by Geof Banyard, Abigail Nottingham, Julia Scheele, Thorsten Sideb0ard, David O’Connell, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, Sarah Gordon, Mark Sarmel, Kristyna Baczynski, Philippa Rice, Lizz Lunney, Tom Smith, Francesca Cassavetti, Timothy Winchester, Louise Love, Laura Norris, John Cei Douglas, Hugh Raine.
We Are Words + Pictures
I do love the newspaper format of Paper Science, made possible by those fine people at The Newspaper Club, but made really enjoyable by a collection of rather tasty looking strips inside.
It’s timing and styling and selection of artists does make rather it a sister publication to Solipsistic Pop with lots of familiar small press names we’ve featured here on the blog. But this time round, whilst Solipsistic Pop goes all-ages with issue 3, Paper Science decides to head into the realm of adult work, in theme, and in content, in words and in pictures.
The stylistic and artistic mix in the paper makes for a fun, if bumpy ride. You never quite know what you’ll be getting from any strip, although the vast majority of them are pretty damn good, so it’s generally a pleasant surprise. I do like the feel of distinctly unthemed anthology here – a gag strip butts up against something introspective, turn the page and it’s a pinup, another page it’s a strip on the joys of the local gym’s Power Plate – although the giant vibrating exercise machine isn’t designed for what it’s being put to use for here. But that strip by Louise Love and Laura Norris is quite an eye opener.
A few favourites:
Daniel Merlin Goodbrey‘s strip (Incident at XXXXXXXXXXXXX, above) looks absolutely stunning thanks to his tremendous use of striking, bold colour work and highly stylised figures in a tale of an unmentioned and potentially unmentionable incident somewhere that makes the reader create a scenario far more horrific than could ever be drawn. Goodbrey really is a master of the unusual, iconic, mysterious strip.
Sarah Gordon’s wordless (and titleless, pictured above) game of digestive transit is simple, but visually playful and interesting – the style certainly enough to tell her story well, the art stylised but very nice.
Philippa Rice (above) eschews her My Cardboard Life collage digital style for the other style I’ve seen her use – that of the ultra-cluttered page. It’s something you could either look at quickly, run your eye over it, register it’s fun and invention and move swiftly on or dwell and discover that the strip running as a border to the art is actually a dreary life told in counterpoint to the busy movement of the main picture.
The best (and unexpected) surprise came from David O’Connell, who treats us to a whole page, practically a mini comic in itself given his normal tiny format, of the wonderful Queen Mum Adventures. This time it’s 1982 and she’s heading off in her Hands Free, Electric Royal Buggy Invention (yes – H.E.R.B.I.). It’s time for mayhem in Monte Carlo!
I love O’Connell’s Queen Mum adventures and this is no exception – absolutely daft, brilliantly tongue in cheek, dangerously close to treason.
Hugh Raine‘s Twits on the back cover, gorgeous silhouettes against an orange sunset ends the whole thing with a funny, timely and apposite rant about Twitter. Deliberate playing with the ideas of old transport systems (phone lines and carrier pigeon) vs new or simply just a funny gag on birds twittering? Either way it’s funny.
Overall, Paper Science is a winner, partly due to the sheer tactile pleasure of the newspaper’s feel but mostly down to an impressive and eclectic selection of artists.