Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Preview: "Hrrk", The FLUKE 2010 Anthology

The awesome wrap-around cover by cartoonist/ event organiser Patrick Dean

Further confirming my belief that comics blogging is the foremost use of the internet (well, almost, right?), a sneak-preview of the 2010 FLUKE Mini-Comics Fest Anthology was graciously deposited yesterday in the ATF inbox by event organiser Patrick Dean. Entirely written and laid out by Dean himself and featuring final artwork from no less than seventeen independent/ mini comics creators, it will be available to all attendees at the event completely gratis.

The event, much like the anthology itself, showcases a wealth of small-press and self-published material from comics and zine creators, with all manner of gems available to purchase on the day. Held in Athens, GA at Ciné BarCaféCinéma on the 17th of April, admission costs just $5 and (just in case you missed it the first time)  includes this wonderful FREE ANTHOLOGY.

Page 2: David Mack

As stated previously, part of what makes the anthology so appealing is it features one story, drawn by many different artists. After he finished writing it and producing rough visual layouts, Dean and his cohorts (including comics' "first couple" Michele Chidester and Joey Weiser) split up the comic page-by-page and recruited a plethora of talented comic folks to do the inking in their own individual styles. Featuring such names as Wook Jin Clark (Return of King Doug), Eleanor Davis (The Secret Science Alliance, Mome contributions), Drew Weing (Set to Sea) and the aforementioned Joey Weiser (The Ride Home, Cavemen in Space) and many more, the result is a tragi-comic tale of domestic collapse: an incompetent boyfriend and the psycho-girlfriend that attempts to destroy his life from the inside.

Ok, there's no way of dressing it up: it's about a terrifying chicken-monster that turns people who consume it into stretchy-limed demonic creatures, giant spiders and wormholes. I definitely know which description sounds more fun to me.

As is often the case, the clueless male is to blame, mainly for trying to cook a monster (which looks like the bastard offspring of Audrey II and a rubber chicken) in the first place. No poultry matter (groan), his unyielding assertion that it's just a chicken falls on deaf ears and his female companion attempts to liberate the still-living beast. Soon enough, things get even worse as the creature's sympathetic savoir is suddenly overcome with the desire to eat it, which, obviously, causes her to turn into a monster herself (think Linda Blair with the powers of Mister Fantastic).

Page 9: you don't mess with Eleanor Davis

With each page having a different look, it's definitely surprising that the format doesn't jar against the flow of the story in any way. Conversely, the diverging art styles supplement the irreverent non-sequiturs of  Dean's plot. It's immediately clear that the artists had fun adding their own touch to the basic lay-out. We felt compelled to compare each page to see the differing way each contributor interpreted the characters and environment: In some panels, the male is portrayed as skinny coward, in others, a heroic victim; similarly, the depictions of the demonic female vary from powerful super-villain to grotesque monster.

There are so many attractive panels in this book that it feels a little unfair to pick favourites, but the pages by Weiser, David Mack, Falynn Koch, Clark, Davis and Weing stood out as the ones we enjoyed the most.

Page 11: Drew Weing

Basically, the moral of the story is either "never trust the poultry section at the supermarket" or "buy meat and suffer the wrath of demonic girlfriends and giant spiders". Seriously, why have PETA never thought of this? Funny, varied and charming, the anthology alone is worth the $5 admission free, so, if you're close enough to attend the event, what have you got to lose? Being based in the UK/ France, we're more than a little bummed that we can't attend, so for goodness sake, go for us! Be sure to say hi and take some pictures.

 Poster by David Mack

FLUKE Europe, anyone?


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