SPX 2010: Minicomics Reviews Part 1

I’m still reading Duncan the Wonder Dog so that review will come later. Some of these I bought at SPX and some of them my boyfriend bought, but all combined, it made for a fun stack of reading material.

The reviews are in no particular order for the most part. I am breaking it up into two days because it got ridiculously long once I wrote about everything.

The Pyramid: Kenan Rubenstein
This comic is a 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper folded into sixteenths and readers unfold it as they go. The panels change orientation or form as the paper is unfolded, revealing a final, full-page image. The story — about moving possessions into storage — is pretty simple, but Rubenstein’s clear voice and sharp, moody images makes it work. It’s a cool and unexpected comic.

Full Sanction in [F(S]PX]: Joe Mochove & Rusty Rowley
I have no business reviewing this, really, because I know these two and so even if I hated it, I wouldn’t be telling them that. But I don’t hate it. Not even a little. This is a hilarious skewering of some of the motifs that you’ll find in various comics for sale at SPX. Rusty makes a comic called Dino Docs and Joe makes a comic called Sun/Mun and the compete for sales. The outcome is ridiculous but awesome.

Yes, Joe draws stick figures, but they’re quality stick figures, and part of the beauty of comics is how the art suits the story. I think the style is basically perfect for what they’re doing. (And by the way, the real-life Rusty and Joe actually made the comics that appear here and they were also for sale. I don’t have them because I’m dumb.)

Beard: Pranas T. Naujokaitis
In Beardville, all men (and even some women and children) have beards. Except for Gus. However, after Gus’ wish for a beard is granted, he revels in being a manly man. Unfortunately, Gus doesn’t know when to stop and the town turns on him. Lessons are learned. This is a fun little story with a good message about what makes a man and that not all manly attributes are necessarily good.

Naujokaitis’ art is playful and fun. I love how Gus’ beard has a life of its own. The die-cut cover, showing Gus with and without his beard, is also an awesome touch. (I see that this is the third printing of this comic. That doesn’t surprise me.)

Last Day and The Last of the Real Small Farmers: Idiots’ Books
These aren’t comics, but a beautiful mix of prose and art by Matthew Swanson and Robbie Behr respectively.

Last Day is a beautiful meditation by Swanson on what we take for granted in life — the little everyday moments of life — accompanied and complimented by Behr’s dreamily abstract watercolors. The Last of the Real Small Farmers recounts various things that Bill, a farmer, said in an interview (the transcript was edited by Swanson and Brian Francis Slattery). Bill talks about everything from the size of his vegetables to various conspiracy theories. Behr’s accompanying art encompasses everything from portraits of Bill to increasingly abstract scenes of radio equipment and technology. It’s a fun read.

Also, Swanson and Behr, who are adorable themselves, have two of the cutest kids on the planet, including Kato who was at SPX. I think Kato was the perfect salesman because I’m not even the baby-crazy sort and I wanted to give him all my money.

Daily Catch: An Anthology of Comics: Jon Chad, C. Frakes, Katherine Roy and Laura Terry
This is a short, entertaining anthology of stories about the sea. Some are funny, some are scary, but all in all, it’s a lovely showcase of the talents of these four creators. I’ve liked Frakes’ previous work so I’m biased toward her story, but this served its purpose in that I immediately wanted to look up the other three and see what else they’ve done.

Echoes from Asteroid X: Mark Rudolph
A space explorer and his android servant have to survive after crash-landing on the titular asteroid. They battle against dinosaur-like creatures (the explorer) and their own programming (the android) in a surprisingly poignant tale of what we’re capable of when pushed. Rudolph’s art is obviously inspired by the square-jawed comic book heroes of the 1960s and the out-there perspective of Jack Kirby and it works. This is unique and fun.

Six more tomorrow!

2 thoughts on “SPX 2010: Minicomics Reviews Part 1”

  1. HI! Thanks for the great review. Last Day is one of my oft-overlooked favorites. And anyone who says unprompted nice things about my fat-headed baby in a public forum gets a free copy of the Makers Tile game! Hooray! Write me with your address and I’ll pop one in the mail for you. Thanks for the press – we’ll see you next year!

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