M. R. Trower (inkmaggot) / REM Pt. 1
One of my favorite aspects of M. R. Trower’s REM is that, like Eik before it, the comic takes place in a fully-defined world. Cities extend into infinity and authority has an answer for every (often unasked) question. This is solid, dystopian fiction.
What puts M. R. Trower above many of the others working in this area is the perspective and sensitivity of the characters. Often times, individual-versus-society narratives are hard for me to relate to because they have a Thoreau-bro / Rand-fan / might-makes-right message. REM feels like a real person working to find space in a real world.
Pt. 1 is just the start. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.
(Follow the REM Tumblr to see new pages as they become available.)
Kevin Budnik (kevin-budnik) / Hand Book Number One
Tabling at SPX with M. R. Trower and Jen Rickert, Jen introduced us to her friend Kevin from Chicago. He spent most of the weekend coming or going from our table, often standing in for Jen as she did things like drawing and printing an entire comic at the show (!) or approaching curmudgeonly artists while the rest of us looked on, from a safe distance, saying, “I could never do that,” but wishing we could.
Kevin was funny, thoughtful, and (from the outside) extremely easygoing. Glancing at the loose lines and color work of Hand Book, I expected equally easygoing diary comics. What I got, instead, was a reminder that one of the most insidious aspects of mental illness is its invisibility.
Hand Book is an incredibly open and touching depiction of inner struggle and gradual recovery. It’s also funny, thoughtful, and not at all easy.
A. Degen (adactivity) / Junior Detective Files (sonatinacomics)
I’ve read this comic three times and the first theme to emerge is identity, specifically the obscuring of identity. Over the course of thirty-six pages, the reader encounters bags, mirrored goggles, masks, bandages, blindfolds, helmets, hoods, and black-out darkness hiding individuals’ true faces.
There are also recurring instances of replacement, supplanting the organic with the inorganic; dolls and mannequins standing in for humans, taxidermy (or synthetic dioramas?) in place of living animals, a ritual seemingly swapping a baby for a stuffed toy.
I don’t claim to fully understand this story―yet―but I know that any amount of time I put into reading it again will be rewarded.
Did you miss SPX? Bummer, du. Well, fortunately you can now buy Rem Pt. 1 online from me in my bigcartel store! There’s even the option to get a lil original Rem sketch in with your order for a few bucks more.
Everything else that I brought with me to SPX* is also up for sale there, so go nuts if you so desire. I’m running low on Eik and Talking Shit, so, you know, you might wanna get those.
If you’re confused about what Rem is you should probably click here.
*except for Cork Nut #1. All gone :(
M. R. Trower’s comics are must-buys.
As you’re putting together your shopping list for SPX, consider adding my new mini Man is Wolf. It’s a 16-page comic about an ape in a lab, printed on some really nice French Paper Company papers.
I’ll have the new comic, a cheap, sketches-only version of the comic, some sticker packs, and a few of my older books, so come to table N4, where you can also pick up new comics by M. R. Trower and Jen Rickert!
(This comic is not suitable for children.)
If you missed them at SPX, I’ve added a few new things to my store.
I sold and traded a bunch of Man is Wolf (around sixty copies!), this weekend; and because I’m holding back a handful to have when I’m wandering around at CAB, there are only eleven copies available online.
(I also added the last two copies of the pencil sketch zine and the last seven sticker packs.)