Friday, November 07, 2008

Mini-Comics by Phil McAndrew The mustachioed Are You Man Enough by Phil McAndrew clocks in at twenty pages. Seven pages are devoted to a drum solo. That’s a solid ratio in my book. When a young artist asks his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage, the father balks at handing his daughter off to a “good for nothing” artist. The father is the ultra manly type with the mustache of a German Kaiser. He forces the artist to, and this is where the title comes in of course, prove he is man enough. The burly father rips off his shirt revealing his hairy barrel chest and cries, “You must perform a really cool drum solo!” In this mini, Phil’s characters are wildly expressive. The father is an exaggerated figure with bushy eyebrows and smoking pipe stationed under a sprawling standalone. The artist is thin, frightened, and visibly shaken by the brute of a father. Phil draws the girlfriend impossibly wide-eyed, tiny hearts float above her head. He uses startle lines, flying sweat beads, and onemonepia liberally throughout these pages, giving the reader a vigorous reading experience.

Each copy of Are You Man Enough features an actual felt mustache on the cover. Looks like the mini is sold out in Phil’s shop, but you can read it online here..

Phil’s This and That issue three is a 32-page mini containing several stories and one page gags. The second story, “The Kids Are Dancing,” was in the first issue of the You Ain’t No Dancer anthology. “The Kids Are Dancing” is a standout piece in a very solid mini-comic. The art veers from sketchy and minimal pages to lovely shaded and textured panels with generous black ink. Phil frequently uses exaggerated figures to fill his stories with uneven relationships of power – kids cowering under towering adult authority figures or the trembling artist in Are You Man Enough. This and That issue three is $4 at Phil’s shop.

The 48-page The Secret Thoughts of Harold Lawrence Windcrampe shows Harold’s internal struggle with his difficulty in scoring a girlfriend. Each page, except a few at the end, shows Harold as he appears on the lime green cover – on the left of the page, looking forlorn, hands in pockets. If you flip through the pages, you almost get the effect of a flipbook as Harold walks or exhibits slightly changing facial expressions. Phil pastes Harold’s internal monologue hovering in the top middle of each page. Phil’s mini-comics possess great energy and very solid cartooning. Check out his website, blog, and shop for more information on his work.

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