There’s one at every convention or comic mart or work-in or signing, always one nervous and naive young novice who, during a lull in the questions-and answers session will raise one fluttering hand aloft and inquire, tremulously, “Where do you get your ideas from?” And do you know what we do? We…
This magazine features an interview with Sam Alden by T.S. Moreau, essays on Nancy by Dorothy Berry, and an interview with Comics Workbook Composition Competition 2013 winner Dave Ortega. We also have new comics by Oliver East, Sarah Horrocks, and Zach Mason. The cover was drawn by Sam Alden.
Coracle #3, David C. Mahler
This is a collection of short comics, most just one or two pages, which are all autobio, or at least lean heavily in that direction.
Mahler doesn’t yet seem to have full control over his line, in the sense that figures are sometimes uneven, and the heavy crosshatching is at times filling space more than it is describing light or contour. That weakness isn’t helped by the fact that the pages seem to be significantly reduced for print. But the best moments here are compelling.
My favorite part is the center spread, a single landscape image accompanied by the words “I wish this was my home.” Here, the crosshatching is less overwhelming, more purposeful, and offset by pleasant white spaces. In another strong piece, and one that perhaps plays to my own biases, a character’s increasingly enthusiastic rumination on art and dance leads him to dissolve into a sequence of exuberant abstract brushstrokes. You can read that one online. Mahler seems to be aiming for a place of honesty and sincerity in his work, and at times he gets there, but in some of the weaker stories that tone feels forced. Lines like “Our universe is absolutely incredible…and it looms over us, but only when we stare…does it smile so fucking broadly” carry less weight than the simple understatement of “I wish this was my home.”
"Global Image, Local Image"
Made for Comics Workbook
I first picked up Charles Forsman’s The End of the Fucking World (TEOFW) minis at SPX a few years ago and instantly knew that it was going to be a thing (yeah, I’m being one of those annoying “I told you so” people, but whatever). Now that TEOFW is done, Forsman has embarked on a new series called Teen Creeps, which according to him, will be a long running series made up of a “universe of loosely connected characters” and multiple stories. I will be reviewing the first four minis.
Forsman has a thing for teenagers. Ok, back it up, that sounds skeevy. RATHER, he has a history of writing stories about adolescents who forge bonds in inhospitable environments. In the case of Teen Creeps 1-4 we see two female friends who navigate a sexually hostile one. The weapons of choice here are language and violation of trust by peers, adults, and friends.
Writing about high school can be tricky, because many people, and in particular comics-oriented people, probably have negative associations with it (ok I know this is a gross generalization, but we were all dorks at some level, c’mon!). You’d think that people would gravitate towards something as universal as school and adolescence, but reliving this time period can actually be quite distressing and a deterrent to trying out high school related material. Luckily, Forsman has a knack for it. Yes, it’s painful, but compelling enough to make you keep reading.