Various Anthologies – Team Girl Comic #3

August 19, 2011


Team Girl Comic #3

It’s finally happened: my brain is falling out. I can’t think of any other reason why a good chunk of these stories left me utterly flummoxed. Well, other than the fact that maybe they weren’t particularly good stories. Just to get this out of the way early, I know that some contributors to this comic are young (13ish) girls, and if I happen to overly criticize one of their stories, it’s meant to maybe give them constructive criticism that will help them over the long run (you’d be hard-pressed to find ANYBODY who was a brilliant comic artist/writer at 13). It’s a fine line to do that without also looking like a jerk, so my apologies in advance if I wander over that line. I have only the best of intentions! Anyway, it’s best to start with the stuff that I liked. Hoo boy, a functioning table of contents would have been nice too. OK, positive stuff, like I said: Karena Moore with the dog and the magic talking boots, Colleen Campbell with a funny one panel strip, Gil Hatchers’ strip on the problems of huddling for warmth with a mechanical bear, Penny Sharp and her series of fake full page phone ads, Emma McLuckie commanding a robot, Gil Hatcher lamenting her terrible skills as an older sister (before getting a nice physical reminder of why she’s too hard on herself), Laura Armstrong and her tale of robot rights, the smudgingly creepy ending to the story by Heather Middleton, Karena Moore’s midge story and Gil Hatcher’s story about trying to hide a candy purchase. The other stories either made no sense to me or left me cold. The story about the bear hugs was OK, but it was clearly resized for the comic (not the fault of the artist, obviously) and that really screwed up the look of it. The wordless “welcome home” story made no sense at all to me, “the interns” could maybe get better but it’s “to be continued” after two pages, the wordless story with a security camera flew right over my head and the “kids” story had a punchline that wasn’t remotely funny to me, but maybe it would make more sense if I had kids. Yes, I purposefully avoided using artist’s names for the bad bits, but that’s also because I wasn’t sure who did at least a few of those stories. If you’re looking for a good/not so good percentage (always useful in an anthology), I’d put it at roughly 80/20 good to bad, which is still a great ratio for one of these things. That and the fact that this group of women mostly from Glasgow is doing this at all is something that should be strongly supported by anybody who complains about all the middle-aged white guys in comics. Oh, and have I mentioned how much I love that cover? No price listed, but $5 seems like a reasonable guess.

Various Anthologies – Team Girl Comic #2

November 21, 2010


Team Girl Comic #2

Go Team Girl go!  Sorry to give away the ending of the review so quickly, but I’m all for increasing the role of women in comics, as there isn’t a thing wrong with getting some new perspectives on the genre.  Not like there haven’t already been women in comics for ages, but you know what I mean.  Or you don’t, and I don’t have the energy to explain it to you.  Anyway, this issue has even more stories this time around, with a fairly persistent theme of zombie and how to identify them/protect yourself .  The only problem is that while all pieces seem to have some indication of their creator, it’s often in the form of a signature, making it a pure guessing game as to who is responsible for what. Ah well, I’m starting to get convinced that chaos is a badge of honor in anthologies.  Stories include Gill Hatcher getting distracted while on the verge of curing cancer, Emma McLuckie’s piece on a ghost who is easily frightened, somebody (see what I mean?) getting serious inspiration from the life of Harvey Pekar, Mhairi Hislep with the identifying characteristics of zombies, somebody else (aargh) with a brilliant piece about Jesus as a zombie, Mhairi again on how to dress fora zombie attack, and the differences of driving perspective right after getting a license and one year later.  Seriously, why nobody else (that I know of) has connected the obvious fact that Jesus was probably a zombie after rising from the dead is beyond me.  Plenty of other stories are in here too, as it’s really crammed with pieces, but half the fun of anthologies is going through all the little bits and pieces.  And it’s only a measly $5, if I have the conversion rate even close to right…

Various Anthologies – Team Girl Comic #1

July 21, 2010


Team Girl Comic #1

Whew!  Full disclosure here: this comic came with a letter explaining the thinking behind the comic (to improve the presence of women and girls in small press comics, a worthy goal) and the people involved.  The contributors included a couple of girls who are still in their early teen years, and I was afraid that I’d either be stuck criticizing children or making excuses for their stories being less than the other stories involved.  I was completely wrong on that one, and if the letter didn’t tell me who was who I would have never guessed which of these women were just starting out and which ones were professional.  I still may have a bone or two to pick here and there, but overall this was an excellent anthology that should, if there is any justice in the world, go a long way towards getting more women involved in the business.  Well, women in Glasgow at least, as that’s where this is based and I have no idea how much of an effort they’re making to expand.  Blah blah blah, how about the stories?  Well, here’s one minor quibble right off the bat: no table of contents.  There is an author page at the start, taking an image from one of their stories and putting the name of the author next to it, but most people in here have multiple pieces and things got a little tricky after a while.  Stories in here include a brief and hilarious synopsis of Phantom of the Opera (by Katie Pope), an artist trying to work in solitude and being invaded by her past toys (Gillian Hatcher), women’s right to vote 100 years later and the ensuing voter apathy (Iona Mowat), daydreaming at school that descends into reliving one’s worst moments (Gillian Hatcher), some drama about Twilight (Jessica Hatcher), whether you should speak English or Punjabi to your cat (Heather Middleton), a thoroughly surreal piece about various animals, balloons and teapots that I can’t even begin to summarize without taking all the fun out of it (Emma McLuckie), the evolution of an indie boy (Katie Pope), reaching the end of her rope with the Twilight stuff (Jessica Hatcher),  a cosmetic history (Gillian Hatcher), the scorn that comes from turning down sweets (Iona Mowat), bears trying to make a band (Gillian Hatcher), the truth about the “secret admirer” of a teacher (Katie Pope), and an introduction for Sausage Bear.  There isn’t a really weak piece in here, which is always mildly shocking in any anthology.  The piece on women getting the right to vote had an excellent quote explaining the apathy, Gillian reliving her worst moments suddenly while daydreaming is something everybody should be able to relate to, and the pieces by Jessica Hatcher really show the extent of which Twilight has taken over the schools.  This is really a solid piece of work, and the great thing about it is that they’re all pretty much just getting started.  I’m lousy at converting foreign currency, but I think this translates to something like $4, which is perfectly reasonable for this many stories.