SPX Minicomics Roundup — 2008 edition

I didn’t buy that much this year, due to lack of funds, but my stack is not insignificant. This is slightly overdue, but I had non-functioning Internet for most of the week.

Like I said, there was a lack of your typical autobiographical, navel-gazing minicomics here. I’m sure they still exist, but I was pleased to see how few I came across.

In no particular order ..

The Ghosts – Matt Wiegle

Easily the most disturbing of the minicomics I bought, this retells an Inuit folktale. Wiegle’s scratchy art gives mood and atmosphere to the story. I can’t say I liked it – this isn’t really my thing – but I admire it.

How I Lost My S#?! at the Apple Store — Jim Dougan & Molly Lawless

Dougan’s story is all too easy to relate to – who hasn’t been annoyed at Apple’s tendency to put beauty above utility? — and Lawless can draw expressive faces like no one else. This is both delightful and entertaining. And Dougan is right – the D.C. area does have a ridiculous number of Apple stores. I have nothing to back this up, but I liked to pretend that this took place at the one nearest to me.

I Hate Mom’s Cat and Other Tails — Corinne Mucha

This is probably about as autobiographical as the comics that I bought get, but this lacks any sort of “I couldn’t think of what to draw so I drew a comic about not knowing what to draw” sense to it. Mucha’s art is playful and sketchy – it has a doodled, casual quality to it. This is a silly little comic, but it’s excellent for being just that.

Tales from the Forbidden Forest — Vanessa Satone and Eve Grandt

The anime-inspired art isn’t bad in either of these stories and I think both Satone and Grandt have potential, but this just felt like the product of minds that have played too much World of Warcraft. I think some of that is that there’s not much to either of these stories – they split the 20 pages between them, leaving little room for development of plot or characters. While I’d be interested to see if either of these storylines eventually go somewhere, as it is, this was mostly forgettable for me.

Breathers: Book One — Justin Madson

This is how it’s done. Taking place in a world where humans can no longer breathe the air outside without masks, this tells the story of a troubled single mother, a drug-addicted detective and a confused slacker dealing with family problems. It’s ambitious, sure, but Madson’s art is compelling and beautiful and I want the rest of these. And possibly the T-shirt. More people need to be making comics like this.

(And it’s worth noting that as I was discussing the awesomeness of this comic with another volunteer, a third volunteer piped up in agreement. Justin Madson is really that good.)

Man Enough: A Queer Romance — Bill Roundy

First of all, Roundy let me have this for $2 rather than $3 because he didn’t have change and I had two $1 bills. I think that was excellent of him, and if I had thought about it, I would’ve gone back and given him another dollar. But I didn’t. Sorry, Bill!

Roundy’s art is cute and animated, and despite that this is a story about a budding romance between a gay man and a transgendered man, it’s sweetly innocent. He has a lovely sense of humor. I know I will continue to seek out his work. He’s great.

PS Comics 4 — Minty Lewis

I absolutely, ludicrously love this. Telling the story of the adventures of a dog and a cat at a craft show, not much happens here, but what happens is absurdly funny. The art is adorably silly and I found myself laughing at every page. This is probably my favorite thing from SPX.

Rabbit Shadows — Jason Viola

This is ridiculously gorgeous. A wordless tale of a lonely rabbit who makes sculptures out of his shadows, it is surprisingly affecting. Viola composes each page perfectly – they are individual works of art on their own. His pen and ink style is beautifully detailed. This was an unexpected gem for me.

I have a few more things to review, but all those are a little longer and they may get a wrap-up or individual treatment. I will be gone this weekend, but I hope to finish up late Sunday or Monday.

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