josel nicolas' windmills is a multi-volume collection of autobiographical vignettes detailing the life and thoughts of the author's anthropomorphic alter-ego, simply named "bear". this fourth and latest issue, i'm gonna be-ar, opens with a touching farewell at NAIA, setting up a bittersweet romantic separation between bear and his girlfriend mimi that informs the rest of the book.
on the visual side, i'd say nicolas' stuff has never looked better. he's taken to mangastudio like a duck to water, and his excellent use of screentones and varying line widths has given his art a new richness and tonal depth. plus, the digital prints photocopy very well--a crucial factor in making good-looking indie comics.
my favorite bits in the book are the slice-of-life stuff: bear on his daily commute; bear rubbing his smelly feet at the end of a tiring day; bear staring at the stringy potted plants he's placed just under the outdoor faucet for maximum watering laziness; the look on bear's face as he inhales the aroma of that first cup of coffee at work. this newfound emphasis on bear's external (as opposed to his internal) life, plus the romantic angle, gives be-ar a much greater emotional scope and relatability than the previous issues. it's his most accessible issue yet, and i don't mean that as a disparaging remark. it's still art comics, or at least artful comics. the essence of an author's experience as seen through the filter of his craft.
i can't recommend windmills #4 enough. i think it's some of josel's best work so far.