This month’s small press spotlight ranges from a stylish arthouse thought piece (Flat Filters), to kids in the wood horror (The Dark Of The Forest) to a strip club whodunnit (Deadly Burlesque)
Flat Filters (Tal Brosh and Chino Moya)
This ultra-stylish new comic from Tal Brosh and Chino Moya is packed full of meticulous panels that would make David Aja or Luke Healy jealous. It’s one of those books which feels more like a stream of consciousness thought piece, mixed with a series of simple vignettes, rather than an overall story, all of which is brought together with a very contemporary and meticulous approach. The general concept is a man wakes up and his world has become empty, and instead is surrounded by a perfectly blue sky and perfectly yellow ground. He muses on this with flashbacks to past events while also attempting to make sense of it all. It’s a strange book which feels quite superficial on first impressions as it lacks any kid of real story or purpose. However thanks to it’s wonderfully inventive art it has this strangely endearing quality to it, that draws you in and makes you want to make sense of what the hell is going on! Individual panels are packed with detailed and carefully considered layouts – you can tell these creators come for a design background – however, towards the end it bursts into some truly spectacular double page spreads that feel really special indeed. Although not the easiest or most immediate of reads this is definitely a fantastic calling card for Brosh and Moya and announces their status as creators to keep an eye on, if you like thoughtful, visually spectacular thought-pieces.
The Dark Of The Forest
We were recently sent a bunch of books from Freaktown Comics and these two were definitely the pick of the bunch. They arrived along with roller derby story Fast and Frighenting and horror book Slashermania, and both have smart twists on classic concepts that made them worth covering. We start with The Dark of The Forest which takes your classic ‘kids in the woods’ horror story, as a bunch of students who head out on a birdwatching trip and encounter a mysterious murderous monster who kills them all off. While the concept is fairly familiar, the ‘European sensibility’ of it all means it avoids being another slasher wannabe book and has this really nice 70s Euro trash style to it – thanks to artists Sergio Calvet. It is heavy on the violence and also has a bit of sex and nudity, but with a kind of Robert Crumb/Sergio Agagones cartoonish style which makes it fun rather than frightening or gratuitous. Without any of the obvious post modern irony that comes with some horror books, it ends up being a fun and over the top story and one we really quite enjoyed.
Next up is Deadly Burlesque which is a murder mystery is set in a strip club. It sees the various performers (ranging from dancers to balloon workers to magicians) get murdered in various gruesome and apt ways and it’s up to one of the performers to figure out what’s happening.. Again it’s a fairly trad concept, but the setting of strip club in New York allows Hillman to be nicely over the top and create an trashy whodunnit with an outrageously OTT finale. While artist Daniel Bell’s work isn’t the most polished, it has that rawness that we love in a good small press book, and he is clearly loving the outlandishness of some of the deaths and the characters which Hillman has sent his way. As with The Dark of the Forest, this isn’t particularly sophisticated or high brow, but we found ourselves really enjoying it for what it was – a trashy genre piece with some genuinely original twists – and we can’t ask for much more from a comic really!