2 out of 5
There was a timely and important message fueling Fred Noland’s ‘Big Jab’ mini-comic, spurred on by the artist noticing he was the only black person in line for the COVID-19 jab, and citing the statistically higher contraction rate and tendency toward more impactful / harmful outcomes of the virus for blacks, for a final page “Go fit ur shot!” plea. Important, but maybe a pretty heavy topic for a 10-page, single-panel-per-page, 4″ x 4″ mini.
Noland’s cartoonish style and grey shading wash is rather perfect for the format, but the way he goes about his narrative feels shallow – he starts out at a NIN show, disdaining the fans and making sure readers know he was only there to see Bowie – and the way he segues in to talking about the discrepancies between races is backwards; the type of conversation where someone starts talking as though you know what they’re talking about, when they’ve yet to actually present their topic or point. Then he drops some random stats and peaces out. This adds up to that well-intentioned plea coming across as, unfortunately, naive noise.