Contributors include: Alex Levin, Alex Potts, Barnaby Richards, Bernadette Bentley, Daniel Locke, Ellen Lindner, Elliot Baggott, Gareth Brookes, Hannah Eaton, Jimi Gherkin, Joe Sumner, Julia Homersham, Kat Kon, Kevin Ward, Lord Hurk, Peter Lally, Ralph Kidson, Richard Cowdry, Saban Kazim, Steve Tillotson, Tanya Meditzky, Tim Levin, Tobias Tak
Edited and Assembled by Richard Cowdry
Second issue of The Comix Reader is another collection of short, punchy strips, edited and assembled by Richard Cowdry.
It’s another newspaper comic. By now I’m completely sold on these. They’re a wonderfully simple way to get a lot of work into people’s hands, and in the case of the Comix Reader, it’s 9000 copy print run is a really impressive thing, all for just a quid, and with 22 strips that represents great value for money.
No, they’re not all great strips. Or at least I don’t think they are. The beauty of an anthology like The Comix Reader is that there’s so much in here, and it’s deliberately packed with variety. If anything The Comix Reader is more likely to find readers polarised over strips, as amongst the usual contenders (Solipsistic Pop, Paper Science, Sorry Entertainer, Comical Animal et al) it’s possible the most alternative of the current anthology set, certainly something Cowdry is aiming for, stating on the Comix Reader blog:
“The Comix Reader is in part an attempt to recapture some of the free spirit of the underground press”
So, first things first.. I don’t honestly think all that much of the cover. Hurk’s strip further in is far, far stronger than this initial image. But hey, each to their own opinion.
Richard Cowdry doesn’t get enough praise for his work, and it’s been a pleasure seeing his Somersault strips regularly appearing on the FPI blog. His Downtown strip here is just as classy as Somersault, a slapstick comedy of a trick on the town deadbeat going oh so wrong. And with a deceptively simple style, he tells a great gag. Just like always.
Ralph Kidson’s stuff is just brilliantly simple – and we really don’t see enough from him. His strip last time was a highlight, and it’s just the same here. 3 strips set as 4 A5 pages on the big newspaper page, the best of which is the two-pager The Adventures Of Stuart The Bird, a great gag, simple of line, daft comedy. Just great. I was going to crop it, but wanted to include every last comedic drop of Stuart’s temptation. I did resist sharing the punchline though – go buy the comic for that. Well worth it!
At the other end of the spectrum (sort of) from Ralph Kidson, Barnaby Richard’s Beetroot is just three panels, and merely an anecdote, a child’s simple tale, but his pictures are lovely full colour fantasies.
Ellen Lindner delivers something completely different – a full page detailing the bubble tea phenomenon breaking out all over London. Well, four locations anyway. It’s beautifully drawn, very text heavy, but Lindner lays it out so well it just works, comic journalism done well.
Just plain strange, but beautifully so, Fox Atop The Shard by Elliot Baggott is exactly what it says, a fox, on top of the Shard, spouting lyrical. Based on the real fox that lived up on the 72nd floor for a couple of weeks during the Shard’s construction, Baggott’s words are poetic, as he details his fox’s return to ground level, and promise of richer pickings than up on that 72nd floor. It’s a great end to Comix Reader 2.
Comix Reader 2 is available from the website. It’s a measly £1. And with such a mix of strips, it’s well worth your time.