Saturday, November 23, 2013
Thirty Days of CCS #23: Bingo Baby
Bingo Baby is touted as an "experimental collaborative comic book" at its home site, Penny Lantern. The script was the result of a collaborative role-playing game called Fiasco, which aims to be a RPG version of a Coen Brothers movie, where you play characters with "powerful ambition and poor impulse control". The players included CCS alums like Amelia Onorato, Denis St John, Donna Almendrala, Joseph Lambert, and Bill Bedard, along with professor Jason Lutes. After recording the game and turning it into a script, the group parceled out storytelling responsibilities in a mainstream "assembly-line" style. Onorato drew the characters and some backgrounds. Bedard, Lutes and St. John drew other background details. Almendrala inked the whole thing to give it page-to-page consistency. Bedard and Lambert did the colors, while Alemendrala and Lutes lettered it. The results are interesting, if uneven.
The story concerns a handful of intersecting characters in a small town, each with their own set of obsessions and delusions. Carol Anne is sensible but obsessed with playing Bingo, the central metaphor of the book. Her (technically) ex-husband Rob is a dreamer who fancies himself an actor. His brother Jake is a petty drug dealer living with his elderly relative Nan, and he's trying to find money that she may have hidden inside her house after winning a big bet on a horse race as a young woman. There's Missy, who's trying to negotiate being a single mother after being thrown out by her parents, and Goldie, a drug-addled older man who fancies himself the father of her baby. Each of the characters has dreams that directly or indirectly interfere with the others, which seems to be a product in part of the game's mechanics. It also conveniently lays down a plot as the players/writers try to find a voice for each of the characters.