Reviews: Ruined – a collection from Craig Cunningham
Another mini-comic I picked up at the Edinburgh Comic Art Festival was Craig Cunningham’s Ruined, a short collection of three wee black and white comic tales, and like another festival purchase, Curios of the Paper Moon (reviewed here), I found that after just a very short browse while chatting to Craig at his festival stall, I knew I wanted to buy myself a copy. Nice, simple but effective colours and graphics on the professional looking cover and the interior black and white images grabbed me right away, the round-headed characters seeming to take elements of both Schulz’s Peanuts and the Japanese Manga styling for a rather pleasing effect.
There are three short tales here, Melt, Levitate and Ken Turkey. Melt opens with a young lad, very upset, searching for something, or someone, under his bed, the wardrobe, the attic, nope, nowhere to be found. Increasingly worried he searches, he asks his father, and we’re left thinking he is looking for a beloved pet, or maybe a misplaced favourite toy, but it’s something else – I won’t say what, but again it reminded me, in the good way, of an old Snoopy story line from Peanuts.
Levitate does what it says on the tin – a man tells of his younger life, how as a schoolboy he could levitate, and how cool this made him to his fellows. Until a visit from a very special guest to the school, one who can not only float above the ground but do so much more. All the kids love him, except our levitating boy… Ken Turkey sees the unusual location of a farm used for a wedding, and the guests making cruel fun about the appearance of a giant turkey.
As each of these stories is so short I really don’t want to say any more about them as it would be way to easy to spoil the pay-offs. If there is a common theme to the trio, it is perhaps emotions and how they can be destructive, although this is handled in a deftly light manner, when they could so easily have been heavy and brooding, depressing, even, but instead these are touching, light, and despite the way the stories go, still quite smile-inducing and charming.