November 21, 2011

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Zig Zag Mish Mash

So weird that Minis are also Digital sometimes
Written by J. Chris Campbell
Illustrated by J. Chris Campbell
Self-Published

Are you a fan of J. Chris Campbell's comics but are tired of trying to find the various anthologies he's contributed to?  Look no further than this collection of shorts from the distinctive illustrator, complete with an introduction that asks...why are you reading the introduction?  There's a little bit of everything here in a big old...Zig Zag Mish Mash!

I'm not sure exactly where I first saw Campbell's work, but I'm sure it was in an anthology somewhere.  His work is extremely easy to spot, due to its similarity to the 1950s art deco illustration style.  Campbell also has a twisted sense of humor and eye for parody, which bears out in many of the works contained here.

In this collection, we get two stories of Orson and Greg, who are apparently evil and trying to take over the world--in as inept a manner as possible.  Their misadventures are witty and use science fiction scientist tropes to good effect.  Superheroics get the treatment in two adventures of Apple Dumpler, a Batman-like protagonist who apes Adam West and foils evil--sometimes without even trying.  There's also a short Michael Jackson tribute, some robot fighting action, and a terrible, terrible set of puns in the final story.

These are exactly the type of stories I enjoy reading in an anthology:  short, well-paced and plotted, with distinct beginnings and endings.  They're clever and stand on their own, even apart from their brethren from the other creators.  It's the kind of work that makes me want to seek out that particular creator, which I think is an important part of any anthology.

Part of what makes these stories work is Campbell's art style.  Fitted together like storyboards from an animated sequence, they almost would work in a flip-book format, if repeated just a bit more than we see here.  A lot of the movement happens between the panels, with action implied rather than seen.  It's an efficient storytelling trick, but it might not appeal to some readers.  I thought it worked perfectly here, given the brief nature of the tales in question.

Normally, I'd mention that you have to go to a show to find this mini.  But we're in the 21st Century, and so is J. Scott Campbell.  You can get a copy of Zig Zag Mish Mash at Comixology for only 99 cents!  If you're looking to try something new, quirky, and fun, give this comic a try.  You just might find a new favorite, and if you don't, you're only out 99 cents!  Try doing that a comics show...