SPX Spotlight: Blammo #6 by Noah Van Sciver

This is part of Panel Patter's SPX Spotlight, a series of reviews of work from creators or publishers who will be attending SPX in 2011 leading up to the show on September 10th and 11th, 2011!

Blammo #6
Written and drawn by Noah Van Sciver
Kilgore Comics

Noah Van Sciver's Ignatz-nominated Blammo is a collection of stories both auto-biographical and not, based in both fantasy and the drama of real life. There's a little bit here for every kind of comics fan, although clearly, fans of the Top Shelf/Fantagraphics set will find themselves the most satisfied.

The longest story, "Abby's Road," is the tale of Anthony, a thoroughly unlikable juggalo who somehow manages to date a popular teenage girl (hey, miracles happen every day). While many stories of this type would end with some sort of revelation on the part of the protagonist, there is none here, which could be Van Sciver's statement on the pointless nature of modern post-adolescent life. (Or he just hates juggalos. Both are reasonable viewpoints.) Other stories involve a childhood art critique by his brother Ethan (who Rob tells me draws Green Lantern comics or something... I really wouldn't know), a Krampus visit to a certain folk-rock legend, and a world where humanity's only hope against giant lizards is a gang of punk rockers. One of the auto-biographical pieces deals with the frustration of trying to sell comics to disinterested fans at a comic-book convention (wonder if it's SPX?), and having been behind the table at a number of zine fests, I can definitely feel his pain.

The art style is pretty standard for mini-comics, and I don't mean that in a pejorative way, just that it fit the type of stories he was telling without calling undue attention to itself. The single use of a "surprise" splash page made a nice punchline to a comic that was otherwise told with a series of standard square panels. There is also a letters page and an outro page (featuring John Porcellino!), which I wish more mini-comics writers would put in their comics, since they're a great way to let you know about the person behind the pen.

My only complaint is that I wish some of the stories were longer. I could easily see "Chicken Strips" or "Punks vs. Lizards" spun out into a full-length comic (hey, it beats Cowboys vs. Aliens). According to his blog, he does have a graphic novel in the works, which will be published by Fantagraphics, so fans of Blammo should definitely look forward to that.

You can buy Van Sciver's comics at his site, including Blammo #7 which was just released. Of course, you can also buy it at SPX! I know I will.