Good Comics continue to make a really interesting name for themselves on the UK small press scene, as publishers of diverse and challenging comics, as well as some classic lo-fi zines via their new Good Zines imprint! Their Autumn line-up features the challenging SID from Olivia Sullivan, as well as New York (A Holiday To Remember) from Elizabeth Querstret and Sarah Crosby’s Stir Fry.
Olivia Sullivan’s SID is a challenging and often uncomfortable to read book about depression and addiction told via an almost psychedelic hallucinatory stream of consciousness style. From the opening pages where Sid is head butted by a goat and solis himself in a field you know you are not going to be in a conventional comic book as the story leaps from twisted dreams to surreal fantasies via mundane slices of life as our lead character attempts to balance his mental health with the medication needed to control it. It’s a difficult and uncompromising read that will challenge your preconceptions of what a comic is. The artwork mixes panels with infographics and diagrams with just plain bizarre imagery, which is both unique and confusing. Although not the most ‘enjoyable’ of reads you have to admire Sullivan’s relentless style that feels almost like a cathartic guttural wail of non-conformity than a bid for mainstream acceptance. It’s not for everyone but if you want to be challenged instead of blandly entertained then you may get something out of this.
New York (A Holiday To Remember)
The first release as part of their new Good Zines imprint, Elizabeth Querstret’s auto-biographical travelogue charts her once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York with her partner and outlines in detail her adventures in The Big Apple. This means all places she visits, but also the misadventures she has along the way – which include a bad back and a trip to a Chinese chiropractor! Although it doesn’t have anything particularly ground breaking or original to say, it is still a really enjoyable read that feels more like reading a friends’ diary than a comic. Elizabeth is a very amiable narrator who shares just enough info to make it feel like an intimate chat with a good mate about a great experience, but without going too overboard and making it become too self indulgent. Her beautiful pen and ink artwork, much of which feels done from life or from source photographs, increases that feeling of a glimpse into a sketchbook or diary and makes for a very charming and endearing read.
In contrast to the emotional complexity of SID and the autobiographical travelogue of New York, Sarah Crosby’s Stir Fry is just a really fun collection of strips – the kind you might find in Dirty Rotten Comics or Save Our Souls. The majority of the issue is built around a strip called Cry Baby which sees a group of commuters inadvertently summon a demon to combat a particularly noisy baby on a train. Then there’s Fly Love You which sees an insects’ eye view on finding love, while Harvest of Sorrow looks at the dangers of texting on rural roads while listening to Bon Jovi – and has a great sting in the tale twist. The stories are broken up into mini chapters and so alternate and aren’t in one chunk, which makes it feel more like a compendium than a collection of three stories and is a nice change of pace. It has the same hand drawn, classic ‘zine charm as New York (with the devil in Cry Baby even making a joke out of it’s lack of colour) and although lacks a bit of polish in some places it is packed full of fun and personality that makes this is a genuinely laugh out loud read and probably our favourite of the three. All three books though are a great example of the variety and diversity that Good Comics are looking to release, and why they’re one of the most exciting small press publishers of the year.
Purchase SID and pre-order New York (A Holiday To Remember) and Stir Fry from the Good Comics Big Cartel Store.