October 4, 2013

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Oily Comics May 2013

It's time to continue reviewing the Oily comics I've received so far, this time going back to the ones from May.

For those unaware, Oily is a mini-comics publisher that specializes in short, quarter-sized comics.  They run a subscription program and give readers a chance to get a variety of comics and creators in their mailbox every month.  I enjoy finding new creators and since I'm going to less cons this year, I thought taking advantage of subscriptions like these would be a good way to do it.

Here's short notes on each of the comics for May.  Once again, Lou is the only series to be available month in, month out. We see a return from Middle Ground and Outside after a few months off, and Josh Simmons joins the party.

Lou 14 by Melissa Mendes continues the story where it left off, with John missing. He's gone to the secret place, but finds he's not alone. With a ton of cross-hatching work, Mendes makes the scene look pretty scary, without doing a lot of complex visuals. This one is more of a stage-setter than actual story, which is a bit disappointing, but it's still pretty good.

Using a lot of extremely small panels, Middle Ground by Andy Burkholder is mostly a series of stories from a character's dad. The kind of tales you don't want your friends to hear, they're designed to make you midly uncomfortable, and it works extremely well here. I liked this one better than the last Middle Ground, but the style is still a bit overly obscure just because, and I'm not a huge fan of that.

Not a Horse Girl 1: Acoustic Episodes is a new series from Marian Runk, and it's a great entry. My favorite of this month's comics, Runk tells stories about her voice teacher and her connection to music. Extremely well drawn (possibly the best I've seen in an Oily comic) and able to tell quick, concise autobiographical stories that are actually interesting, this is one I hope to see a lot more of going forward.

By contrast, and showing the variety you get in every Oily delivery, Outside from Marc Geddes (words) and Warren Craghead (art) is another exercise in abstraction. Loosely based on the idea of surfing, this one becomes more and more sketchy and heavy lines as it goes along. It doesn't quite work for me, but fans of that type of comic should appreciate it.

Training from Josh Simmons ends the batch this month, and it's as strange and filled with horror as you'd expect from him. I think this is part of a series, but it's the first I've seen of it. A young man comes to a demented training camp, where people have needles under their skin and act out violence regularly. He's apparently trapped, and that's enough to hook me into wanting to know more. Filled with the great use of heavy blacks and stark horror that Simmons does so well, this one's a great finish to May's Oily.

Join me next time when I tell you about June's comics from Oily.