Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Big Batch From Silber Media

Silber Media's Brian John Mitchell sent me a huge batch of his latest micro-mini comics. As always, these minis are 2x2" and range from 12 - 40 or so pages. They're almost entirely written by Mitchell and drawn by a number of collaborators, though Mitchell does do stick-figure drawings for some of these comics. Mitchell's minicomics publishing empire is one of the odder phenomena in comics today, and I always look forward to a new shipment. Given the size of this latest shipment, I'll do a lightning-round style evaluation of each, with just a sentence or two of commentary.

Poit!: WTF and Poit!: La Jetee, by BJM and Dave Sim. The common thread for all of these comics is a palpable yet restrained sense of desperation. These stick-figure experiments with Sim feature precisely the same art in both minis, with completely different dialogue (written by Mitchell) in each. In one, the protagonist pops in and out of horrible events as a time traveler. In another, he constantly dreams about killing his girlfriend. In both cases, suicide winds up being his solution.

Lost Kisses #21, by BJM. This has always been Mitchell's best series: a series of stick-figure drawings featuring dialogue with narrative captions that provide a funny counterpoint, although that humor is cynical and frequently pitch-black. This one also focuses on time travel, musing on how it might affect his life.

Built #1, by BJM & Joe Badon. This story about a robot with human emotions who strives to move beyond his station in life is about 90% filler, plodding on long after its premise was established.

xlk: Extreme Lost Kisses, by BJM & Nick Marino. Best way to describe this comic: if Rambo had been done as a stick-figure cartoon with an overdubbed narrator pontificating about his mission ala Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now.

Ultimate Lost Kisses #12, by BJM & Jeremy Johnson. This story about a teenager who becomes pregnant and is determined to keep it feels a bit like a Dave Kiersh comic, minus compelling imagery.

XO #7, by BJM & Melissa Spence Gardner. This is the continuing story of an introspective assassin who muses about his life and his relationships. In this issue, he falls in love with a woman who should raise red flags, and winds up paying a price. This was a genuinely exciting comic, and Gardner's simple gray-scaled art is effective in giving the reader short sharp shocks on each page.

Small Art Series: American, Awake, Climb, Professor Horton, Why Birds Sing, miscellaneous, by BJM. All of these feature color photos of assorted textures, meant to mimic wood, fire (Professor Horton is about the original Human Torch), plumage, etc. These tiny comics are worth a glance, though not a lingering look, because it's less about aesthetics than concept.

Monthly #1, by BJM & Eric Shonborn and Star #1, by BJM & Kurt Dinse. Mitchell loves flipping seemingly mundance stories into supernatural thrillers, all while maintaining the initial dramatic/romantic thread. Monthly drops an early clue as to why its protagonist can't find the right girl to fall in love with and why this is so important, and then spills its reveal halfway through. It's a funny, effective bit of shock, aided by clear and stark art by Shonborn. Star's concept is similar, though it lets the cat out of the bag a little earlier and so starts to drag halfway through. There's also too much clutter on the page.

Vigilant #1, by BJM & PB Kain. This comic about vigilantes is both tedious to read and boring to look at. It's one of the rare total misfires from Mitchell.

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