This week’s pair of mini-comics are about as different as two comics could possibly be. A first-issue from what promises to be a graphic novel, and a collection of like-themed single-page gags; these minis are a testament to the versatility of the medium.
First up is Ashley Quigg’s spirited yarn Space Case Sally: The Purloined Pest, Part One. It’s about a brother and sister that get along as well as teen-preteen siblings generally do; poorly and with much gnashing of teeth. The twist, however, is that they live in a retro-future not unlike the space-age sci-fi pulps of the ‘50s and ‘60s. The Purloined Pest is the first chapter of a larger graphic novel, so the futuristic setting hasn’t, as yet, come into play (a choice by the author that I very much like; there’s no sense in cramming clunky future-speak and future-slang into a story that is, at its core, about two kids trying not to murder each other with their bare hands). The story of Part One focuses on establishing the sister-brother relationship. By freeing herself from the constraints of futurism, Quigg has allowed herself plenty of room to set up and explore the dynamic at an enjoyable pace. It helps that she has created characters that are fun to watch go head-to-head.
The artwork in this mini is dynamic and full of energy. The author demonstrates not only a solid ability to render the human figure, but the ability to convey personality through body language as well. Even sitting still her characters seem to be in motion. This helps to propel the shaggy-dog-style story forward, building upon extremes. The introduction of the sister’s even-keeled best friend is a smart move; it keeps those extremes fun and lively without becoming overwhelming and exhausting.
Finally, I love the cleverly designed cover illustration. It sets the tone for the story while slyly hinting at the plot. This is a great first chapter. I look forward to seeing what else is in store for the characters, and what else Quigg has brewing.
Sad Animals by Adam Meuse
This mini-comic is exactly what it says it is. It is a collection of single page drawings of animals making sad and depressing comments about the state of their lives. It’s a hilarious one-joke premise that is perfectly suited to a mini-comic. In a longer format the joke would likely get stale.
There’s not a lot for me to say about this comic. The animal drawings are fun and loose cartoons that carefully walk the line between deadpan and emotive. Their statements are all very funny, if fairly interchangeable. The package itself has a nice hand-made feel to it appropriate for the alt comics scene.
I don’t imagine a book of this sort would have much reread-value. It’s a very fast read but not particularly substantial. That said, it’s a fun mini that I had a great time reading. It’s a killer idea that Meuse has a lot of fun playing with, and his fun is infectious.