Friday, September 17, 2010

SPX Find #2: Cathy Leamy's Reggie & Brian

Here is my comics pal Cathy Leamy, at this year's SPX:

And here is a closer view of the cover of her newest mini, Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname.

In it, Reggie is a fisherman, perhaps on the Irish coast—he and his fellow fishermen all wear those cabled wool sweaters one associates with Ireland. And Reggie, by far the youngest of the bunch (the only kid in a crowd of grizzled old guys), is tired of being known merely as "Reggie": all his compatriots have nicknames.

His boss thinks it over ...

... and gives him a new monicker:

... but he really doesn't like being called "Crusty," because it's a little embarrassing to have barnacles all over your boat no matter how much you clean it.

Once he's out at sea, Reggie tells his friend Brian (a young merman) about the new nickname, and the barnacle problem, and Brian offers to try to find a solution.

It turns out that Brian can speak the language of barnacles, and he teaches it to Reggie so that Reggie can get them off his boat and earn a new nickname.

I'm not going reveal more about the story, because the final panel is a punchline. In fact, the whole comic is structured like a story-joke, and thinking about Reggie & Brian made me realize that I know a few jokes that would also make pretty good comics. (The one about Einstein's first words would be a good one, for example. Also, maybe the one about the Indian with the World's Greatest Memory.) No telling when I'll find time to draw them, but I suppose that's an idea for a rainy day.

I enjoyed Reggie & Brian, in part because I enjoy the unpretentious friendliness of Cathy's drawing style: it's direct, and very clear, without losing a sense of personal voice or style. I am also happy to add it to my growing pile of kid-friendly minicomics: it's good to know there's more stuff out there that one wouldn't have to hide from a little one.

I'll admit to feeling like Reggie & Brian is sort of slight — the sort of thing that might have been only one story in a longer issue of Geraniums & Bacon, Cathy's serial anthology. It's a sixteen-page story, but it feels short because there's only one page with more than two panels on it: the pages go by quickly. I didn't ask Cathy about this, but I imagine she might be trying to imitate the pacing of a children's book, or to make the book more friendly to early readers.

At any rate, it's a fun little book, and the punchline is pretty funny, too. (I think I had guessed it before I saw it, but that's not necessarily a flaw in a story-joke.)

If you want to get a copy of Reggie & Brian to find out the punchline, you'll find it, along with a bunch of other entertaining minicomics, in Cathy's online store.

As an extra bonus, here's a doodle Cathy put in my dress-your-character-as-a-superhero sketchbook:

That's her own autobiographical persona dressed as Phoenix. Such fun!

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