September 16, 2012

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Two Mini-Comics from Neil Brideau

SPX may be over, but that doesn't mean we put the mini-comics away for awhile here at Panel Patter!

I actually picked these two comics up at last year's SPX, being drawn to the clear, concise lines of Brideau's art.  His characters are very basic, as you can see from the cover to the left.  However, it doesn't take extensively detailed illustrations to tell the story.  Brideau does a very good job of using his style to evoke strong emotions from the character.  Little things, like the placement of eyebrows or the curvature of the mouth do a lot to help us understand what his characters are thinking.

Both What is This? and Write Now!, the two books covered in this review, are designed with children in mind.  The first mini covers ground we've seen in other children's books, such as the aliens on Sesame Street, which is probably the closest comparison here.  An alien lands in a kid's room, and immediately starts asking more questions then the child could possibly answer.  The tone is light and there's a nice layer of humor for kids and the parents who may be reading this to them.  It's a great little comic for kids.

Write Now!  is also geared towards a younger audience, but I think its message might be good for adults as well.  A teacher challenges her student's assertion that she is already a writer, rather than an aspiring one, using her creation of mini-comics as her defense.  The book doubles as an explanation of mini-comics and their creative freedom, and ends with an uplifting message (along with a sample mini in the back).  I thought it was an interesting idea, and would love to see this message translated to more students.

Based on these examples, Mr. Brideau's work probably isn't best for those who want their mini-comics to be more complex or adult, and I don't think I'd even call them all-ages, because the stories are skewed just a bit too young to appreciate if you aren't reading it alongside a child, which is my definition for the nebulous term.  However, if you know a young woman or man who likes comics and want them to see what's out there past the officially published material, these two minis would be perfect for the right kid, probably 8 or less, by my guess.

Want to learn more about Neil Brideau?  You can find his website here.  Be warned, it looks like it may be badly in need of an update.