Tuesday, July 29, 2003

From the Reading Pile XIX

Benjamin Franklin: History's Greatest Time Traveler!
I don't really see the point in billing this as "the story SPX didn't want you to see." I don't self-publish short stories as pieces Eyeshot rejected, and I think it's bad form to grouse about rejection by editors. That said, this eight-page mini by Ron LeBrasseur details a young student's report on how he spent his summer vacation. On the way to Florida, the narrator is joined by a time traveling Benjamin Franklin, whom the boy doesn't recognize and who is there to combat the 50-foot Mecha Lincoln, a rampaging robot brought to ground by a lightning bolt. It's a quick bit of cartoony silliness, and the punchline -- "The assignment was, 'Why I love America!'" -- gives hint to why the piece wasn't accepted for the SPX annual. The SPX pieces were to be biographical comics, not selections merely involving historical figures as characters. Still, punk points for trying, Ron! Also, extra credit for the Gloucester Dogtown snapshot in the beginning of the comic. Contact Ron LeBrasseur for more information.

Drake Marvel, Private Eye
Ron LeBrasseur claims Peter Phelan's character Drake Marvel as his own in this 12-page digest including the eight-page story titled "Roswell That Ends Well." It's a silly, cartoony story in which a stranded grey obtains work as a DJ. LeBrasseur's character designs are clean -- despite some potentially misleading coloring (p. 7, panels 4-5 led me to think a new alien character had been introduced) -- and the punchline pays off. I look forward to an anthology of Drake Marvel stories. The full-color covers add a nice touch. Contact Ron LeBrasseur for more information.

I feel slightly cheated now that I'm actually reading this 32-page digest. As much as I like the work of P. Shaw, $10 for this photocopied, reflective cover digest? "You cannot afford that," (p. 3) is right! Collecting Shaw's Dust, Kurla, and Sloppa Lee Slapdup strips, inked and watercolored in his characteristic style, the comics involve robots, cooking, nature, music, ninjas, Tinker Toys, revenge, and construction work. In many ways, it's a love story between Dust and the Insuperable Kurla, and the tender tales are more oriented toward process comics and the oblique than Shaw's past work. The Flip n' Read comics gracing the center spread -- one dedicated to Jamaica Plain-based City Feed and Supply -- are a concept worth returning to. You know what? I don't feel ripped off at all. Despite my slight irritation about the item's price, Shaw deserves kudos for this new complexity and direction, as well as the more mature character set. Kudos! $10 to P. Shaw, P.O. Box 425430, Cambridge, MA 02142.

Go-Go Girl #3 (Spring 2002)
Every time I see Craig Bostick, he gives me a hard time for not reading or reviewing any of his comics since the previous issue in this series. This one's for you! Craig's got a fun Maurice Vellekoop and Los Bros. Hernandez by way of Leela Corman and Seth art style, and the four short pieces in this 28-page digest are extremely well paced and timed in their comedy. In the first and longest story, "Specially Marked Boxes," the chain-smoking Go-Go Girl falls under the thumb of a hyperactive child in an attempt to win a date with a pop singer. The two-page "Last Call Close Call" might be the best of the lot with its pratfall, passing time, and apologetic punchline. And "Hypnotized" works well until the overly expositional explanation at the end, which is then redeemed by a well-drawn Pete Bagge-esque pratfall. Craig's art and sense of humor are pleasantly clean and well-paced. I won't hesitate to read #4 when it comes out -- if it hasn't already! $3 to Craig Bostick, 7 Weld Hill St. #2R, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.

Don MacDonald's watercolor, well-lettered historicomic originally appeared in the 2002 SPX anthology. Scaled down to an almost too-small mini format, the eight-page comic remains a lush, expertly illustrated story even though MacDonald's beautiful cursive, near-calligraphic scripting is practically illegible. The art is wonderful, and it's clear MacDonald has a solid grasp of perspective, his use of reference photographs aside. A beautiful introduction to what will hopefully expand into a longer work. Contact Don MacDonald for more information.

No comments: