It's SPX (Small Press Expo) in July!! I have been meaning to post more of these to finish up the haul I got at SPX last year, but the road to hell is personally paved by ME and MY good intentions specifically. I imagine that other people's good intentions are paving other major thoroughfares. So with no further introduction here we go.
SPQR Blues -by klio (Carol Burrell) is a 'Generally Quite Serious Sword and Sandals Epic Under The Shadow Of Mt. Vesuvius' The table for this comic was one of my favorite tables to visit at SPX. Everyone there was friendly and fun and enthusiastic for their product, etc. It was a real pleasure to pop by periodically and chat, say hello again, and also tell them which exit to use etc. (remember, I was working as a volunteer). I bought the first three chapters in print form, and am glad I did. I like having the print, I like buying things to support creators that are talented and nice and especially who put out a good product. The printing is ok, but does not do justice to the quality and the crispness of the art. klio is a very talented cartoonist and her skills have definitely continued to develop and improve. Follow the link and check it out. Online is definitely the best way to view this. The comic has humor and drama, and looks to hold some mystery and intrigue as well. It takes place in Herculanium, and has a pretty sizable cast of characters, but focuses on Felix, a soldier returning from the legion, and Mus, a younger man that Felix once cared for when he was younger. Mus passes himself casually off as perhaps being younger than he is. I am only through the first chapter, but there is already a connection with the characters and a desire to know more, which si a great thing for a story to elicit in a reader. I look forward to reading more. I like the print, but there is so much going on that it is a bit tight on the page. Online it is even prettier (I felt obligated to add that, as I am not really ragging on the print version)
It may also be a fine thing to point out that while the comic had a brief hiatus, it started back up and is rolling along.
Pinstriped Bloodbath - This comic was my personally selected winner for coolest cover design / packaging. I imagine that every year I will have one of these. My first time I went the honor belonged to one of Falynn Koch's pieces that was cooler than the average fare. In 2009 it was this one. Pinstriped Bloodbath had a cover that was a double breasted pinstriped Suit jacket with a blood spatter as an outer cover. The inner cover that is visible under the jacket is a white shirt and red tie. There is a paper band that is illustrated and touts the book as an Anthology of Gangland Violence by Chicago Cartoonists. There are 8 different stories in the volume, which is edited by Jeff Zwirek, and has small art pieces by Ivan Brunetti and Josh Cotter for the contents and contributors pages. The stories themselves run the gamut from really abrupt short pieces, to longer ones on a variety of subjects. My favorite both in art and subject matter is a several page piece by the editor that focuses on the historical facts around the use of the Thompson Sub Machine Gun in Chicago crime. The art is great, it is an interesting story, and the footnotes are really informative. I like this collection a lot. There are only a few items in it I don't like, and the total package certainly makes up for that. It's a good idea executed pretty well.
Girl Ninja Presents Corporate Ninja Saga - Rebecca Simms, Story by Patrick Lewis - I thought Girl Ninja was pretty funny when I picked it up at a previous SPX. I also liked the vibe at the table at the time. There was a group of people selling their various projects and everyone was friendly and talky. It was enough good will to make pick up this comic when I saw it this time. In this we get Girl Ninja vs Corporate Mind control... ninja style. Once again it is fairly rough. This time it is just one side of the page, stapled 8.5 x 11. The art is a slightly rough manga influenced style, and it is cute and funny and works fine. I go to SPX to get a fuller range of variety in production and styles, etc. I continue to enjoy this. There is almost a hint of the sort of cuteness you get in the comic Empowered, without otherwise being related to that... It's a feeling I get from it that is a positive one.
Style and Grace #1 - Mike Jasorka - Mike was also one of the highlights of the show for me. He was exceptionally nice, and very willing to talk about his work. Chatty and fun work well for me. The comic is pretty funny. Las Vegas, 1982 Jimmy finds out that his Mom is getting married to a pimp. The pimp wants Jimmy to take over the business for him. It's all so bright and clean. It is sort of like the South Park where Butters becomes a pimp. This pre-dates that, but the humor is similar which isn't a bad thing at all. Mike also has work published in Rinksider magazine and has a roller girl related project in the works if I recall correctly.
Mix Tape and Piece Meal - Nate Beaty - I picked up two mini's from Nate Beaty. He was also responsible for one of the short but very good entries in Pinstriped Bloodbath as well. Piece Meal has two stories in it. One is called Blanks and is about awkward sexual and interpersonal dynamics among teens, played out in one evening. Yasek Loop is a sort of lush and ethereal dream sequence, or maybe not a dream sequence that starts with a fall from a very tall platform in the woods, and works in seemingly spectral animals and the noncorporeal. Mix Tape is about a sequence in his life involving the making of a mix tape and that sort of awkwardness involved when you put yourself out there like that. It's a well done cartoon. It shows a lot in the art and rings true.