Aidan Koch with Megan Kelso — 'Spiral and Other Stories'

A delicate, dreamlike, and lushly detailed comics collection by a contemporary artist whose work explores the enmeshment of the human and non-human worlds.

Third Place Books is thrilled to welcome artist and author Aidan Koch to our Ravenna store for her new collection, Spiral and Other Storiesa showcase of Koch’s mastery of the form of comics, as a medium that can contain astonishing forms and tell new stories for our uncertain times. She will be joined in conversation by local artist Megan Kelso. This event is free and open to the public.

For important updates, registration is highly recommended in advance. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About Spiral and Other Stories. . .

For years, Aidan Koch’s comics have been pushing the boundaries of the medium, helping reimagine what a comic can look like, and the kinds of stories it can tell. 

Koch has been living and working in the desert of California, turning her focus toward the ways humans and the natural world converge. Spiral and Other Stories is a triumph of that continuing process. 

Using watercolors, pencils, crayons, charcoals, and collage, Koch builds worlds of dense detail and vast open spaces, urgent scrawled text and long silences, telling a series of stories about people and the places they inhabit. 

Characters yearn for each other, even as they’re pulled toward different lives. Rivers dance together and then diverge as they make their way to see the sea. 

With an accompanying essay by the author and critic Nicole Rudick, who explores Koch’s craft and her move into environmentally focused comics, Spiral and Other Stories is a showcase of Koch’s mastery of the form of comics, as a medium that can contain astonishing forms and tell new stories for our uncertain times.


Praise for Spiral and Other Stories. . .

“Across the main title story and three shorter stories, artist and graphic novelist Koch contemplates nature and relationships via sparse, impressionistic art and laconic narration and dialogue….White space dominates the pages, the emptiness amplifying bright splashes of watercolor, dabs and slabs of earth tones, and the striking visages of Koch’s characters. Koch gorgeously captures the poignancy of facial expressions (anchored by soulful eyes and wriggled brows) and the poetry of a body’s pose. This keen eye for kinesiology runs through all four stories...[they are] boldly meditative and enriching."
Kirkus Reviews

"Aidan Koch’s Spiral is visually exquisite, colors and silences and lines dancing across a page. But what really excites me is how these comics work, or resist working, as fiction. How an eye moves through the plot. It’s almost like Koch has taken the abstract minimalist fictions of someone like Lydia Davis and turned them into—installation? a sculpture? A beautiful provocative space to be inside of and move through."
—Danielle Dutton, author of Prairie, Dresses, Art, Other

"Aidan Koch is a master of minimalism. Each page is an evocative poetic structure. She pares down her drawing and writing to create big open spaces of thought—meditations on friendship, change, and how we overlap with the natural world."
—Lauren R. Weinstein, author of Goddess of War

"What happens when we speak into the geography? The ecology? These are moving and raw questions Aidan Koch asks of us as we contemplate this resplendent take on where we belong in the landscapes that hold us. This genre-blurring collection is dreamy and poetic and will stay with you."
—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders

Aidan Koch is a multimedia artist and author of several book-length comics. An educator and key figure in the environmental comics movement, she is the founder of the Institute for Interspecies Art and Relations, a publisher and educational organization. She has exhibited in galleries in North America, South America, and Europe. She lives in the Mojave Desert.

Megan Kelso has been drawing comics for over 30 years. In 2007, she was invited by The New York Times to serialize her "Watergate Sue" comic as part of the weekly "Funny Pages" feature. In 2019, she was selected for a public art commission for Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. Her books include Who Will Make the Pancakes (2022), The Squirrel Mother (2006), Artichoke Tales (2010), and Queen of the Black Black (2011). She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and daughter.

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

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