Friday, December 31, 2021

31 Days Of CCS, #41: Good Boy! Magazine

The spouse duo of Michael Sweater and Benji Nate (literally married in a ceremony at SPX) are astoundingly prolific. Both are as interested in working with others as they are on their own comics, and both subscribe to what I can only describe as a punk-cute aesthetic. Good Boy! Magazine #1 is representative of their publisher, Silver Sprocket, as a whole. The punk/DIY lifestyle, anti-capitalism, anti-cop, pro-LGBTQIA+, etc. ethos underpins most of these artists at least to some extent, regardless of genre. 

One of the best artists in Silver Sprocket and one of the best artists in this anthology is Ashley Robin Franklin. "Fairy Circles" is typical of her work, as it's fantasy-horror intersecting with stories about queer women. It's terrifying, as a woman named Jillian is looking for a missing friend in a forest, one whom she has a crush on. When she steps into a fairy circle, what seems to be an idyllic (and erotic) wish-fulfillment scenario has a dark secret. Franklin takes the reader through a lot: pleasure, desire, fear, magic, mystery, and body horror, and it's all done with a sense of restraint until it's time for a big reveal. Her use of color supports her ultra-cute fairy character design, one that again straddles the line between delight, desire, and decay.

Bonnie Guerra's "Duel For Roses" is a mash-up between combat card games like Yu-Gi-Oh and supernatural elements, and it's the first part of a longer story. Guerra's evil villain is drawn with such an over-the-top Evil Sneer that I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be a parody. This story felt like it drew out obvious elements way too long. On the other hand, Benji Nate's story boils down one element (revenge for rape) and mixes it with another (a female vampire feeding) and turns it into something else (hinting at a friendship or partnership). Nate provides a minimum of information about these characters--just enough to understand motivation and plot, and her cute aesthetic blends well with the violence depicted. 

Sean Mac's cartoony take on the beginning of the movie Scream is very amusing, as the murderer gets bullied into become the blonde girl's submissive boyfriend. It's a silly bit of fluff, but it works well in terms of the book's sequencing. The anthology also has other features, like an interview with the graffiti artist Stacy, a series of drawings from Dalton Stark, and an interview with Gerard Way. Rebecca Kirby's dreamy comic about a woman and her dying dog is done in a bright, sunny yellow and expresses joy. That serves as another transitional piece to Sweater's longer piece. 

This is Sweater at his max: it's about an alien who visits Earth, confident that watching thousands of hours of TV would allow this little green man to fit right in. Instead, he gets harassed (and helped) by homeless people, shouted at by parents, tricked into shoplifting, and forced to run from brutalizing cops. In a quiet moment, he gets his eye pecked at by a bird. Sweater uses fat lines and bright colors to crank up the "noise" and chaos in this city comic; it's meant to be a cheerful assault on the senses. I'll be curious to see how he continues this larger story. Finally, Alex Krokus' "42Q Fakestreet" is a hilarious recapitulation of young punk living, as Claire looks for a job just to feel useful and runs through a series of scammers, homeless, overachieving trust-fund kids, criminals, and more. While the story had a relatively definitive ending, I wanted to see so much more of these characters. It was a good bookend to Franklin's comic, which depicted a different kind of scene, but one that was no less magical and no less dangerous. That sums up the anthology as a whole: whimsical but hazardous. 

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