I have burrowed my way to the center of the mini comics pile in search of the Mole King, who has made off with my girlfriend. Evidently I insulted the Mole Peoples’ widely held belief in the healing power of magical energy beams. So, as begin my journey into their labyrinthine network of narrow tunnels, I shall take a look at two of the comics that I brought along to keep me from succumbing to Space Madness (madness born from the lack thereof):
First up is Stop Touching That, a selection of short comics about teaching art in an East Harlem Catholic school. The artist plays the role of observer rather than participant, and the comic, while playful, has a reportage-quality to it. Jordan has a keen eye for detail and breathes life into every character regardless of how little panel-time they get. The distance between artist and subject can make the protagonist seem a bit standoffish, but it helps to place the subject into sharper focus.
The drawing is solid, with again, a good sense of character (particularly Sister Maria). The artist’s use of thick lines can make it somewhat difficult to read the panels (though that might be more of a reproduction issue; I couldn’t quite tell), but her black-spotting and use of tones and patterns is very good.
On her website Robyn Jordan states that Stop Touching That is semi-autobiographical. Usually the best autobio is that for which artistic license has been taken, and I think this book shows what a mix of interesting true stories and good writing can accomplish.
Spaztic Colon #3: Middle of Summer Christmas Extravaganza is a different beast entirely. Owning a significant debt to Jhonen Vasquez, author Steven Vincent takes his demented characters through the paces. The first story, Billy’s Big Day, begins with the titular character accidentally killing himself and ends with him winning a bet with God (who, in a running gag of which I thoroughly approve, peppers his statements with the phrase I AM GOD). How to Kill Your Children and an untitled story about the origin of E.L.V.E.S. are equally twisted.
The art is serviceable, if uneven. In some places it feels under-worked and in others overworked. Now, this issue dates back to 2006, so perhaps the author has since found that balance. Vincent’s characters are expressive and memorable and he does a very good job with his use of grey tones. I wish he didn’t use so many computer effects for the backgrounds (though they’re less distracting in the otherworldly Limbo environment). Oh, and Comic Sans. His lettering font appears to be Comic Sans, which is I believe a venial sin.
But that aside (Comic Sans!? Really!!? -..sorry), if you enjoy comics in which Santa uses children as bate for monsters, then this is the comic for you.