September 13, 2013

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SPX Spotlight 2013: Bob Corby and Bunny Blues

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.

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.