SPX Roundup: Horrorcorns / by Alex Jarvis

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More SPX minicomics, including something that has scarred me for the foreseeable future.  COPOUT Comix!

I wasn’t aware of the COPOUT scene in Philadelpha, but now I am and am intimately curious. This is a minicomic compendium, so I’ll go through and give some reviews of each individually.

FAT GHOST by Crystal Ben

A story for the ages. I really liked the shading done here. It gave an ephemeral nature to the entire piece, which makes sense as it concerns mostly ghosts. Self-obsessed, lonely ghosts. A quick, to-the-point, poignant read.

THE ONCE & GERIATRIC KING by James Kaminski

A hilarious re-brand of Ulyssees, this comic is notable for it’s powerful portmanteus. The Froglodyte is a particular favorite. A story that takes itself too seriously right up until the punchline, which is the joke. Great read.

THE ADVENTURES OF FAT NINJA by Jason Piperberg

Unrelated to the Fat Ghost (as far as I know--this could be a sly prequel attempt) this comic is well drawn and well paced. For such a small story, it packs a decent amount of action, and a final panel that made me laugh, yes, out loud.

MAIL PIG ADVENTURES by Andy Hood

Mail Pig is something that I’d expect to see as a recurring gag in a webcomic--and I mean that as a compliment. There are no other words: it is just f***ing delightful. The art is whimsical, as is the story. Just awesome.

THE GREAT WOODLAND TALES pt3 by Wayne Martin

I would really like to see parts 1 and 2, because this one made me seriously miss college. The “woodland” here mostly amounts to anthropomorphic animals who, upon the potential death of their child, drink in a doctors office. The art was a little jarring compared to the rest of the comics, but it didn’t bother me at all. The last line is a killer.

MARITZA THE FLOWER GIRL by Andy Hood

A distinct saccharine tone as compared to Mail Pig, this one is sweet and sour. The art remains as whimsical, but the story is a little sad. I liked it all the same, but I totally whish they ended on Mail Pig.

I encourage you all to check out COPOUT-ARTISTS.tumblr.com, or COPOUTARTISTS.blogspot.com for more work from the above, as well as other talented artists of the area. Now on to non-COPOUT minis.

WATER-WINTER WONDERLAND by Hannah Lee Stockdale

Now *this* is exactly what I want from a minicomic. It’s canonical, as far as I am concerned.

The book itself is high-quality for a mini--great glossy cover and decent thickness paper. I am not sure why I am drawn to comment on the construction, other than it felt like a really professional production as I sat down to read it. The characters in the comic are the real shine, though--they jumped out of the page from the moment we see them, the style resembling something like a slightly more mature Bryan Lee O’Malley (not to disparage him at all, of course--mature here means more angular characters and different builds.)

Stockdale knows how to rock a face. Protagonist Anita weaves disgruntled frowns in quick inlaid panels at her condescending friend Carmichael, and for being a short (12 page) book, the character is spectacularly defined beyond what she says. The glances, the look--and, yes, the panelling. The entire book is a snapshot of a particular kind of person that, at least for me, resonates deeply (the aimless headstrong post-teen). All of this mixed with the mysticism of the book (and the humor--I can’t describe the noise I made when one character produces a widely unexpected gift for the other) shows a seriously strong grasp of storytelling. Great mini, I’ll be looking out for more of her work in the future.

SEETHING WITH HATRED #2 by Jim Moscater and Dan Strauss

This comic did not make me feel great. I really liked it, don’t get me wrong--but this is the opposite of a feel-good comic. Contained within it are hard life stories, tales of cynicism and woe. Not existential dread or apocalyptic visions, nothing like that.

No, contained within SWH#2 are the small inadequacies of life. Job interviews that you don’t really want. Anxiety ridden bus rides. Horrifying childhood memories. Second servings. Just, everything about this reeks not of the grossest or worst parts of humanity, just the most unsettling.

The art fits it perfectly, as far as I am concerned. Unsure, wavy, perfectly suitable for this kind of storytelling. It is the perfect kind of grotesque.

UNICRONOMICON 1, 3 and 4 by Catherine Peach and Pals

This way lies madness, folks.

Each UNICRONOMICON comes packaged in a cigarette case (and handed out by a lovely cigarette girl) with an included doo-dad. A small piece of candy, a tchotchke, a magnifying glass, that sort. The comic itself is a small comic (each page is smaller than a playing card) with each page showing a unicorn doing...something. Those ‘somethings’ are where the madness lives; unicorn fellatio, unicorn spaceships, small unicorn poems--they are delightful. There’s no pretense of plot or reason, just page after tiny page of unicorns. I believe (and I may be mistaken) that I counted up to six printed editions available. These little horrors are some of my favorite parts of the small press comics scene--they are just so perfectly, uniquely, expertly weird.