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Bugbear #1
posted December 20, 2006


Creators: Drew Weing, Eleanor Davis
Publishing Information: Little House Comics, Mini-Comic, 36 pages, 2006, $6
Ordering Numbers:

Bugbear #1 came out earlier this year from Drew Weing and Eleanor Davis' home publishing venture, along with a bunch of solo minis from the both of them. Bugbear feels like the flagship, or at least the one you might give to someone out of the entire pile as most representative. It features both artists and sports a lovely silk-screened covers of villagers huddling under a sky filled with kite-like monster. It's reminiscent of a scene in one of the Studio Ghibli features, although I don't remember which one. At any rate, it's very pretty, and effectively sets the stage for many of the comics that follow.

There's a lot of work here that borders on morose. Although Eleanor Davis has been practically on fire for a while now -- her endpapers were the best thing in one small-press anthology I read -- I think perhaps the best stories here are two of Weing's. In "Soy Based," Weing walks through a few pages of perfect pacing for a creepy relation of a dream about his recently deceased father that takes a nice turn into anticipation of another loss that feels like the kind of reaction many of us would have. In "The Machinery Inside," he walks us through a tasteful Armageddon. In "Camping Trip With My Dad and Sister c. 1997," Davis works all over the page with work that features a really thin line and distinct, uncompromising figure work. It's silent except for words that label the different things encountered. It feels like an unpacked memory, the kind of thing you spend a few minute dreaming over before you decide whether to pull them into a narrative or leave them alone. She maeks the right choice.

I have my favorites, but the comics in Bugbear are strong throughout; a couple of one-pagers that clunk more than they thrill are quickly forgotten about. There's a lot of loss and sadness to the book, and that sense that young adults have about suddenly playing for keeps and that life is arbitrary in the cruelest ways, but it's hard even given that pain not to want more of this very intriguing little comic.