Spotlighting Three Awesome Cartoonists On Patreon: Lauren Monger, Austin Holcomb & Drew Weing
If you've not heard of Patreon yet, it's a service not dissimilar to Kickstarter, in that it allows you to donate money to projects and artists you'd like to support, sometimes for rewards, but largely because it's something you're invested in and would like to see continue. It's also different in that you can pledge ongoing support; giving a certain amount of money each month -- say, a dollar -- although there's the option available to cancel at any time. As you can imagine, these factors make Patreon better tailored for those working and producing art online, as evidenced by the number of more established online artists doing well on there -- KC Green, Anthony Clark, Meredith Gran, Ryan North, and more.
With so much projects to sift through, it's easy to miss some perhaps lesser-known, but equally excellent comics worthy of wider attention, so I thought I'd spotlight three of my favorites here. Regardless of whether you choose to support them or not, at the very least hopefully you'll be introduced to a few great comics that you may not have been aware of.
Clementine/Terrible Terrible by Lauren Monger: I've been an ardent follower of Monger's art and comics for a while, in particular her painted Clementine comics, which feature a 20-something opossum navigating life, trying to get a job, hanging out with friends, chatting about music, pooling together loose change to buy drinks. I'm always interested to see the different ways in which anthropomorphism can be used, and it's quite remarkable how Monger's group of badgers, raccoons, and squirrels feel so real, so human- as far from cutesy as you can imagine, but not deliberately dark or gritty; her narratives unshowy but absorbing. The essence of what makes her comics so good are that she's able to make these stories in which her characters have these conversations and find themselves in certain situations, without the tone being forced or overt- it never gets too insular, yet nor is it unsympathetic or pandering. It's relatable, and funny, too. If it all sounds a bit familiar and slackery, just trust me and give it a go; you're unlikely to regret it.
While I hold out for a collection of Clementine comics, Monger's been taking up a number of exciting print projects recently, including the comic she's producing for Space Face, Sleepwalking, due for release later this year. The Patreon is to aid her in being able to continue working on more Clementine and online comics on a regular basis, with exclusive and early access to comics and art. Read Clementine here.
Night Physics by Austin Holcomb: 'Exploring subjects like escape, loneliness, disappointment, and the plausibility of flying saucers, Night Physics is a series of stories united by the idea of people ignoring, laughing at, running from, and, ultimately, confronting their biggest fears.'
Night Physics is pretty amazing. The work of Australian artist Austin Holcomb, it looks exquisite, in turns sedate and ethereal and then a pulsing, shimmering vivid experience that embraces you completely. It's gorgeously colored: mostly in pinks, purples and reds (with the occasional use of green and blue) which contribute to that sense of immediate, kinetic vitality. The strips interpose between the narrative of a few key characters: Austin, Alice, and Hoyt, and sequences titled, 'What do you dream of?' These are set in the same world, but present a series of characters (both related and unrelated to the others) facing the reader and answering the titular question, which reveal their hopes, desires, fears and character.
Holcomb uses the infinite scroll to his advantage: the comics are usually one tall strip, which adds to the surreal and odd undertones, and the immersive nature of it. I love that it's so intense visually -- one that could only be presented as a web-comic, really -- and the gradual unveiling and coming together of aspects is nicely built upon and rewarding. Read Night Physics here.
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Malloo by Drew Weing: Weing's a cartoonist whose been making comics online for several years, with his book, Set To Sea, published by Fantagraphics in 2010 and recently re-printed. His new comic, The Creep Case Files Of Margo Malloo, is the sort of thing I devoured when I was younger, and still do now, let's be honest -- there's no age limit on appreciating quality. We find our young protagonist, Charles Thompson, reluctantly moving to a new city with his parents, and into an old, ominous-looking apartment building, which he quickly realizes is home to beings other than the human variety.
Adults being the dullards they so often turn into, Charles is helped out by a neighborhood kid who sics him onto the legend of Margo Malloo, famed mediator and handler of disputes between humans and beastly beings. Skeptical, but also not quite ready to share a bedroom with monsters of any type, Charles calls the number, although even he's not quite prepared for what happens next... Weing's comic is beautifully drawn, with spidery atmospheric lines, and full with character and detail. Margo Malloo has already wrapped up one chapter, or story/case, and is now onto its second, with Weing looking to keep it running with two new pages each week. Read The Creepy Case Files of Margo Malloo here.