Whiskey Jack & Kid Coyote Meet the King of Stink
Shawn Cheng, writer/artist
Partyka, June 2009
Monsters & Condiments
Matt Wiegle, writer/artist
Partyka, June 2009
I can’t pretend to be an unbiased observer of these comics. Matt and Shawn are friends of mine from my bright college years; I’ve collaborated/am planning to collaborate on comics with both of them; I’ve even worked the Partyka table at conventions (though I’ve far more often freeloaded off of them). But this pair of goofy minicomics is as good an excuse as any to explain what I like about their skills as cartoonists and as packagers of their cartoons.
Whiskey Jack is a prequel of sorts to Shawn’s The Would-Be Bridegrooms, which itself was kind of like Kevin Huizenga’s Fight or Run before Kevin Huizenga’s Fight or Run existed. Instead of fighting each other to win the hand of a fair maiden, this time around the titular pair of shapeshifting braggarts fight a giant skunk to save the fair maiden’s life. They make a hash of it and the fair maiden proves more capable than either of them, as you’d expect. Shawn’s a specialist in combat, as Bridegrooms and his collaborative fight comic On the Road of Knives would indicate, but that’s not really the point here–the goal of Whiskey Jack is pretty much to show a Godzilla-sized skunk running around making fart jokes. The pleasure of the thing stems from how well-drawn the fart jokes are–I could watch Shawn’s intricate use of zipatone and his fine geometric character designs play out all the live-long day. I suppose your mileage may vary with a hand-stitched minicomic that culminates in a gigantic shit explosion, but I got pretty far with it.
Matt Wiegle puts out one or two quick gag minis a year, and Monsters & Condiments is his latest. It’s a series of seven monster portraits, presented as dishes from the menu of one Hercule Van Helsing: “Nosferatu with dried bonito flakes over mayonnaise,” “Redcap Dwarfs with trio of dipping sauces,” “Eldritch Horror from Beyond with fresh guacamole,” etc. It’s a treat for all you fans of the creepy-cute out there, that’s for sure, and if Matt did webcomics it’d be highly meme-able–but Matt makes exquisite little minicomics with silkscreened covers instead, so it’s presented with po-faced grandiosity that makes the conceit all the funnier. He’s got a real way with monsters, too (which I’ve taken advantage of in my collaborations with him), and in particular his use of black in each portrait creates pleasing and impressive transitions as you flip back and forth. Stop by the Partyka table at any given small-press show and there are any number of similar pleasures to discover.