By Rob Cureton
The first of three comics from Rob Cureton I received, and the autobiographical Orful Comics is by far the best of them.
It’s a simple enough funny autobiog style strip, that covers many of the familiar touchstones; friends, nights out, gigs, work, strips about doing strips – pretty much everything you’d expect if you’ve ever seen any autobiog in the past, with each moment or event usually over and done with in a single page.
But I do have a fondness for the autobiog comic, and there was certainly enough in here to not only keep my interest but make me head over to his website to have a look at more recent strips. This collection seems to be the best bits from the first year and a half of comics.
And if the measure of doing funny autobiog strips is the measure of how many times I laughed, then Cureton’s Orful Comics doesn’t do too badly at all, lots of smiles and at least two out and out laughs. This was perhaps my favourite, something that elicited not just a smile but a straight out laugh as well:
He’s got a very relaxed style about him, to say the least, but it’s not without charm, and the last couple of panels, full of studious concentration on something ridiculously mundane did make me smile…. lovely work.
There’s a bit of Mahfood in here – something Cureton freely admits, even going as far as doing a strip where he meets his hero as well. There’s also something of Marc Ellerby in here as well; the thinness of line, something in the faces. This is towards the end of the comic, and it shows a huge improvement of some of the far rawer pieces at first. But improvement is always a good thing.
It may not be anything ground-breaking, but Orful Comics certainly isn’t awful, it’s good, solid work, lots of promise, and rather a lot of fun.
You can see more of his autobiog online at www.orfulcomics.co.uk
Tales From Scene City #1 & 2 – Impossibly Emo and The Curse Of Jimi’s Axe
Now this double header, I wasn’t as keen on. Where Cureton’s autobiog comes across as simple, freewheeling and fun, Scene City comes across, at least t me, as a little too tightly fitted to an idea; that of everything happening in a city divided into musical ghettos and tastes.
Issue 1 is Emo vs Ska, with a nasty little ska fan finding himself turned into the sort of emo kid he hates. It’s okay, but nothing great, and Cureton’s artwork in this one just feels really raw and way too thick of line.
Issue 2 is better though. The two extra stories are nothing really, but the main strip is fun and lightweight, with all the lightness of Cureton’s line suddenly there, for a nicely done little ditty all about the impossibly cursed guitar of Jimi Hendrix falling into the hands of Chad…. who really is a bit crap, and certainly no successor to Hendrix. Cue the return of Jimi, fresh from the grave:
That’s much better. All the lightness of line I enjoyed in Orful Comics is here, again lots of Mahfood, but it’s a nice style nonetheless, and we’ve all got to work out our influences somewhere. I’m assuming from the bio on Cureton’s site that he’s fairly young, so what I see here is initial steps, first print works from someone finding a style, tentative and experimental.
So far, there’s nothing revolutionary about Cureton or his work, nothing spectacular. But what there is here, especially with Orful Comics, is a fine sense of observed moments, some funny, some merely wry and pleasant. It’s certainly enough for now, and someone I’d be interested to keep an eye on to see where future works will take him.
Rob Cureton’s works are available from his webstore.