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Over the past month I’ve found myself in the possession of a scad of obscure zines and small issues of independent comic series.  Knowing I couldn’t devote an entire article to suggesting them to an audience, mostly because many of the zines are limited print and not available nationwide, I decided to review and suggest a bundle of them AT a time.  I’m thinking that I’ll stick to four for each installment of Zine Stash, but that will depend on how many zines I have at a time.  Considering that some of these won’t be available for print-on-demand or a delivery, I’ll send readers in the direction of the artists’ website or social media when I can, after the quick summary and review.

There by Hansel Moreno and Claire Connelly

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Hansel Moreno wrote this short zine and Claire Connelly drew it.  Over the course of eight pages, a working stiff contemplates the claustrophobic fear he would experience if he ever went into space.  This external fear becomes internal once he realizes that he feels this same fear after he hasn’t left his desk or office for quite a long time.  The comic is printed in black and white, and as would be expected of a comic that has some panels set in space, there is a ton of black negative space.  The big two page spread features smaller panels off to the side that illustrate the worst of the protagonist’s fears.  For something that only consists of eight pages, a lot of ground is covered in the visuals.  

Hansel Moreno writes short stories.  His twitter handle is @hanselthelost

Claire Connelly’s illustration work can be found on her website.  Her twitter handle is@ckconnellydraws

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall by Mittie Paul

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This limited print comic features a unique series of panel types, from long horizontal ones, to basic geometric shapes, to cracked glass facsimiles, to a cross hatched triangular conclusion.  The plot features a girl wondering what is wrong with her memory, because she can only recall when she looks at herself in the mirror. She can’t remember any time when she’s away from the mirror, but deduced that she must have some kind of life because her hair and clothes are always changing.  When she looks at the text on the book she’s holding, it’s orientation reveals what she really is.  Mirror, Mirror on the Wall is the best short read from this first Zine Stash, not so much because the twist is hard to see coming, but because the reveal uses a lot of creative logic to nail the ending. I’ve covered the creativity of the panels already, but the shading and cross hatching is also very impressive.

Mittie Paul has a webcomic called Timber.  Her twitter handle is @MittieArt.

You Suck: Volume 1 by Josh Lesnick

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You Suck is an erotic webcomic and this first volume is a collection made for people to get interested in the content while at conventions.  The comic features Anna, a college student who has some troubles with getting her sexual desires met by her clueless boyfriend.  After coming on too strong while the two are at a theatre, the boyfriend leaves and Anna later finds him being screwed in the alley by a naked succubus who disappears into the night.  The succubus follows her around after she dumps her boyfriend and appears to want to make friends with her and help her along in getting what she needs out of a sexual relationship.  The succubus doesn’t prove to be the best role model, as consent isn’t exactly something she seems to hold in super high regard, although most of the guys whose bones she jumps seem fine with it after the fact.  Anna isn’t quite so keen with the succubus’ method once she captures Anna’s professor and dumps him on Anna’s bed.

The drawing style of You Suck is extremely loose and free.  Much like Jess Fink’s work onChester 5000, this sort of inking style seems to work very well for the erotic comics genre.  Compared to more anatomically correct images in erotica, such as Melinda Gebbie’s still stunning and remarkable beautiful work on Lost Girls, this sort of style adds a lot of room for the imagination and a more impressionistic reading experience, which I give two thumbs up to.

You Suck can be found here. Josh Lesnick’s twitter is @superhappy.

The Box: Issue 1 by Peyton Freeman and Brett Williams

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The Box is a story that focuses on the Grecian Olympians losing their power as the Ills gain power in the mortal world after Pandora opens that eponymous Box.  Right away, the visual style is at odds with the kind of grand story that the writer is trying to tell. The inking job isn’t done poorly, but the digital coloring and the backgrounds are far too simplistic to really communicate the bigger Grecian world that seems to be set up in the opening of the book.  The textures on walls in the back are done with stone textures from other sites presumably, and pillars are copy pasted too much to keep consistency with the sunlight in the scene.  Also, the story is too jumbled and all over the place, too much to give me a sense of who I should care about.  I didn’t even know Pandora was Pandora until the very end of the book, which may be my fault.  While I can’t recommend the series from my first impression, I will leave the creator’s information below.

Issues of The Box can be purchased online in PDF form through their website.