Each Sunday we take a look at the wild and wooly world of self-published comics. This week we look at Odd Comics issues 1 and 2 by Scott Stewart.
Each issue of Odd Comics is a collection of short comics which have nothing in common other than that they are all od and would probably be right at home with the comics of the 1950′s. The first issue contains aliens, monsters, alien monsters, as well as a couple of gag strips. Each one is exceptionally well-written and illustrated, making what could have been a jumbled mish-mash of strips into an entertaining read which has a little something for everyone.
The strongest piece in the book is “When the Aliens Came”. In a total of two pages, Stewart is able to capture the entire cycle of Earth’s exposure to aliens,starting with the day they arrived until long after they leave. Like the book itself, When the Aliens Came starts out pretty silly, but deepens and refines as it progresses. So, while the opening scene is full of cameos by E.T, the robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robby the Robot, and others, the story quickly gets down to business exploring how humans readily go from shock to acceptance, and then from acceptance to anguish as the alines leave.
The rest of the bok is much sillier than When the Aliens Came, but that does not make the stories any less entertaining. There is plenty of wordplay, unexpected revelations, and enough quality art and storytelling to make the book an enjoyable read.
The second issue of Odd Comics is quite different from the first. Much of the issue os taken up by an interview/historical essay/art gallery of a fictional creator from the 1950′s. It is a fascinating read as Stewart has labored tremendously to create a piece which would be at home in Alter Ego. While the comic art does not quite capture the feel of the 1950′s book he is trying to emulate, the gag house-ad he created works like a charm, tying everything together.
As with the first issue, there is one strip which stands out in this issue above all others. Postmodern Prometheus is an homage to Jean “Moebius” Girard who passed away while Stewart was working on the strip. It is a beautiful piece in both look and feel, capturing the majesty and mania that was and is Moebius. If Stewart ever wants to give up the gag writing, there is a promising future for him in the realm of science fiction and fantasy.
Each issue of Odd Comics is accompanied by a text piece in the back which goes into detail about each strip. While all of the strips can be enjoyed without reading the text piece, anyone skipping the last page is missing out. Stewart relates personal anecdotes about why he chose particular pieces, but, more importantly, he explains the history of some of the creators who influenced him, or whose work he is emulating. The piece about fictional creator from the 1950′s was particularly enlightening as it is all based on an old Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movie, Artists and Models. It was perfectly enjoyable without the text piece, but so much richer once one understands the inspiration.
Odd Comics is that rare book where there truly is something for everyone. Each book is entertaining and well-executed. So far only two issues have been produced. Hopefully we will not have to wait another four years for the third!