The editorial ethos of the Girly Comic resides in the arena of the inoffensive. I really shouldn’t have a problem with inoffensive but being a such a contrary creature I find it preferable to be stirred into dislike rather than left with a sense of blandness. And indifferent is how previous issues of the Girly Comic have left me.
Actually the Girly Comic number 6 is by far the best I’ve read. Perhaps this is because the issue is lifted by a 7-page short story by Lee Kennedy. It’s an autobiographical piece about a pious childhood in a New York convent school that hits the mark on every level. Humour and pathos abound, it’s actually a deeply tragic story about the crushing of a childhood spirit, but delivered with a wry shrug of the shoulders, avoiding sentiment. And the cartoony artwork, familiar to fans of Lee Kennedy’s work, matches the tone perfectly.
The rest of the stories in this anthology pale into comparison on the surface. Interesting actually as Kennedy’s the only artist who’s stuck to pen and ink, the rest of the stories suffer from an over-computerized samey-ness.
One story here, ‘Sylvia’s Path’ is actually credited as being ‘designed’ by Toby Ford. The term ‘designed’ makes me shudder and yearn for a little craft, instead.
I do lament this age of computer-glossed artwork. It prevents me enjoying otherwise very enjoyable stories. ‘A Diamond in the Rough’ (by Des Taylor and Peter Zappia) is perhaps the most successful of the slick bunch It actually comes off looking a lot like ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ which suits the tongue-in-cheek, lip-glossed tone of the story pretty well.
Another story, ‘The Witches Place’ (by Jonathan Shewry and Tim Keable) is a mildly spooky yarn that reminds me of those Jinty/Nikki comics stories for girls. Again, the modern computer font does nothing for me and has me wishing they’d gone for something a little more old fashioned and type-writerish. It’s not just me being a Luddite here, if the emphasis is going to be on design rather than craft, I just wish a little eye for design could actually be developed.
Maybe I’m just not ‘girly ‘ enough for the Girly Comic. For me the epitome of ‘girly’ is going to sleep in your make-up. This comic’s way too hygenic for that.
Still you could take her home to meet your mother. Which is something.
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It says 13 swashbuckling tales on the back cover though Iím counting 14 here.
Another themed anthology from Accent UK, pulling together new names and older faces from the UK small press scene. Packaged in the usual stylish black white and red artwork-with-a-twist and printed to the usual quality as previous anthologies (Phobias, Remembrance Days) it looks good on the outside.
But when you pull together young and inexperienced artists with more established talent itís always going to be a mixed bag. A flick through confirms this. You have to ask is theme enough to hold together so many different artists of varying ability?
Well, veering towards the more professional- looking end of the spectrum, Garen Ewing (best known for the luscious Rainbow Orchid) presents 'Seadog', scripted by Jason Cobley (BAM). A young servant boy on a merchant ship witnesses his masterís slaughter by pirates and awaits his own fate, only to be rescued by Capín Endurance Bulldog. Iím not really a fan of BAM and the story serves more as a showcase for the talents of Ewing whose artwork oozes with confidence and matter-of-fact style.
Of a similar leaning is ĎA Rose for Burkeí by Angela Ong and Sheldon Goh. Visually this reaches a standard that I think a lot of the potential audience for this comic (young lads) will expect, and this wonít disappoint them. But story wise, again, itís slight and veers more towards vignette as do many of the stories here.
Interestingly, itís the more rough and ready looking stories in this anthology that are the most entertaining.
ĎAll that Glistens is Not Goldí by Elgo is one of the funniest and most original stories here. Using Lego men as protagonists, itís a toyshop version of a pirate yarn, with a punch line that made me chuckle.
Likewise Colin Mathiesonís ĎTale of Two Mapsí delivers a punchy little story, told with gusto. As an artist, Mathiesonís got a long way to go, but he creates an easy to follow layout and the drawings have a pleasing energy, I liked it.
Other contributors include Chris Doherty (Six and Two Threes) in a trouser busting tale of wenches on the high seas. A bit of teen fantasy undoubtedly, but too winsome to offend. Chris Bunting and Jeff Boneman collaborate on ĎTo be a Pirate Queení. An opportunity to draw a pneumatic looking manga Beyonce, bursting out of a cropped shirt, eh? Always a target audience pleaser, but again, itís cute enough to raise another chuckle if only for their brazenness.
Overall I enjoyed this comic a lot more than I thought I was going to.
In the previous anthologies Iíd read by Accent UK the contributors were given quite open-ended themes (such as Phobias) but that isnít the case here.
As the classic Pirate story has such strong generic conventions I think a lot of the artists here have been hampered into delivering just that - generic stories that donít do anything too original or new. Itís a tricky one. Overall a success as I did enjoy reading it, but a little more room for the unexpected would be welcome in future anthologies.