My Brain Hurts v1 - Liz Baillie - I should have bought all of these, but I was kind of running out of money by the time I got back around to Liz's table. If you have been following my SPX posts, you will know that this is the third work of hers I am reading, and it is also the longest. The volume I purchased collects the first five issues of the comic by the same name and weighs in at 128 pages for the bargain price of 6 bucks. Not all mini comics are this much of a bargain. I think hers were all priced very reasonably for what you are getting.
This is the story of young punks in high-school(ish) but most of the action takes place in clubs and on the street and in a hospital, homes, etc. I identify with this to some degree, but it is just outside of my experience. I never lived in a city with the sort of accessible music scene one might find in what I assume is New York, but may not be. I also, for the life of me had no knowledge of any sort of gay... anything in my area. I had one friend who was, but I won't say I knew it at the time. I never really made assumptions about people's sexuality. I have never been a particularly masculine guy, and I don't use that (often false) indicator as a way of judging sexuality, etc. I just know that I got called a 'fag' a lot by rednecks and jocks. I always took the use of that word to mean 'hi, I'm narrow minded, and you are different from me, and therefore I am threatened by your existence'
In this story, set in a city, and presumably at least 10 years after I graduated, homosexuality is something people actually think of acknowledging. Our main character Kate realizes after a spin the bottle girl on girl kiss, that she really does have feelings for girls. Her best friend Joey, who is an unbelievable 13 year old(well, I come from the past... at 13, I was not really into anything sexual). This is a pretty real look at what some people have to put up with just to be themselves. It doesn't absolve anyone of their own bad behavior, but it shows sexual preference as just another thing that people will use as an excuse to persecute, dehumanize and attack you for. Don't get me wrong, I don't really see this as a one note sort of work. It has greater depth than that. There is also a sincerity to it.
The art is raw, but it's good. It's consistent, it conveys what it needs to convey, it's detailed, and it really grew on me. The writing is good as well. It seemed authentic. I really like her work, and definitely plan to get more volumes in this series.
Local Honey (1 & 2)- No Lemon Press - That link is to a blog, but there isn't much there, and they list their website as being under construction. Here is what their sort of mission statement is (taken from the website(also printed in the volumes)
No Lemon Press, the Southeast's premiere indie GLBT comics imprint based in historic Savannah, Georgia. Founded by a Southern boy and two West Coast transplants, No Lemon Press aims to self-publish literate, queer-centered comics through a uniquely Southern lens.Local Honey is compilation of work by Macarthur, Jon Wolfe, and Dan Valeza . Volume one is just Macarthur and Jon, Volume two adds Dan's work as well. I chatted with these guys briefly, and they were nice and funny. I enjoyed my brief stop at their table a lot. All three are top notch artists. They also all seem to have a really good handle on visual narrative. This is expressed in a variety of ways in these two volumes. They are small volumes, but each artist has at least one piece, and they are well worth picking up if you have the opportunity. I look forward to seeing more works by all three of them.
Woodland #1 - Phil Miarmi - This comic is the funny animal version of the 2000 presidential election. In addition to the story of how Walt Nutt won the election but still lost the presidency to Admiral Acorn, you get a number of educational aids included in-line such as The History of Sap, and The Voting Tree & You. It's funny, it obviously is written from a particular slant, but it works for me. I consider it a bargain at $1.
Ok, I didn't cover as much stuff here as I wanted to. I am down to just a few more things that I want to give some lipservice to, so I figure one post after this one will take care of it.
A disclaimer for the sake of fake-journalist-ic integrity... I am not going to post a review of everything I picked up at SPX. Something I decided not to do here, that I didn't have much of an issue with when reviewing the Popgun 2 anthology, is that I will not be posting negative reviews. If I bought something from a tiny press or from the creator themselves, and I thought it was awful, I am not going to mention names. My goal is not to crap on anyone who is trying to get their work out there. Hopefully they will get better with time, etc. I will say, that of the things I purchased, there were only a very few items I am leaving out.