April 13, 2018

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beds! Beds! BEDS! by RJ Casey and Ben Horak

Written by RJ Casey
Illustrated by Ben Horak
Published by Yeti Press

A young family, inexplicably oblivious to danger, go looking for a bed for their baby, leading to exaggerated hijinks in this farce dedicated by the creators to Josh Simmons.

I've been pulling out things to read or re-read from my boxes as I re-organize stuff, making painful choices about what to keep, but this wasn't even a question, as it's written by my friend RJ and features a loving homage/parody to Josh Simmons, whose horror comics are really creepy. Here, the creepiness is retained but there's humor, not horror, as no one dies (a clear sign Josh did not do the comic!).

The family clearly is odd, as we see from the opening, where they share a disgusting kiss and then barely care as their car crashes into a pole. Once inside, they talk about the need for a bed for the baby, who gets into some misadventures that should upset them, but of course they just find it extremely exciting. In the end, it's not yet time for baby to move on, leaving the shopkeeper to assure the bed it's not its fault they rejected the sale.

The whole thing is silly as hell, as you can see from these scans I made (apologies, because they're not the best, but I wanted you to see the visuals):


As you can see, Casey and Horak do a wonderful job sending up the horror elements, such as the wrecked car (who cares) and the creepy salesman, who is first feared, then hated, then just taken along for the ride. Though these are short panels, they pack a lot in, covering quickly the tropes that are so enjoyable in Simmons' hands but are also good fodder for comedy.

I particularly love the tons of lines that Horak draws. While some working on a brief mini would have just sketched the outline of a store, you can see even in my bad scans that there are extra markings on the pillars, each bed gets some detailing, and so on. Casey, meanwhile, gives him the space to work, not trying to fill the pages with too much dialog. There's also some great exaggeration work, such in the eyes on the third panel of the second page.

Here's a second scan, towards the end:


Again, though it's played for laughs, look at how grotesque the shopkeeper is in that first panel! It's a little terrifying, isn't it? I also love the laughter words filling all the space in the roof hole in the last panel (and check out that hatching--like I said, the comic has a ton of detail). I'm not sure if the idea of the "perfect" bed being a horror show of lumps was RJ or Ben's idea (or perhaps both), but it adds to the fun here.

I did this quick review because a) I can, that's the fun part of having a non-monetized site b) it's a lot of fun and c) it's a really good example of how much can be done with such a short space. Casey and Horak don't take up a lot of time extending the jokes beyond their expiration date, and the characters themselves don't get huge back stories. Instead, we just learn that they're a normal-looking Addams Family, where the strange is ordinary to them, and the reader benefits from seeing how much comedy can come from it.

I highly doubt you can find this mini anywhere, but if you do, snap it up. It's pretty typical of the cool stuff Yeti was doing before the line was retired a few years back.