Morgan Pielli’s Pile of Minis: SIDEWALK BUMP #2

Sidewalk Bump #2

by Dan Moynihan, Craig Bostick, Dave Kiersh, John Isaacson, Jared Katz,
Missy Kulik, Alec Longstreth, Jim Rugg, and Francois Vigneault.

I almost didn’t review this book. I know that this is probably not the best way to start off a review, particularly one that is positive (stay with me, folks), but I think my reasons speak to a larger and important point. Comics, and mini-comics in particular, are a gamble. No one likes it when someone picks up a comic at a store or a table at a con and reads the whole thing while standing there, only to leave. But as a customer, it’s tough to get a sense of a comic and an artist without doing so. As such, many people are hesitant to try something or someone new. And let’s be honest; as with any medium, there is a tremendous amount of crap to wade through. But this trepidation on the part of the reader makes life frustrating for the artist, particularly in the world on independent comics where the profit margin is somewhere between razor thin and not at all. For my own part, I operate at a loss with the expectation that what I loose in revenue I make up with word-of-mouth advertising and the hopes that I’m building up a reputation and a body of work that will pay dividends down the road. But in the short term, it is an unending and seemingly uphill battle to convince the skeptical public that my work, that of a complete unknown, is worth no only their time but also their money.

Now imagine how this prevailing reluctance is compounded when the artist is not only an unknown, but the work in question is an anthology; a whole collection of unknowns (and perhaps one or two genuine names in the mix if the editor is lucky or the rare extrovert in this community). Anthologies are notorious for not selling. While they provide a great opportunity for cartoonists the showcase their talents, they have the often accurate reputation for being very hit-or-miss. One of the reasons that I was reluctant to review SIDEWALK BUMP #2 was that I didn’t want to put myself in the position of making a blanket statement as to the book’s quality at the expense of the hits or despite the misses.

The other reason I was reluctant to review this book is the theme: skateboarding. It’s not a subject that particularly interests me, and I worried that this book would be too inside-y for the non-skater.

FORTUNATELY, neither of these concerns turned out to be valid. Skateboarding serves as a jumping off point for deeper stories; generally with the theme of how tiny changes can have a greater impact in our identities down the metaphorical road.

The work in this collection is also remarkably consistent, with notable artists that include Dave Kiersh, JimRugg, and Alec Longstreth.

Alec Longstreth created one of my favorite stories here. Entitled “Union Street,” his comic is about rediscovering his love of skateboarding while enduring a difficult time in college. Impeccably drawn and brimming with pathos, Longstreth depicts skateboarding as a meditative activity. In fact several of the stories in this collection depict skateboarding not as the activity of the thrill-seeker, but that of the introvert. One of my other favorites, an untitled comic by John Isaacson, takes the notion one step further and shows skateboardings transcendent power as he searches for himself.

And I must admit: there is something very seductive about the idea of letting go and allowing inertia and gravity to pull me along as I loose myself in thought.

SIDEWALK BUMP #2 provides nine different and unique perspectives on skateboarding. And while this book is very consistent, there are a couple that fall flat or feel phoned in. That said, hits far outweigh the misses. It is certainly worth your time, and maybe even your hard-earned money as well.

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Morgan Pielli’s newest short comic, A Forged Man, is currently running during the week on-line at Indestructible Universe dot Com

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