Sunday, December 5, 2010

Field Guide to Cartoonists

By the Trees & Hills Comics Group

I had a comics-loving friend come visit me recently, and he said it was interesting to see how many cartoonists were now coming out of the Centre for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. I mean, it makes sense. If you want to be good at something you study it right? And if you want to study it why not go to school.

It's not as though I recognize every name in here (there are a lot!), but I do recognize some of them, and I'm sure other names will now pop up when I go looking at other things over the next couple of years.

Now, because this minicomic is a collection of people from a school/area with no overarching theme it is incredibly scattershot. You might think that coming from a group called "Trees and Hills" and being called a "field guide" that this would be an anthology of comics about nature, but it's not. For good or ill there are comics featuring superheros, twinkies, ninjas, and even a few (okay, a bunch) about real life and nature.

Coleen Frakes does a cute short comic about a space ninja fighting a zombie, Jennifer Omand does one about the toys she collected as a child ( bird), Mark Gonyea does some nice woood-cut style "excuses for missing homework", Bryan Stone had a cute (yes, I overuse this word) little story about a girl and a fox that was quite fairy-tale-y, Colin Tedford does a simply drawn story about a bug who rides a bicycle, and Megan Baehr draws a nicely illustrated, silent story about walking through the woods (hey! Some of the stories are about nature after all). Plus loads more!

There is, like most anthologies, some stuff stuff I didn't care for, and even comics I don't really understand. But overall the standard is pretty high, and I liked a bunch of the comics here.

(Art by Jennifer Omand.)

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