December 14, 2013

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Bunny Blues Leaves 6

Written and Illustrated by Bob Corby
Self-Published

It's almost the end of the road trip, but Kit has one more thing to do in this final issue of this mini-comic mini-series that brings closure to both the reader and two of its characters.

Wrapping up the threads he weaved together in the previous issues, Kit takes her former lover to a spot they shared, trying to get away from everyone else but ultimately being unable to escape the fact that her past is shared.

Meanwhile, Mike stews because he's lost his chance, if there ever was one, to get closer to Kit. Just as leaves flow in the wind, his chances look to be blowing away, with a great visual representation of this at the end of the story.

This obviously is not a comic to start with, being linked so closely to the prior five issues. In fact, one of the problems is that since there's such a gap between issues, I didn't find myself as emotionally connected to the characters as I had when reading issues 1-5 awhile back. Corby hits the right notes and visuals here (I especially liked it when Rex flashes back between past and present, thinking of things he'd prefer to forget), but it took me awhile to remember that Tie (the dead character) had a relationship with Kit, and the visual similarity between the three characters didn't help.

Corby was clearly going for a mood--and if read straight through, 1-6, that mood would definitely come through. However, since there was such a gap, we needed a recap of some kind, even if it slowed things down just a bit. There was too much obscured here, even for an existing reader.

That said, Corby's art is still very strong. He's working with animal characters, and plays with that (like making the Fleabag Motel run by a literal flea) in ways that make the reader smirk. His layouts, as I mentioned above, work well, and do a lot of work in place of wordy dialogue. We learn about the quality of the hotel not from complaints, but the peeling paint off the walls. The wilderness scenes, despite being in black and white, give us a clear picture of the type of place it might be, with trees, bushes, and an amazing view.

Corby's drawing style includes an almost pointillist design when it comes to inking, using a collection of very small black dots to shade in everything from walls to bushes to hair color. It's very distinctive, and he uses it to good effect, like when the dots break apart a black background to highlight an impending fight between Mike and a sleezy club owner. When contrasted with long, thin likes for shading other parts of the story (grass, shirts, and sheets), it creates an overall visual variety within a black and white comic. I really love the contrasts this creates, even though I'm sure it's part of why these comics take so long to make.

Taken as an overall story, Bunny Blues Leaves is great. I definitely recommend it. However, take the plunge and get all six issues rather than trying to sample from the newest one first. Bob Corby is a very talented creator and highly recommended. However, not unlike reading the last issue of a mini-series in the larger floppy comic world, this definitely wouldn't be the place to start. Go back to #1, read them all, and enjoy.