When I’m not shamelessly promoting the website, I love to stroll through a comic convention, checking out the independent and self-publishing artists and authors. I found quite a few this time around, including a young author and artist named Joseph Cotsirilos, producer of Dent Comics. Cotsirilos has been publishing his work since the 6th grade, and in case you want to feel incredibly old, he was born in 1991. I have sweatpants older than that. Don’t let his youth fool you, though; Cotsirilos has a vivid voice and unique perspective on youth culture and relationships.
I picked up issues 6-9 of Dent Comics and jumped right in. The somewhat desolate high school environment is depicted as a world where the days melt into each other without much diversity, and teachers recite the same rote facts and figures day in and day out. In sharp contrast to this bleak landscape, his characters are fresh, unique and vibrate with life and individuality. The young people featured in each issue struggle with their identities, independence and places in the world. Luckily, Costirilos avoids the pitfalls of your typical teen angst storytelling, instead delivering bright and thoughtful people who ask questions and seek some greater understanding of themselves and their environment.
Cotsirilos is at his most authentic and evocative in his observations about adolescence and the pains of growing and maturing amongst the landmines of sex, drugs, divorce and abuse. In terms of both writing and art, his work is unapologetically raw, and he makes great use of his stark black and white format. The most recent issue, #9, was written and drawn in one 24-hour period, and it shows. However, his eye for layout and perspective shine through the hurried and unrefined artwork. Ultimately, Dent succeeds as a realistic window into the world of another generation, highlighting the generational divide, while at the same time observing and exploring issues universal to any age. You can learn more about Dent Comics and Joseph Cotsirilos at his official site.