My wife is a teacher, and returns to school tomorrow when classes resume. We’re in southern Wisconsin where the weather has been alternately rainy with flooding, cold yet humid, or intensely hot and muggy. I can only imagine that the kids returning to school are miserable.
Anyway, I was reflecting on the weather and my own childhood when Giant-Size Mini Comics #2 suddenly popped into my head.
I liked the daily comic strips as a kid (particularly Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side, which pretty much goes without saying for people around my age), but I was never much into comic books because I didn’t care for superheroes. Sometime in middle school I made a deliberate effort to get into comics, but the stores in town that sold new books really only carried the big names (i.e., the ones ending in -Man), so I got my fix from used bookstores. Somebody in town was buying, reading, and donating a lot of weird stuff on a consistent basis, and I tended to gravitate to books from the smaller publishers, particularly Aircel and Eclipse.
A lot of this stuff was completely inappropriate for an eleven-year-old; lots of violence, more sex than my parents would have approved of (but not as much as I’d have liked), and a level of defiant cynicism that made South Park seem trite when it premiered a few years later. I developed an early appreciation for the works of R. Crumb and his creative descendants (particularly John Pound, whose book Ground Pound is out of print but definitely (in the opinion of both present-day and early-1990s me) worth your while to track down).
And then there was Giant-Sized Mini Comics, which introduced me to the concept and format of minicomics: eight Xeroxed pages drawn on a single sheet of paper folded into quarters, then stapled and cut to make a book. Each issue of G-SMC collected a sampling of minicomics in an attempt to bring them to a much larger audience than they’d otherwise reach. I grabbed a copy of G-SMC #2 sometime during (I think) the summer between seventh and eighth grade, and was fascinated by the idea of self-publishing on a micro basis, which struck me as the sweet spot between the artwork your mom hangs on the fridge and the kind of Serious Professional Publishing that Demands Capital Letters.
I made a handful of minicomics my pre-college years. I doubt that any still survive, and if they do they’re probably not worthy of even the humblest blog post (also, they’re probably embarrassing as hell).
I wanted very badly to complete my collection of G-SMC, and eventually I did come across the other three issues (there were, as far as I can tell, only four issues), and it’s amazing: the one issue I found is the only one whose contents really appeal to me. It’s not that the rest of them are without merit, but I’d have glanced over them in the shop and moved on to something else.
I bring all of this up because today I remembered a two-page spread from G-SMC #2, a mediatation on water of the running and falling varieties which bored me at the time. It’s an issue of Walking Man Comics, and I probably haven’t thought about it in more than a decade, and I find that I like it better now.
Enjoy (at least until someone sends me a cease and desist). And click the images to expand them, obviously.