Friday, January 02, 2009

Trio of Comics from Secret School Press The horizontally oriented mini One Time, by Adam Beeby, tells a cute story of Adam making a birdhouse, installing it in his backyard, and then quickly deciding to modify his original design. One Time is drawn simply with very little embellishment. Adam draws himself as a gingerbread-like figure with rounded limbs and three holes for his eyes and mouth. This mini is a good example of the quick gag format used so effectively by a lot of artists. Adam doesn’t try to hard. He picks a short memory or story and gives it a simple, but effective design. He uses the last page for the gag and delivers a solid $1 mini-comic.

The Confession of a Most Intimate Memory by W. Roger Stroud is an eight page meditation on a terminally broken relationship. The narrator shares a secret of how he cruelly tested a woman he may or may not have loved. He deliberately lied to the woman to test her honesty. He was looking for the moment when she called “Bullshit,” but instead found nothing but destruction. Over drawings of landscapes or empty rooms, the prose of The Confession floats neatly in carefully lined text boxes. A separate set of single words, strung together to form the central theme of the comic, nests within each of the first several pages. The lines of the images are photo-realistic and stiff, creating an inflexible air to the words that pile up to create this gloomy memory.

Rule of One-Way, also by W. Roger Stroud, is an eight page mini-comic, slightly larger in format than The Confession. In Confession, neatly lined backgrounds filled the pages; in Rule of One-Way the carefully constructed backgrounds are replaced instead by figures of people in a train station. The characters are drawn almost as rigidly as the backgrounds; they seem frozen in time rather than fluid. The story itself is quick, brutal, and marked by tragedy. There isn’t much room for things to develop, but it works very well in an eight page format.

Contact Adam, the founding member of Secret School Press, to see about purchasing SSP minis. One Time and The Confession of a Most Intimate Memory are each $1 and Rule of One-Way is $2.

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