental in form and narrative.

This excerpt comes from 2009’s Vastness No. One, a collection of short stories and poems that showcase Koch’s talent for capturing the vastness of nature with her gentle pencil work and crafting elliptical stories that ask readers to fill in the blanks with their own ideas. “Leaps And Walks” is a silent walk through nature that ends with a simple message, implying a deeper story behind the journey. Koch does phenomenal work creating an immersive setting and a character that feels real thanks to the nuances in her body language. She manages to convey a lot with minimal rendering and text, and as the rest of After Nothing Comes reveals, Koch continues to refine her style to explore different facets of graphic storytelling.

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