- Posted by Johanna on October 11, 2006 at 8:23 am
- Category: Minicomics
- CREDITS: by Sarah Becan
Shortpants Press is a “boutique underground press” (aka comic, print, and zine publisher) out of Chicago that serves as a loose collective of artists. They sent me a variety of their minicomics (and they do have a variety), and this series in particular caught my eye due to its unique concept.
These small minis were inspired by Ouija board sessions. Each page is a panel, with a question at the top and a simple ghost figure answering underneath. Here’s a sample two-page spread to demonstrate:
There’s more to the comic than just the pictures, though. The letter is beautiful, and the heavy cardstock cover in an antique beige complements the old-fashioned feel of the material. Documenting a seance this way reminds me of an old “scientific” journal from a couple of centuries ago. The panel corner decorations contribute to that impression.
The first issue is the story of “Theo Wallis”, murdered when he was 40-something. Issue #2 is “Chip”, a jokester who wants the living to enjoy themselves. “Naomi”, a 10-year-old, is the subject of #3. Issue #4 talks to “Mack, Agatha, & Samantha”.
The conversations are about what you’d expect. Once the interviewer (and reader) find out what happened to create the ghost, we’re out of space. After all, you can’t get a lot of in-depth information from a Ouija board without a lot of patience. The playful nature of some of the ghosts contrasts nicely with the innately bummer concept (we are, after all, talking to dead people), but it also raises the question in my mind of who was involved in these sessions and how much of a jokester they might have been.
Issue #4 is by far the most puzzling and ambitious. Mack and Agatha are brother and sister ghosts looking for their mama. They won’t pass on until they are forced to confront a shocking secret. Judging from this comic, ghosts tend to have the most outrageous backgrounds, full of terrible things. Which makes sense, I guess, since the happy dead people don’t need to hang around talking to us. Still, it all seems a bit convenient, that the answers they need come so quickly. This is definitely a series improved by the right frame of mind, one ready for the possibility of crossing the borders between life and dead. Candlelight would probably help, too.
Find out more at Sarah Becan’s website. She also creates the Shuteye series, where each issue is a thought-provoking short story.