09 February 2006

Brush and Pen reviewed by Comicreaders

First off, my apologizes. As I was reading Brush and Pen, my first thoughts were Shannon Smith was a woman writing a comic book about men. But I was wrong; Shannon Smith is very much a guy. I, for one, should not assume anything about a name, as I’ve had to live with constant reminders that Dana is also a girl’s name. But having the knowledge I now hold, this mini comic makes more sense to me. Even though the constant references to picking up women, going out on the town to meet women, and “keeping” a women don’t really make interesting reading material for myself, it’s all in better perspective.
The world of Brush and Pen revolves around a clever gimmick. All the characters in the book are a type of writing utensil, and each starring cast is drawn with the instrument they are. Clicky, the ball point pen, lives his last few moments at work before the weekend hits, bumping into co-worker and friend alike until he reaches his destination at home. The first chapter of this mini comic is rather dry in content, as Clicky drones on with his old buddy, Big Qbert. They ramble on about life and circumstance, with Big Q going on about how lucky Clicky is to have married a brush.
Brush and Pen stands out in the second chapter, “Lefty Lucy”. While the couple of Brush and Pen squabble over petty problems in their relationship, many noteworthy things were achieved. The art really improved with the appearance of Brush, as Smith shows his ability as an artist. The story also took a leap as the two writing utensils consummate their love for one another. I couldn’t tell if the story was suppose to be serious at this point, but I was quite amused at the sexual foreplay – it was quite funny, but at the same time, I could see Smith working on something bigger.
I know this mini comic is a labour of love for Smith, but I do see many problems that could easily be fixed to give him and the readers’ greater enjoyment. The lettering really needs to be cleaned up for one; many of the letters are of different thickness and shape, and small “l”s and capitol “L”s are interchanged throughout. Also, if every panel of this issue was as beautifully drawn as the cover, Brush and Pen would be a visual delight. My advice to Shannon Smith would be: spend more time on the interior pages and panels, and don’t rush to meet some personal deadline. (Dana Tillusz)
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