August 19, 2013

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SPX Spotlight 2013: Ken Eppstein's Nix Comics

Welcome to another entry in the 2013 SPX Spotlight series!  For the next month, I'll be highlighting creators and publishers who will be at the best convention, the Small Press Expo.  You can check out all of my spotlights for SPX from both this year and prior years here.

While I've accepted the fact that I don't have the talent to play music in front of others (even finally sold off my keyboard), I still love music in almost all of its forms, from the classical sounds I first heard as a child to the most experimental uses of instruments that change their sounds in amazing ways.

So Nix Comics, the imprint of publisher/writer Ken Eppstein, with its heavy emphasis on music-related stories that often have a (touch or more) of horror thrown in is a natural fit for me. I really enjoyed Ken's Nix Comics Quarterly main series (review of issue 1 here) and his expansion to something that's often done poorly in comics, a western (review of issue 1 of that series here). Even his children's series has the spectre of music surrounding it. (Fortunately not Phil Spector, though, that would be creepy.)

Why so much music? Ken's a record collector with a collection I admit that I envy, even if I have cured my collective habit (mostly). He also used to own a record store, which he used to found Nix in the first place. He sacrificed for his art (literally), and the result is a small but regular publisher that turns in quality comics.

The main series, called simply Nix Comics Quarterly, is anthology series with Eppstein as the main writer, working with a variety of artists. Some character recur throughout the series, including a "man on the street" that you'll recognize if you ever take public transportation and a crusader against evil. They're short, pithy stories that get right to the point, and Eppstein's dialogue is strong, even if the art varies a bit from story to story, as you might expect. Nix Western features an entire story in each issue, showing the more bleak style of life in the West. Nix Comics for Kids is a collaboration with one artist but breaks up the comic into multiple, linked stories.

For SPX, Eppstein will have copies of Nix Comics Quarterly 1-5, Nix Western 1-2, and Nix for Kids 1-2. He'll also have Mark Rudolph's Closing Doors graphic novel (which of course also has a record connection) and an offer to pick up a comics subscription for 2014. If you're really into records, too, you can even pick up a copy of Nix Western 1 with a 45 record included!

Anyone who loves comics, music, anthologies, and a touch of horror need to check out Nix Comics. You'll be glad you did. 

Gotta Nix your SPX trip?  Bummer. But you can find Nix Comics on the web here, and order directly from Ken.