Ed’s MoCCA Comics

Review by Ed Sizemore

To make the reviews more manageable, I divided the material I bought at MoCCA into floppies and books. Here are floppies; the book reviews will follow soon.

Doctor Canacki #1, 2
Art by Maaren Vande Viele, story by Stefan Nieuwenhuis, published by Bries
This book is in Dutch, which I can’t read. I picked it up because I loved the art and the retro 60s feel of the book. The interior art is gorgeous black and white. I love how Vande Viele has the foreground and background blend into each other at times to add to the psychedelic feel of the book. A preview of each can be seen here.

Human on the Inside
by Mike Zagari, published by comixels.com
This is a good opening chapter. I do have a problem with the character design of the lead male. The art reminds me of Paul Pope but with thicker lines and less detail. This definitely leaves me wanting more. Preview pages are available at comixels.com.

Robot13: Colossus! #1
story by Thomas Hall, art by Daniel Bradford, published by Blacklist Studios
The art and feel of the book is very similar to Mignola’s Hellboy. I’m a huge fan of Hellboy, so I’m already predisposed to like this book. The first issue didn’t disappoint. I plan to pick up future issues. A preview is available here.

Comic Book Comics #2,3
written by Fred Van Lente, art by Ryan Dunlavey, published by Evil Twin Comics
Action Philosophers made me a devotee of Evil Twin Comics. This new series is just as good. This is the best introduction to the history of American comics that I’ve come across. Highly recommended.

THB: Comics from Mars #1
by Paul Pope, published by AdHouse Books
This is my first exposure to Pope’s THB universe. I can see what the fuss is about. This book has great art and compelling stories. I’ll definitely be reading more THB stories. A preview is available here.

I Love Sex
by Martina Fugazzotto
Given their length, these comics can’t be a comprehensive guide to sex education. They’re excellent conversation starters. I do wish that sex was discussed more in the context of a committed relationship. At times, these books make sex appear as simply another recreational activity. Martina talks about her “hot boyfriend”, but he comes across as more sex toy than partner. You can read this series online at gurl comix.

Pandora’s Box (assembled)
by Ken Wong
This is a clever way to tell the myth of Pandora, and it’s an attractive desk item, too. It’s a comic in the shape of a box. Wong does a great job with the story and the design of the comic. When you get to the part where Pandora opens the box, you have to open the comic box to see what happens next. It’s getting the little details right that make this a wonderful origami comic. I highly recommend this.

Schrodinger’s Cat (assembled)
by Ken Wong
This comic is in the shape of those paper fortune tellers everyone my age made, and played with, in elementary school. This is actually two comics. One side is a brief explanation of Schrodinger’s thought experiment. Wong makes an excellent point on how comic readers will find theories of alternate universes familiar. The other side is a list of every animated or comic cat with a joke related to Schrodinger’s theory. Another highly recommended comic.

The Dollar Dreadful Library
by Tania Del Rio & Wilhelm Staehle
These are not comics, but rather illustrated short stories. They are a pastiche of the old Penny Dreadful tales. I bought all six of the available stories and enjoyed each one as a light read. Hopefully, Del Rio & Staehle will continue to add to this library. I would love to see them write enough stories to gather them into a nice trade paperback. Previews of the stories are available at Dollar Dreadful website.

The Unwritten
by Mike Carey & Peter Gross, published by Vertigo
This was the free comic given to all attendees of MoCCA. It’s okay. It has some good ideas and good art. I just didn’t connect with any of the characters. I definitely wouldn’t follow this monthly. The story pace is too slow. This is a series I might try the first trade to see if the ideas and characters become better developed. You can download a preview here.

Real Comics for Girls

I haven’t had a chance to explore this site in depth yet, but it looks very promising. Gurl.com, a site aimed at teenage girls, has their own comic section. I’m told that they’ve around for ten years, which is quite impressive, and I like their focus on community building. And oh, yeah, their comics are by women. One of their staff sent me a message with a quote I loved:

We”ve always known teen girls were into comics, because of course WE were into comics when we were teens, and our comix section is very popular.

Rachel and cat

Rachel Nabors, a young artist I had the pleasure of speaking with at SPX and whose works I’ve enjoyed, sent me the following background:

I’ve been making comics on and off for gURL.com for about three years now. I started freelancing for them when I was eighteen. I responded to their site’s Send us your comics! request with Fifteen Revolutions, which got such a good response from teenage readers that gURL began picking up more of my comics. With every year my art and stories got better, my fanbase grew, and the demand for more of my comics rose.

This November 29th I finally went weekly. Every Wednesday from now on, a comic of mine will go live at gURL.com like clockwork. Creative director Heather Bradley, whom I have worked with since I first started freelancing for gURL, knows that girls do in fact read comics. They read them so much that gURL is making a major push in the direction of girls’ webcomics. gURL expects to launch another weekly comic by regular comicker Martina Fugazzotto in January.

gURL.com’s parent company, iVillage, is owned by NBC Universal. I’m not working for a comic company or even a book publisher, and in some ways it rocks to be completely divorced from the clannish and typically misogynistic comics industry. There are no fears about whether my comics will take with the crowd, no pressure to conform to certain content expectations often found in comics. My comics have dedicated readers, and that’s all I or gURL need to know. In other ways it makes me sad to work outside the industry because I love comics, and many of the girls who email me confess that my comics on gURL were their introduction to the world of manga and American comics. I’m working to help bring girls and comics together when I’m not even a part of the comic publishing industry as defined by companies like Tokyo Pop, Slave Labor Graphics and DC. But, the world of comics is definitely changing. Perhaps I and gURL are a part of that change.

She’s got a very important point — the gatekeepers may be becoming more rigid and clannish because they know how easy it is to get around them these days.




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