Small Press Spotlight: Something Terrible, The Boy Who Loved a Ghost Clown, High Tide

For this month’s small press round-up we take a look at three fantastic webcomics which were recommended to us by other small press creators.

Something Terrible by Dean Trippe

We discovered this powerful mini comic from Marvel artist Dean Trippe via a Twitter thread started by the Thought Bubble team asking for recommendations for books that handle issues to do with mental health. Something Terrible is a personal reflection from Trippe looking back at his own experience of childhood abuse, but also how he addressed his own concerns about it being cyclical when he became a parent. Trippe explains how his discovery of superheroes and comics help him deal with his own childhood problems and the redeeming powers that he learned from them as he grew up and also in his adult life. While this may sound like it trivialises what is such a traumatic incident in Trippe’s life it is anything but that. Trippe uses the language and visual shorthand of superhero comics to articulate not only his trauma (including a very poignant moment with the caped crusader), but also his recovery. By using this familiar language and style it makes the story both impactful and very readable – which helps tell the story in an more memorable way. As you would expect with an artist of Trippe’s calibre, the artwork is exquisite, with the whole thing having a Bruce Timm style mix of realism and fantasy. His clever use of visual metaphors give the story an incredible depth and potency to every panel. The thing that you are left with most at the end of reading this story, is not only the horrific nature of what happened to the young Dean, but the redemptive story that he tells. It means the book is as uplifting as it is harrowing, with an ultimately positive message, that cycles can be broken and people can recover from these kinds of incidents. As a result Something Terrible has a message which is enduring and makes it one which people can take inspiration from in order to help improve their own lot. A incredibly powerful and moving piece of art.

Purchase Something Terrible for $5 from www.ironcircus.com

The Boy Who Loved A Ghost Clown

This incredible webcomic we found via Trujilo’s Gustavo Vargas, and is one of those timely reminders of the quality of work that is being released online around the world. Hungarian artist Mark Laszlo’s tale of a young boy who becomes obsessed with a singing clown in his local circus, is a mix of Tales from the Crypt and a Victorian Penny Dreadful. It has a really classic tone to it, and feels like it could have been made at any point in the last 60 years, but it has that contemporary edge and stylishness that comes from an increased understanding of what makes comics work. The artwork has this ghoulish quality to it , and swirls around the pages like a plume of smoke, twisting in and out of the panels which are rendered in a haunting black and white pen and ink style. The artwork mixes these dark and creepy images of circuses, with the ghostly clown to create something really haunting. With clowns and circuses very much in the Zeitgeist at the moment there are obvious comparisons to characters like IT’s Pennywise the clown, but it is more Christmas Carol meets Tim Burton via The Greatest Showman. It is much more than just a traditional creepy horror story though, it is something more enigmatic and more interesting.

Read it for free at www.behance.net/gallery/77345181/The-boy-who-loved-a-ghostclown-COMIC

High Tide by Kate Philips

Kate Philips’ glorious webcomic High Tide sees her out of control laundry pile take over her life and she is set adrift on a laundry ocean as a Robinson Crusoe style castaway. The whole story is told wordlessly as she floats aboard her mattress raft on a sea of socks, shirts and underwear. As she attempts to tackle her own procrastination, she is visited by a shark like leather jacket and a shirt that looks like manta ray and there is even a passing ship which bears an uncanny resemblance to an iron, before she is swamped by a tidal wave of socks. It’s a series of glorious visual metaphors that really hit home the tediousness of housework, but also the relief of finally taming those jobs you never want to do. The minutiae of daily life is delightfully brought to life and is packed full of originality and some really inspired moments. High Tide is real gem of a read and has made Philips into a creator who we will definitely be paying more attention to in the future. If only because it will inspire our own productivity!

You can read High Tide for free at www.katephillips.net/hightide