Leafy Greens for September 8th

Photo by Natasha Skov on Unsplash

A healthy comics diet requires a good serving of greens, and these odd gems will enrich your regular reading.

I’m lucky enough to receive a ton of awesome submissions, and while I can’t cover everything I’d like to spotlight a few cool nuggets of cruciferous comics fun that might be a bit outside your normal pull lists or indie fare.

Read on for some highlights from what Cabbage has harvested from the indie fields so far this month, and remember: eat your greens, kids!

Pear Cider and Cigarettes

The cover of the graphic novel Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Cover by Robert Valley

Created by Robert Valley

Based on the Oscar-nominated animated short of the same name, Pear Cider and Cigarettes documents a fictionalized Valley’s journey to assist his friend in getting a liver transplant, getting back to the U.S. from China and, hopefully, staying alive long enough to accomplish both. Valley’s expressive, angular anatomy and wild perspectives build a drug-trip aesthetic that suits this grim narrative.

Many of us have had a friend like Techno, but not many of us would go to the lengths the narrator does to try and save him – especially when it’s not clear if he wants to be saved.

The book is a visual feast that’s definitely worth a look, though the narration is paced strangely at times and doesn’t always match the art’s rhythm. We need an occasional pause to help us stop reading and take a beat to let an emotional moment or transition hit. We’ll likely get that in a film thanks to its linear delivery, but in comics that’s a bit harder to pull off. Still, the unique aesthetic makes for an interesting and rich experience.

Steak #1

A cover of Steak #1
Cover by Marc Olivent

Written by Will Conway
Illustrated & lettered by Marc Olivent

Steak #1 posits that the next big dietary trend in both luxury restaurants and greasy spoons is steak – but not from cows. Turns out, Benjamin Buckland’s got a line on some prehistoric protein that’s sure to delight any palate. If he can keep the secret of his time travel, wrangle his big game hunters and garner some good press, that is.

Conway’s light tone keeps the book humming along. There are some spots where the timeline feels a little disjointed, though the kaleidoscope of narrative captions adds humor to the confusion. Olivent plays with layouts in fun ways, and isn’t afraid to take up real estate when we need to get a massive shot of a dinosaur for scale (and for menu purposes, of course.) Buckland’s clearly a bit cracked, and his partner’s none too pleased about the profit-over-research bent the whole venture’s taken on, but Steak #1 takes a turn-of-the-century sci-fi concept and updates it for comics readers of today, with style.

Railgun

Cover by Sean Dillon

Story by Sean Dillon & Steven Petrivelli
Illustrated by Sean Dillon
Lettered by Micah Myers

Railgun is a fast-paced, fun and futuristic Western short that features desert tones, high-speed trains and well-paced heist antics designed to satisfy. Dillon and Petrivelli cultivate a bare-bones narrative style to keep our attention on the art and the action. There’s enough cool character design within to differentiate between our main trio and the baddies, and signal discrete personalities and quirks without relying on dialogue to fill in the gaps.

Myers deploys some great sound effects that blend well with Dillon’s high-contrast palette and sandy vibes, and he does good work to site what dialogue we do have on the page. There’s a line or two that can feel a touch formal for the overall book’s tone, but Petrivelli and Dillon work well together to keep the story moving at the speed we’d expect from the physical action within.

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