Cochlea and Eustachia vol. 2 (#1) – Hans Rickheit

3 out of 5

Hans Rickkheit’s surreal, vaguley sexual landscapes and dream-like iconography place him – to me – at a crossroads between Dave Cooper’s bubbly wonderlands, and Jim Woodring’s drama-comedy-madness mindscapes. But the art is of a slightly different breed: European fine-lines, with hand lettering and loose camera angles that are more suggestive of its indie, DIY flavor. Visually, this definitely makes for something that’s worth a read and a study, and is dense and weird enough to merit that several times over. So just on that level, checking out Rickheit is worth the time.

Cochlea and Eustachia, a still-going webcomic, concerns two partially nude twins, who are borne from viola cases electrified by an antlers-bearing man in a diving suit nicknamed nicknamed Fronky who has an armadillo-containing ink bubble squeezed out of his head, is… rather random feeling. Could you have guessed, from that description? Events follow an in-world cause-and-effect flow, which gives it readable linearity, but it’s a garden path of such effects, bopping along from one to the next, to the next. Woodring is again a touchpoint narratively, but I find Jim’s work to be suggestive of some guiding or structural story principles, and I can’t say I find that here. It’s still interesting to flip through and ponder on its symbolism and potential nonsense, because even if it’s without exact meaning to Rickheit, there’s still something fueling it, and it can be fun to put your own feelings into that, which the issue is certainly open enough to allow.

But it’s also kinda just hijinx, and unless you absolutely adore the art, there’s no narrative throughline to really draw you to a next issue.