January 28, 2012

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Dust off the Panels: 3 More Matt Wiegle Minis

Head to Head
Wiegle for Tarzan
The Ghosts
Written and Illustrated by Matt Wiegle
Self-Published

I thought I'd actually read all of my Matt Wiegle mini-comics, when I found this stash in one of our Ikea magazine holders that we use to keep all of our mini-comics and zines.  I am a big fan of Wiegle's storytelling, so I was actually quite pleased to find these.

Wiegle is one of those creators who makes good use of the format in which he works.  The stories play out well in quarter-page format, with each page being roughly a panel.  The story (or joke, depending on the comic) turns on the idea of the reader seeing it one image at a time.  I really like how these truly are mini-comics, not just stories cut down in order to offer them to the public in this format.  So what did I think of these three "lost comics?"  Find out below!

Head to Head is one of Wiegle's joke comics, featuring two characters who have a link in some way (angel and devil, whale and plankton, and so on) saying or doing something funny.  For example, the biblical pair are playing Scrabble, with the angel coming up with Jesuits and the demon playing Vibrator across it.  Others are paired due to their names, and one is just a funny picture set piece you might find in Reader's Digest.  The ideas are clever at times, but I don't think this is Wiegle's best work.

Wiegle for Tarzan is far more like it.  Matt Wiegle, in a comical self-portrait that shows he is by no means qualified for the job, is applying to be New York's State Tarzan, a job he maintains is held by a man who is resting on his laurels.  What follows is a well-drawn and extremely funny sequence where Wiegle explains the role of the State Tarzan and why he would make a better choice.  The whole this is done entirely deadpan, as though it made complete and logical sense, which is why it works so well.  This is one of my favorite Wiegle comics.

The Ghosts  is an Inuit tale, adapted by Wiegle into a modern setting.  It's the story of a man haunted by the mental ghost of his wife, so he decides to leave everything behind him.  Before he can do so, however, a more substantial ghost appears, and causes a most unusual jealousy.  As I noted above, Wiegle uses the pacing inherent in a story you can only see two panels at a time to weave the reader further and further into the madness of the main character, until he inevitably snaps.  The drawings also appear to alternate between black on white and white on black, which adds to the creepiness and gives the art a dimension it might otherwise have lacked.  In addition, Wiegle's scratchy lines really highlight that there is something unearthly about the whole proceedings.  It's great workmanship from a strong storyteller.

I am lucky enough to usually be able to get more Wiegle comics at SPX every year.  If you aren't so fortunate, you can pick up copies of these and other Wiegle titles by clicking here.