Sep 29, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 217: Bedtime Tails, 2015

I have to say, thus far, I've really lucked out in the quality of comics I picked up from self-publishers at the con this weekend. I wonder if it speaks to a level of passion that one has to have in order to pursue the trials and tribulations of self-publishing and marketing.

I don't know if Tayson Martindale is a parent. I'll admit, I'd be surprised to find out he's not, because Bedtime Tails encapsulates so much about being a parent to a young child. It's not even so much the urge to protect (because that never goes away, regardless of your child's age), nor is it solely the kind of relationship that one can only have with one's child (I, like the main character in this comic, have often told my son what a horrible child he is, but only in the most caring and affectionate manner possible). No, the thing that really resonated, that really encapsulated the experience, was the fond gaze our protagonist levels at his comfy chair, only to be summoned to fight monsters by a shrill cry from upstairs. And the complete lack of hesitation once that call had gone out.

Mr. Martindale's art is extremely expressive, as you can tell from the cover. Both faces and bodies convey some subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, emotion, from kind looks between father and daughter to gritted teeth leaping into combat with a monster. Oh, didn't I mention? Yeah, there's some great action sequences in here too.

I am currently teaching a course on the superhuman in literature, and one of the things I've trying to impress upon my students is, aside from the ubiquitous superhero movies we see now with their gods, demi-gods, and heroes, we also use the superhuman as a way of othering individuals. The superhuman and the monstrous are often not far apart. Mr. Martindale's comic touches on this subject in a very insightful manner, and really encapsulates all of the kinds of qualities (story, art, metaphor, emotion, intellect) that we look for in a comic we might call literary.

If that seems like high praise, it is. I really loved this comic. It made me feel good, it made me think, and it made me glad to know that there are, as there always have been and always will be, people out there using this medium to explore our experiences as human beings.

I've one last comic I picked up at the con that I'll review tomorrow, and then we'll jump back into Alien Worlds, I think. I'm also planning a review of the con, but that might have to wait a week or so. September's not quite over, and as such neither is the crazy workload. But, inevitably, I'll see you tomorrow.

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