Friday, December 31, 2010

#8 for 2010

#8 These two mini-comics by the Sheehan Brothers that I got at a convention in October

My knowledge of New Zealand comics is ridiculously tiny – I could spout out a complete genealogy of the Flash off the top of my head, stretching from Jay Garrick beating up Ratzi spies to John Fox and his amazing holographic shoulder pads in the 853rd Century, but I couldn’t name ten New Zealand comic artists without access to the internet.

But I try. I do my best. Whenever there is a convention in town, I always grab a few mini-comics from the local creator stand. Many of them have the charm of the amateur, many of them are just unspeakably awful, and a couple of them are very, very good.

I only ended up getting two tiny mini-comics at this year’s Armageddon convention, part of a new series by the Sheehan Brothers, a pair of local comic creators who have been producing good work on the NZ scene for several years. It doesn’t quite have the skills to match its goals and occasionally collapses under the weight of its own worthiness, but it's always worth a look..

There is no chance of that messiness happening with their latest comics, because they are quiet and calm works of delicate creepiness. So far, they have produced two of these 24-panel CD-booklet sized comics, and I read both of them in about five minutes, and enjoyed them both immensely.

They’re short little tales about people encountering Things In Dark Woods in a slightly impossible world where perceptions are not to be trusted and monsters are lurking around the corner. They don’t bother with anything like word balloons or plot, going for more of an unsettling vibe than a coherent story.

Mini-comics can be a dodgy proposition – there are loads of perfectly average ones appearing every year, but there are plenty of gems as well, and these Sheehan comics are definitely the latter.

I read both of them minutes, but they hung around my head in a way that most modern comics rarely do. Any sort of comic that gets that kind of reaction must be doing something right.

I wish I could say more about these terrific little comics, but they’re so small that they’ve disappeared. I can’t even check what they’re called. They are probably buried in that worryingly high stack of 2000ads that I’ve been shuffling around the spare room.

But they’ll turn up again like an unexpected little treasure, and I’m looking forward to getting into that odd little world again.

In the meantime, there are vague plans to produce more of these small comics, According to Kelly Sheehan. He said it might take a while, but these kind of things are not worth rushing. They’ll happen in their own time.

These kinds of things always do.

Next #7 Never mind the decadence….

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