February 9, 2014

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Two Minis from Bob Corby

Why I'm Not Musical
Adjustable
Written and Illustrated by Bob Corby
Self-Published

Coordinator of the S.P.A.C.E. show every year, mini-comics creator Bob Corby is probably best known as a show-runner more so than a participant. However, he's also quite good at making comics, too.

I've reviewed Corby's Bunny Blues stories in the past, and now here are the last two comics of his that I have, a pair of short minis that are both entertaining, but for very different reasons.

"Why I'm Not Musical" is an autobiographical story that is easily related to, as he narrates the story of how he was turned off music at a young age by his teacher, who told Corby and his parents that he had no musical aptitude whatsoever.

It turns out that wasn't necessarily the case, but the young artist--Corby mentions how in parent-teacher meetings, references to his "doodling" would come up--never picked up the guitar after the blow from authority. In a passing reference at the end, it's clear he's taken a different tack with his own kids.

The art on this one is very different from Corby's style on Bunny Blues. It features thick, almost woodcut-like lines and simplistic character designs, and work like an illustrated story rather than a comic. The pictures accompany a fill quarter-sized page of text, rather than speech balloons and dialogue boxes. Corby uses a ton of speed lines to indicate emotion and while it's not as advanced as his usual work, you still get a feel for what the young artist was thinking as this tragedy of misplaced scorn played out.

Adjustable, a "failed" 24 hour comic, is more in line with what I'm used to seeing from Corby. Aliens crash-land on Earth and only their robot companion can save them--if he can convince an everyman character named Bill to help out.

Done in traditional comic book style, though tightly compacted into this quarter-sized mini, hijinks ensue as Bill and his new robot friend try to get them medical attention while passing them off as Penn State students. (A little Ohio State joke there, I'm guessing, given Corby lives in Columbus.) This goes about as well as you think, but before they can do anything else, the space ship is stolen by a motley group of people that includes an anthropomorphic dog that looks like he belongs in Corby's other comics.

In the end, jokes are made, improbable situations are illustrated quickly (24 comic after all), and the Earth is saved by its poor eating habits. It's a fun, quick romp with probably a bit too much text and a few convenient twists, but anyone wanting to see Corby's style of humor and ability to draw some intricate backgrounds (which is what likely prevented this one from getting finished on time) may wish to check this one out, as I think it's a pretty good example, even with a few flaws.

These two minis show just how varied a creator can be with the form, and are available from Corby's website.