Not all indie comics have to be about angsty superheroes or moody monochrome slice of life tales. Sometimes it’s OK to put together some weird pictures and some surreal characters and call them a story. We take a look at three of these such quirky tales in our latest indie comics round-up featuring: Adam and Gill’s Trivia Game, Mooncop and Mr Unpronouceable and the Sect of The Bleeding Eye.
Adam and Gill’s Trivia Game
Writer/Artist: Adam J Smith and Gill Hatcher Price: £3 from Comicsy
Unlike your average indie anthologies which can be a bit straight laced or genre specific, Adam J Smith and Gill Hatcher have compiled a quirky and bizarre mix of strips for their new collection. They’re brought together under the umbrella of surreal game show hosted by a bear and an inflatable rabbit and it reads a bit like one of those strange Japanese gameshows that you find on cable channels late at night – in other words, it’s loud and silly and doesn’t always make sense! While there are some strips which are a lot of fun: like Barkus the dog, who rescues a plane full of passengers by not being the co-pilot; or Baroquetopus, where an 18th century composer uses a musically gifted octopus to wow the musical elite and has a great pun for a title! However, others feel just a little bit too weird for being weird’s sake. There’s one about Bungle from Rainbow scrumping for apples and another one about him dancing in his kitchen, only for his neighbour to call the police. As well as there being one about some girls weeing in buckets. Then there’s our host, Barrold the Bear and his pal Robert an inflatable rabbit, who in one story feature in a world where people are encouraged not to go to the toilet to save water – which again is all very odd. When it works, Adam and Gill’s Trivia Game is really good and a lot of fun, and we like the fact it is trying something different and not following the indie herd. However, for us it was just a bit too weird in a few too many places to be the really great book that it could be.
Moon cop (Drawn and Quarterly)
Writer/Artist: Tom Gauld Price: £12.99 from Amazon
If you were expecting this to be a high octane intergalactic police adventure, then you’ll be disappointed as it is anything but that. However if you are a fan of more serene and circumspect sci-fi, like Silent Runnings, then Mooncop is a must read. Tom Gauld’s delicately crafted story is about the loneliness of a cop on the moon, whose most exciting cases involve rescuing a lost dog, finding a missing girl and recovering a rogue Neil Armstrong automaton. The community on the moon is slowly leaving and this leaves our hero more worried how he’ll get his coffee and donut every day than spiralling crime rates. There’s an acute melancholy about the whole thing which is augmented beautifully by Gauld’s simplistic art and minimalistic use of colour. While it has a newspaper strip style to the artwork, Gauld’s pacing is on super slo-mo, preferring to linger on perfectly composed lunar architecture or quirky pieces of technology rather than worry about some big reveal. On first reading, this glacial pace leaves you feeling a little confused as nothing obvious appears to be happening. However what it is doing is slowly, but subtly, building towards a nicely heart-warming conclusion, which ultimately leaves you with a fitting end to this strangely beautiful tale of lunar introversion.
Mr Unpronounceable And the Sect Of The Bleeding Eye (Milk Shadow Books)
Writer/Artist: Tim Molloy Price: £4.99 from ComiXology
Even for veterans of strange comics the world of Mr Unpronounceable, is more like Mr Incomprehensible. Tim Molloy’s dream-like and surreal series of stories about a man and his homunculus is a bizarre mix of horror and sci-fi that’s told in a very confusing and rambling style. It’s a bit like if Robert Crumb made a comic from a David Lynch script while on some powerful hallucinogenics, then you’d get somewhere close to the utterly baffling world Malloy has created for his enigmatic hero. This particular volume is split into multiple stories and it’s difficult to encapsulate exactly what happens as it has such a rambling stream of consciousness style to it that seems to follow no fixed path. The opening story has something to do with Mr U. returning to a city he has long vacated and visiting the order of silent monks. But ends up with him traversing space in a weird little space craft, meeting a bearded space hippie and encountering the titular sect of bleeding eyes. While the second story sees him caught in a kind of nightmarish time travel loop and features some creatures with maggots for faces, a third chapter sees him encounter a weird two headed God creature and a fourth chapter sees him do some naked canoeing. Despite it being utterly incomprehensible at times, it has a certain charm to it, which is definitely helped by Tim’s outstanding visuals. All told in black and white it has a very Comix feel to it (and has the kind of heavy blacks style which we love in the work of Midnight Man’s Andy Bloor) while the surreal characters and worlds he creates are truly breath-taking at times and reason enough to keep reading – even if the narrative doesn’t make any sense whatsoever! So if you like your comics surreal and imaginative, and a little bit challenging, then you should definitely give this a try, (but if you like things a bit more conventional, then we’d definitely give this one a miss).
Author: Alex Thomas
Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.