Last week I was going through my mailbox and found a pink greeting card envelope. Was someone sending me a Thanksgiving card? An early Christmas card? A sticker covered some of the return address, so all I could see was:
I started wracking my brain. Do I know any Rebeccas in Brookline? Beckys? Beccas? I don’t think so. And definitely not that would have a forked tongued demon on their return labels.
Get up to my apartment, open it up. Oh, Becky Cloonan! In Brooklyn! It was my copy of her new self-published one-shot The Mire.
The follow-up her 2011 book Wolves, The Mire tells the story of a squire’s delivery of a letter to a castle on the other side of a haunted swamp. Of course, nothing is ever that simple. I’d say more, but in a story this short, it would give away all the fun. But I will say that after reading the 24 pages, I was flipping right back to the beginning to read it again.
While I can’t say much about the writing, let’s remember that Cloonan is primarily an artist. Specifically, she’s one of comic’s greatest chameleons. In Batman, look at the moxie in Harper Row’s smirk. Or the adorable eyes on Abby Arcane in the recent Swamp Thing annual. Or any issue of Demo. She constantly adjusts her style to the fit the story. Here, it was her liberal use of blacks that stood out to me. Yes, there’s plenty of darkness in The Mire, but she still draws every brick of the castle and every worm violating an undead rider’s mouth. Sweet.
A note to any comics readers, from me: You can order your own copy of The Mire online or download a digital copy on your favorite stores including Graphicly and iBooks or for your Nook or Kindle.
And a note to any comics creators, from Cloonan herself on book’s final page: “Self-publish or perish.”