I didn’t follow the “comix” scene, I know how influential Harvey Pekar and the underground comics movement was but that type of story never really attracted me. These days “underground” comics are still around, many of the same people are still making them but I think the really important movement now is the self-published book. We lack the head shops and record stores of the sixties and seventies so coming across non traditional comics can be a more difficult prospect. And unfortunately even the comic shops that carry truly independent books can only stock so many titles. Luckily we have the internet and the convention scene, so many artists and writers are out there making their books and selling them at cons and online it’s nearly impossible to keep track. So what happens for most of us is we find a creator or two we enjoy and kind of follow their career.
Such is the case for me. Years ago I stumbled across Claire Connelly at a small comic convention in Asbury Park, her art style, story-telling, and enthusiasm were an immediate indication of the fact that she will go far (check out Why I loved Asbury Comic Con (one of the many reasons) for that story.) Oddly enough I ran into Erica Schultz at that same convention and her book M3 (Review of M3 – This series deserves Five Stars!) showed me that I was dealing with a first-rate pro, with a quick wit and an acerbic sense of humor. I’ve followed, and written about their careers ever since taking immense pleasure in knowing that I “met them when” and watching them become more and more accomplished and sought after.
When they teamed up on their first project “The Unauthorized Biography of Winston Churchill: A Documentary” they showed that their styles would meld with insane results.
“UBWC: A Documentary” is a witty tongue in cheek what if story starring Winston Churchill (yes that one) during the dangerous days of World War II. Not intent on sitting idly by and let the Americans and the Nazi outpace the British in advancements in weaponry he pressures his science department to show him some thing new he can use to win the war. Instead they show him something old, something found behind a wall in an old station. A machine. And this machine is a wonder. – continue reading
And now they’ve teamed up again, this time they’re bringing us a love story. Part Romeo and Juliet Cheese is a mix of The Twilight Zone, Charlotte’s Web, and inspirations from Claire’s previous work with Eric Grissom (Animals & Animals: Chickens), “Cheese – A Love Story” introduces us to the world of animal competitions, the State Fair Blue Ribbon competition in this case. Penelope and Raymond are two young goats (kids I guess?) who are on their way to the State Fair. The pressure is really on Penelope, whose mother was a prize-winning goat before her death, and her father is counting on a win to secure a great contract for the farm. But politics, some animal mafia style tactics and a serious complication, in the form of Penelope’s brother Raymond’s falling in love with a cow he just met, all conspire to make this a State Fair she and her family won’t soon forget.
This has all the hallmarks of a great story, characters you care about, a setting and plot you can suspend your disbelief in, and a resolution that not only entertains but says something about society.
I really hope these two continue to collaborate bringing us stories that make us laugh, and think.
Cheese – A Love Story gets 5 out of 5. Buy it from Claire or Erica at the many conventions they attend throughout the year. Or head over to Vices Press where I’m certain it will be available for purchase soon.
Cheese – A Love Story
Written by Erica Schultz
Art by Claire Connelly
Pages: 24, B&W