Imagine a cross between American Splendor and Alice in Wonderland... or imagine a cross between Carl Barks and Carlos Castaneda...
In Joel Orff's new graphic novel Waterwise he explores these concepts and many more. This is the story of two old friends who are reunited for one night and wander together through a surreal, vaguely apocalyptic landscape, pondering life, griping about their circumstances, and trying to connect. Along the way they explore the nature of dreams, the fragile facade of civilization and the tenderness of a true friendship.
After his girlfriend leaves him, Jim, an unemployed artist, hitchhikes to his family's cabin for some time to reflect. Once there he runs into Emily - the girl that he was infatuated with during summer holidays at the cabin during his entire adolescence. Emily has a daughter now, and has just gone through a bitter divorce. For the first time in her life she's really not sure where she's going or what she should do. Emily and Jim spend the day together - awkwardly reliving old memories and wandering through familiar places. They both need to connect with someone, and it seems that now as adults they should be able to. Unfortunately, they find that the differences between them are still too great, and though their reunion has strengthened their friendship the answers they're looking for will have to be found on their own.
Stapling cast-off newsprint from the local small-town newspaper into little books, Joel Orff churned out a thirty-two page comic once a month for most of his childhood. After his first year of college he threw them all out; a decision that he's still not sure if he regrets. More recently he's been published in several books and magazines around the world, including the Artisti Allibratori Associati publication Tattoo Comix (Italy), Fahrenheit Magazine (Denmark), The Comix Compendium from Mangijin Books, The Stranger weekly newspaper in Seattle, and 'Heroes of Invention', which was created for the Minnesota Children's Museum. His illustrations were included in an exhibition at the National Comic Library in Copenhagen in 1994. In 2001 they were featured at both the Somerville Comix Fest and Curious Brain exhibit in Boston.
In 2002 Joel Orff was a finalist for the McKnight Foundation Screenwriters Fellowship, and had his first play produced as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. In 2004 he was a finalist for the McKnight Screenwriters Fellowship. In 2005, his comic strip 'Great Moments in Rock 'n' Roll' began running weekly in the California paper Pacific Sun. In 2006 his second graphic novel Waterwise was published in a French translation by editions ça èt là in France. In 2007 editions ça èt là will publish a French translation of Thunderhead Underground Falls.
Images, characters and likenesses © and ™ Joel Orff