- Posted by Johanna on July 24, 2006 at 8:36 am
- Category: Minicomics
- CREDITS: by Ted Slampyak
It’s Monday, so here’s a minicomic! This one is cheating, though, because I have no idea how you’d get a copy… but it’s so entertaining that I had to talk about it.
There were three Suzi Romaine minicomics released in 1993 by Ted Slampyak. You may know his wonderful historical mystery webcomic Jazz Age Comics, and he illustrates (Little Orphan) Annie. He’s also a Libertarian, which is relevant because, as this Comics Reporter interview discusses,
Suzi was created after reading a lot of Ayn Rand, who I was really into at the time. One of the things Rand talked about in her essays was how so many conventions of storytelling were based on some preconceived notions — the successful businessman turns out to be the bad guy, and the ones who try to pull him down are the good guys, and always have the best of motives. I tried to turn that on its head, and create a character who’s a fun-loving, free-wheeling businesswoman, who runs a chain of restaurants her way, and who thwarts the attempts of others to make her do things their way, or who just want her to stop being so brazenly successful. A sort of individual-versus-collective kind of story.
I only found this out later, and while it’s an interesting and unusual perspective to see represented, the stories are just fine without this knowledge or inclination. So what are they?
In “Rubbish”, a trash strike is making Suzi’s restaurant unpleasant to visit. She decides to hire her own truck and take her own trash to a landfill, which brings her in conflict with the union. Suzi’s spunky, lithe, and active with a face that vaguely reminds me of Mia Farrow, only topped by a two-tone ponytail. She’s a fighter, too, able to defend herself in the face of thugs trying to stop her.
“Who’s Afraid of Officer Campbell?” pits Suzi against the law. The officer’s controlling every aspect of life in Eggville through permits and regulations, so Suzi brings him down to size through the most creative use of a car antenna and hood I’ve ever seen.
“Enemy Terrayne” introduces Jayne, a corporate spy sent to infiltrate Suzi’s macrobiotic health fast food chain and steal her recipes. Of course, she’s bested, but only after a fist fight, attempted citizen’s arrest, and dynamite car chase.
It’s all told with Slampyak’s smooth lines without skimping on action. Suzi’s quick with a gun and drives a darling convertible Volkswagen bug (another favorite of Slampyak’s). Her outfit, an odd combination of frock coat, unitard, and cutoff shorts, is as quirky as she is. Even if you don’t agree with her politics, her individualism and can-do spirit is inspirational. Suzi’s the kind of character I’d like to see more often in comics — a capable woman who goes after what she wants and gets it.