Snug Comics #1 (Low Key Comics) | Izzy Challenge #5 (self-published)

snug-header.jpgA look at two interesting new minicomics, both written and drawn at least in part by local talents.




Snug Comics #1 (Low Key Comics)

28 pgs. B&W; free

(W / A: Juan Ruvalcaba, Jason Green, Justin Crouse, Chris Gervais, Paul Little)

Izzy Challenge #5 (self-published)

16 pgs. B&W; $1.00

(W / A: J.B. Winter and various)

Two interesting new comics crossed my desk this week: both written and drawn at least in part by local talents. Snug Comics #1 is an anthology featuring art and stories of Juan Ruvalcaba, Jason Green, Justin Crouse, Chris Gervais, and Paul Little. Izzy Challenge #5 was created by J.B. Winter in collaboration with 50 artists from all 50 U.S. states.

A color version of the cover to Snug Comics No. 1 by Justin Crouse. Click for a larger image.The most polished comic in Snug Comics #1 is "Hipsters in Denial," written and illustrated by Justin Crouse. It’s a great portrait of a personality type we’re all familiar with: the tortured soul whose hipness is constantly threatened by an uncaring environment. In this case, our unnamed hero is assailed by half-naked male mannequins (setting off his homophobic defenses), fat waitresses (offending his delicate sense of beauty, which apparently only applies to females), and egregiously un-hip music (Hall & Oates! The horror!) played over P.A. systems. But when a shopping expedition with a friend-who-happens-to-be-a-girl takes him to Urban Outfitters, he comes to a tragic conclusion: no matter how hard he strives to be an individual, his tastes can be duplicated and marketed, and that makes him part of a demographic.

Artistically, the most interesting is "How I Spent My Summer," written and illustrated by Chris Gervais. The story is a bit odd-it begins with the usual distractions of a misspent youth in a hot Arizona summer, then morphs into horror-movie territory-but it’s drawn with a nice variety of frame size and detail and becomes less realistic as the story becomes more fantastic. "Missed Flight" by PLAYBACK:stl’s own Jason Green (writer) and Justin Crouse (drawer) is an interesting experiment in telling a story about nothing-in this case three friends missing a plane flight-without dialogue, but with ambient sound. As with "Hipsters in Denial," Crouse’s illustrations create sharply delineated characters and ambiance.

In excerpts from his book Journal Sanders: Kentucky Fried Sketchbook, Juan Ruvalcaba draws lists of his favorite films in various categories, including Chicago movies, horror movies on television, and full frontal nudity movies (which places this anthology in the NC-17 category). His preferences are mainstream: more interesting are how he creates a single frame, not necessarily representing an actual scene from the film, to identify each. Paul Little draws illustrations inspired by the lyrics of Tom Waits ("Singapore") and Abel Meeropol ("Strange Fruit"); the latter is also famous as the adoptive parent of Michael and Robert Rosenberg (whose parents Julius and Ethel were the first civilians executed for espionage in the history of the United States).

The cover to Izzy Challenge No. 5 by J.B. Winter. Click for a larger image.To create Izzy Challenge #5, Columbia artist J. B. Winter mailed panels containing different poses of Izzy the mouse to artists from all 50 states, inviting them to create a context by filling in the panels and adding narration. Many of the artists chose to draw state-specific content, making the collection a nice armchair tour through landmarks and insider’s favorites, from the Cruise Room in Denver’s Oxford Hotel to the RISD green in Providence, Rhode Island. In Missouri, not surprisingly, Izzy swings from the St. Louis Arch. Each artist is identified and their email/web site provided, so you can track down anyone whose style particularly interests you.

Low Key Comics originally offered Snug Comics #1 for free to attendees of a local music showcase at Snug Harbor in Charlotte, NC, to coincide with the annual Heroes Convention held there, and a small number of copies of the numbered edition of 200 are still available by contacting while supplies last. For more information, visit

The Izzy Challenge series is available at Star Clipper and Rock Bottom Comics as well as the MU Bookstore and Get Lost Bookshop in Columbia, and Quimby’s in Chicago. They can also be purchased from the author’s web site | Sarah Boslaugh


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