Sunday, December 15, 2019

31 Days Of CCS #15: Betsey Swardlick, Ivy Allie

Ivy Allie is a first-year CCS student who's demonstrated some sharp comedic instincts in her work to date. Funny Fables is her take on the CCS Aesop project, and she did a meta version of "The Fox And The Crow" that was hilarious. She took the original story, where the fox flattered the crow into dropping a desired pie, and then turned it into a Tom & Jerry routine where each animal sought revenge and the pie. All the while, the narrator kept going, alarmed at what was going on, and coming up with new morals for each story after the latest turn of events. The narrator even winds up playing a part in the narrative itself, as the animals could hear them. Allie's cartooning is fluid and appropriately cartoony.

The Castle Caper reminds me a bit of Mathew New's comics in that there's an unlikely duo going on Indiana Jones-style adventures. In this comic, it's a mummy and a professor's assistant who go on a treasure hunt. The mummy (nicknamed "Monty") had his tomb robbed hours after his death, and being trapped for 4,000 years wasn't going to make finding it easy. This is another breezy, silly, and funny comic whose action is fluid and clear. Allie's use of color brightens up the empty spaces in her panel and even heightens the action at crucial junctures. Allie's character design is a bit fussy in some spots, like the scribbly character of hair for some of the characters. It distracts from the clean aesthetic of the comic and wasn't really needed, given that strong use of color. It's really the only element of her work that isn't simple and fluid. Other than that, it's clear that she's ready to tackle longer work.

I've long enjoyed Betsey Swardlick's punk rock monster-comedy comics for years, from Failwolves to her collaboration on Glamera. She's currently doing a one-woman anthology called Spaghetti Punch, where she's throwing out different ideas in an effort to see what sticks. The first issue features a story about a witch-powered ice cream stand with unusual flavors, whose price is a brief blood-letting. The exasperation felt when half of the clientele want something without dairy or gluten is hilarious. There's also a "debate" between two wrestlers about going shirtless or not and the understanding that disassociating while driving is not a good thing.

Spaghetti Punch #2 finds Swardlick hitting on her next great idea: "Party People." The concept is a world where vampires hold parties where the caterers/waiters are expected not only to serve them drinks but also to be available for blood-sucking. This is an absolutely brutal satire of the idle rich, but it's also a fascinating account of a particular young woman who really got into the experience of having her blood sucked. It's a kind of horror version of Upstairs, Downstairs, looking at both the vapid aristocracy and the foibles of the workers. Finally, Swardlick was the key mover in Ratburn, a comic about a band of anthropomorphic rats. This is mostly fragmentary, but it bounces between the band in its decadent punk rock heyday and years later, when the lead singer is a teacher but still invested in the dream. There's also a rat couple that Laurel Lynn Leake and Amelia Onorato do pin-ups for. This is an interesting set of ideas that bear further fleshing out.

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