Before the month is over and it’s too late for you to get some free stuff I want to write a bit about a couple of free independent comic books that I pulled down from the new Smeary Soapbox Press store. These are comics by Dale Martin, the talented guy behind Watusi the Talking Dog. Dale has recently launched his store and is offering free PDFs of his comics though the month of August. As I’m a regular reader of Watusi, I picked up a couple that didn’t have everyone’s favorite talking dog on the cover.
The first is called 20 From 920.
The way I understand it, this is a jam comic. A bunch of comic artists get together and jam, which looks like this. Everyone writes one panel of a one page strip, then passes the page on to the next artist who adds a panel then passes it on. And round and round it goes until we have a collection of one page comics telling stories about everything from a naughty alien to a man losing his teeth. I think I liked the idea of this comic more than I liked the actual stories. It was interesting to see how the artists interacted with each other, and to see what surprising and sometimes frustrating choices the artists made in response to the various prompts they were given. So for someone interested in the process of making comics or in the improv aspects of the comic jam, 20 From 920 will be a hit. If you’re just wanting to read a comic without all that meta stuff going on, this one probably isn’t for you.
The second PDF I picked up is called Days of Wine and Anthrax. It’s a collection of a comic called Continuity and Vine that Dale wrote in 2002 about living in a post-9-11 America. These strips I liked a lot. I liked the point of view of these comics. I liked Dale’s take on the classic (Plop magazine in my mind) two guys on an island or two guys hanging on a dungeon wall trope. This is a smart and fun collection, and I recommend it.
There are a couple more of these books over at the store that I’m going to download while the getting’s good. I’d suggest you do the same. As I click on “publish” you have not quite 4 days.