For our latest dive into the world of small press we take a look at three highly personal projects: Aaron rackley’s Little Heroes Anthology, the second issue of this fantastic collection that also helps fundraise for comic based resources in hospitals; Good Comics’ Sam Williams has created a highly personal look into fatherhood with Daddy Day; and finally Nicole Bate’s look at anxiety in a beautiful wordless comics called Anxiety Me.
Little Heroes’ Anthology #2
The second issue of this fantastic anthology, which helps raise funds for the Little Heroes initiative, is another really fun and enjoyable mix of tales aimed at kids of all ages. This time it focuses on the topic of family and has a really interesting mix of styles and stories featuring some shorter, almost gag strips, such as Kev Brett’s Family Fun or Rob Andersin’s Supermom and Catdad, alongside longer form stories such as The Tale of the Chemonster from Samuel London and Sarah Millman or Jon Laight and Matt Stott’s Late Knight Tales. However the stand out for this issue has to be a new story starring Hellbound Media’s Mandy The Monster Hunter. It’s a really poignant story about a little boy coping with the loss of his father, but when an imaginary world becomes real he needs help to combat it with Mandy’s help, and ultimately finds that help isn’t as far away as he thought. It’s beautifully written and Lyndon White’s artwork continues to give Mandy a really unique feel and it is worth picking up for this story alone. Little Heroes continues to be a really strong calling card for a wonderful charity and a great way to get kids reading all sorts of different comics in one collection. (It also has an incredible cover from the brilliant Russell Olson which makes it feel like a really premium package!)
Daddy Day by Samuel C Williams
From Good Comics’ Sam Williams, Daddy Day is a look at his experience of being a father during and after a relationship breakdown and is his way of coping with the life altering situation. However, rather than being a negative book, it focuses on the small moments of being a parent that help get you through the dark times (from a trip to the park to a silly song at tea time) and how these moments allow you to rebuild and become a better person as a result. Rather than having a flowing narrative, it is a collection of small snapshots that encapsulate these moments. It looks at Sam’s relationship with his own family, as well as that with his kids and is almost a celebration of fatherhood as well as an insight into what a challenge it can be. It certainly feels very different to have the story told from a father’s perspective which gives it a unique angle and it manages to capture the rollercoaster of emotions you go through in a very subtle, but thoughtful way. It also features a beautiful mix of styles from watercolour to pen and ink, and has a number of moments that will resonate with many parents. The only negative is that it is a bit on the short side as we would have liked to read more.
Anxiety Me by Nicole Bates
This is another fantastic example of how comics can help articulate issues of mental health in a way that other media simple cannot. Nicole manages to visualise her anxiety using nautical metaphors, such as a crashing wave or an anchor that prevents her from reaching the tranquil island that is ‘peace of mind’. Her beautiful watercolour style works perfectly for this nautical landscape as the colours bleed into each other to create a really textured and beautiful ambience, which as well as looking great also manage to capture the fractured mindset she is showcasing. She tells her story in a wordless, panel-les series of simple cartoons which gives the book an added feeling of intimacy, as it reads more like a sketchbook than a formal ‘comic’. This also allows her to focus on individual moments (especially the stunning cover image) and she makes the most of landscape page by using plenty of white space to help the story have room to express itself. A thoughtful and poignant look at an increasingly common issue and one that we hope will help those out there suffering with anxiety by showing that they are not alone.