September 2, 2013

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SPX Spotlight 2013: Colleen Frakes

Pizza. Ghosts. Just buy it already.
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.

So really, I could just say, "look at the image to the left, this should sell itself" and that would be enough for me (hell, you had me at either pizza OR ghosts), but there's a lot to like about Colleen Frakes, so I'll make sure to keep going.

I first encountered Frakes several years ago at a small convention, picking up her small book, Woman King (review here, now out of print) and enjoying it quite a bit.  In addition to Frakes' ability to tell a story, drawing on ideas and concepts that would be familiar to most readers, her simple line work really pushed the comic forward.

As time has gone on, I've picked up as many Frakes books as I could find, loving Drag Bandits (sadly also out of print, but review here) and her series of Island Brat autobiographical comics (review of book 1 here).

Colleen's work, which once got a Xeric Grant (for Tragic Relief), has a strong consistency throughout all of her comics. She'll never be known for exquisite backgrounds, but her stories don't require them. They focus on the characters and what they're doing, whether it's fighting for bears against humanity, stealing for fun and thrills, or living life on a prison island. Her stories are always compelling and interesting, giving the reader a great experience that lends itself to re-reading.

For SPX, Colleen is bringing her Island Brat work along with the book-length version of Tragic Relief. In addition, she has a ton of new comics to SPX, which makes me very happy, no matter what the dent is to my wallet.  They're the 14th installment of Tragic Relief (Washaway), the 15th Tragic Relief (I Should Have Dumped You), and my personal favorite, Ghosts and Pizza, seen above.  (Do I really need to tell you why that's such a great idea?)  If you don't have it yet, Frakes will also have Graphic Canon Volume 3, to which she contributed. (It's a giant anthology of fiction turned into comics, and is awesome.)

For those who want some 4x6 watercolor in their life, Frakes is also offering an SPX pre-show commission, but only through Wednesday September 4th. I have one she did for me of Cookie Monster, and it's a favorite of my commission collection. You can get one of your own for just $10.

Is your life so tragic that you can't make SPX? Frakes's etsy store is here for you to investigate her work for yourself. You'll be glad you did!