This is Bull & Cross’ sixth issue, and I’m very happy to say that the stories just keep getting better.
J. Bradley kicks us off with an excellent piece of micro-fiction. I tried to snag one of his stories for an earlier issue, but another editor beat me to it, and it’s no surprise. He’s managed to use the “one weird thing” rule to great advantage, and I recommend that after you read “Catch and Release,” you check out his other, related stories. Here’s another very good one, for instance.
Next up, Kathryn H. Ross pulls off a feat with “Bubble Wand.” She’s drawn a pair of beautiful scenes ready to burst under the tension. Her protagonist finds himself floating through what should be the pleasant memories of childhood—climbing into a warm bed on a cold night, playing in fresh morning snow—aware that things are not right and waiting for the moment it all goes pop.
And finally, Kirby Olson’s “Introduction to Other Cultures” is a cutting piece of satire that caught my attention right away. Since arriving in Spain, I have found myself tempted to play to or against the “American” stereotype. I have also found myself tempted to simplify their culture so that I can either romanticize or criticize it. More than once, I have relied on my outsider status to paper over misunderstandings (though, I must confess, I’ve been bad at granting similar grace when I’ve misunderstood a Spaniard). In any case, Olson’s story takes these realities and more, sticks them in a blender, and delivers a funny, sad tale of cultural clash gone wrong.
So, there you have it. Three great stories. Read them, share them, and check out the authors’ other work.
Daniel R. Julian