Minicomics Round-Up: Henderson, Neely

Posted by on June 14th, 2010 at 5:37 AM

Rob reviews new minis from Sam Henderson and Tom Neely.

NEELY, by Tom Neely. Neely’s one of the top draftsmen working comics today, and this collection of covers inspired by Robert Goodin’s Covered blog. This is a lavishly produced mini featuring Neely’s interpretation of the covers of assorted horror comics from the 50s through the 70s. “Covering” the likes of Frank Frazetta, Jack Davis, Joe Maneely and Roy Krenkel, Neely at once manages to make these striking cover images more horrific and more playful than the originals.  Seeing a pair of eyeballs disintegrating a man’s skin was both disgusting and funny, for example.

While he can draw in a perfectly naturalistic style, Neely likes to lengthen his characters and make them more angular, which allows him to pose them in humorous or awkward positions. As Neely gives his characters a more rubbery quality, he also plays up sex and gore in a way the original artists weren’t allowed to.  This mini is also interesting to look at for Neely’s use of color, which is richer and more vibrant than the original source material.  Any fan of Neely’s THE BLOT will want to take a look at this mini, especially if they’re also a horror aficionado.

IN OTHER COUNTRIES, THEY CONSIDER IT A DELICACY, by Sam Henderson.  This is the latest iteration of Henderson simultaneously returning to his roots making minicomics and using new technology by reprinting strips that first appeared on his website.  These comics feature his single-panel gags, which are Henderson distilled to his most absurd.  The subtitle of these minis is “…And Other Cartoons You Could Have Drawn.”  Like with much of Henderson’s humor, that’s funny on several levels: it’s a bit of self-deprecation, but it’s also a shot at those who say he should “draw better”.   At the same time, the audience could have drawn these cartoons, but not come up with the idea.

Henderson’s style is so refined and stripped down that it functions equally as a method to quickly get across information and simply a funny image.  In a cartoon where a cat appeared in a confessional booth, that image on its own is funny.  When Henderson added a line from a priest behind a screen (“Adultery? Drugs? You must have done something! Come on, work with me here!”), only to be met with silence, it completes a punchline but is also totally absurd.  I only wish the comic was in color like the originals on the web; the greyscale tones don’t do anything for the art or jokes.  Still, there’s something to be said for the cumulative effect of reading gag after gag from Henderson; by the time the issue is over, one’s grasp on logic is no longer quite as firm.

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