Small Press Expo. You can check out all of my spotlights for SPX from both this year and prior years here.
My only experience with going to a comics show in Pittsburgh was, honestly, a bit disappointing. However, I was very pleased to get to meet--and have an extended conversation with--Bob Corby, who is the main force behind a show I regret I probably won't ever get a chance to attend, SPACE in Columbus, Ohio.
While he also does other mini-comics that are one-shots, which I imagine he'll have around at the show, the main mini-comic that Corby works on is Bunny Blues, which will have its 6th and final issue appearing at SPX this year.
I picked up the first five when I was at that Pittsburgh show, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how it ends. Bunny Blues is the story of Mike Blues, a generally good rabbit who's often a bit in debt. He takes a job as roadie/security for Kit Jones, a (cat? fox?) singer who feels she's lost her way and wants to get out on the road. They're joined by Marcel, a penguin with a French accent and homocidal tendencies, who manages Kit while they're on the road. Meanwhile, Kit's brother ponders his life as a club owner.
Mike Blues is a long-running character of Corby's, but you don't need to have his back story in order to appreciate this comic that heavily involves the life of a club musician, unrequited love, and slapstick humor. The characters quickly grow on you--especially Marcel--and they act just like people we know (especially if, like me, you know folks who play small shows on a regular basis).
In these issues, we meet the characters and set up the plot, as Corby works a bit of a tri-narrative. We see what's happening now, Mike's thoughts, and also the brother's own quest. Each story gets moved forward a bit in each issue, leading up to what will be the closing scenes in issue six. Along the way, we learn a lot about Mike and also that things are never quite as easy as they appear.
Corby's art is mostly in black and white, with a few bits of color now and again. As fitting the detective origins of Mike, the series uses a lot of blacks and shadow to create a bit of a noirish feel. The series itself is a bit timeless, living as it has across the 21st century as Corby put out issues. We get things like confidence games and sleezy club owners and low-lit scenes that evoke a reflective mood. Corby isn't stunning on art, but he does a good job of setting up each scene and keeping the visuals varied and the characters distinct.
If you like stories that are set in a noir-ish world, with plenty of reflection mixed with comedy and a bit of action now and again, definitely give Bob Corby a look. He does a great job with Bunny Blues and is worth seeking out at SPX.
On tour and don't have a Bethesda, MD date? You can find Bob Corby on the web here, with links to buy his books.
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