09 February 2006

Brush and Pen reviewed by Comic Book Galaxy

Comic Book Galaxy
Brush and Pen is the story of Clicky, your average, hard-working pen, who wants nothing more than to go home to his loving, adoring brush of a wife and a good home-cooked meal. Unfortunately none of that’s going to happen. It’s a slice-of-life story told in an extremely unique fashion.
There’s a lot going for this mini-comic, but there are a few things working against it as well. Smith’s art, as well as his dialogue are very simple throughout, occasionally hinting at greater things. It’s put together sloppily, the pages aren’t centered, the staples are off, and the paper used for the cover is speckled with something, and it’s distracting as hell.
But as off-putting as all that can be it adds a lot of charm to an already moderately charming book. There’s something comforting about knowing Smith had to hop on down to his local Kinko’s (or, even better, printed it up himself), staple the pages in order and seal it in an envelope, slap a stamp on it and send it out.
Also adding to all that is the fact that each character in the book was drawn by the same instrument they represent (Clicky was drawn with a ball point pen, Qbert a quill, Sharpster a Sharpie, etc.). It also lends a bit more personality to the characters as well.
The story itself feels like a throwback to the old romantic-comedy television shows, something Smith actively attempted and achieved, to moderate success. It’s lacking the timelessness of those shows, but very much gets the gist of it. Clicky is equal parts Dick Van Dyke and Desi Arnez, cming home after a hard days work to a loving, misunderstood wife, who doesn’t always do the right thing.
Smith has a long way to go before he’s at the top of his game, and Brush and Pen definitely isn’t the best the wide world of mini-comix has to offer, but it’s a good read regardless. Smith’s site has a six page preview of the book, which you can find
here, as well as all kinds of information about the man and his work. He’s definitely passionate about making comix, and his use of different tools to illustrate the work shows a desire for variations within the narrative. It’s not a book without failures, but sometimes the success is in the trying, and Shannon Smith definitely tries, and puts more heart into his 23 pages than most books get into their first five issues. I, for one, would like to see this as a continuing series, a Honeymooners for the comix community if you will, and see Smith hone his craft to its finest.
Logan Polk
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