January 15, 2012

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Dust off the Panels: Accident Bear Goes Fishing and Rabbit Shadows

I really enjoy buying mini-comics, but sometimes I don't always remember to read them as soon as I get them and they end up in my to-read magazine folder.  Some of these will end up here in a Dust off the Panels post.  The following are two minis that I believe we got at SPX 2010, but don't quote me on it.

Accident Bear Goes Fishing.  Written and Illustrated by Jonathan Eaton. 

In this short, silent comic, a black bear with really bad luck ends up having a series of increasingly comic misfortunes.  What starts off by missing a juicy fish progresses from waterfalls to sharks to pulling a Wil E. Coyote.

It's a total joke comic that has all the hallmarks of a good comedy, with the timing and increased severity working in harmony with art that attempts to be as straightforward as possible.  This isn't a comic for the ages, but it was a lot of fun to read.  Eaton did a great job with this one, and I'd definitely read more from him.  You can get a copy for yourself here.

Rabbit Shadows.  Written and Illustrated by Jason Viola.  An ordinary working class rabbit discovers the ability to manipulate its shadow into amazing shapes.  He's the toast of high society--for a bit.  Taste is fleeting, though, and soon the bunny will see the dark side of fame.

This is another wordless comic, but it's very different from Eaton's.  Viola's protagonist is an everyman character who manages to find a way to make it big, doing something no one else can do.  Most of the comic is showing the arc of success that the rabbit has, along with visuals that either mildly skewer the world of art or provide a few comic moments.  There's no explanation of how or why the character can strip his shadow, because that's not the point.  We are to look at how success can change a person and how losing it all can make them appreciate the little things in life.

I thought Viola's linework was great here, with quite a bit of detailing in the backgrounds, which is often lacking in mini-comics.  The story follows a logical arc, and we're left understanding that this rabbit won't let the opinions of the art world ruin his life.  As with Eaton, I'd be happy to read more Viola again.

If you want to read Rabbit Shadows, you can get a copy here.