The webcomics blog about webcomics

New Works, Veteran Creators

Honestly, some of my favorite times in comics involve seeing what creators I follow already come up with as their next project. No matter how much I like the current work, seeing what they come up with to distinguish the new from the old usually involves a real stretch of the creative muscles — your Chex vs Starslip, Sheldon vs Drive, Ugly Hill vs Not Invented Here, Goats vs Scenes From A Multiverse, Bobwhite vs Monster Pulse, Captain Stupendous vs Snowflakes, Little Dee vs Spacetrawler, Kilroy and Tina vs Wonderella.

To that list, we can now add You’ll Have That/Max vs Max creator Wes Molebash, who launches Insert Image today. It looks to be more story/plot oriented rather than based around what could broadly be called “relationships” (which formed the core of his earlier work), but it’s still recognizably Molebash — the character designs are unmistakably his¹, church (as both an institution and a setting) appears to be a prominent element, there’s (even with just one strip) a sense of fundamental decency about the characters. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one; I think that Molebash may have found a vehicle that matches his voice even better than his earlier comics.

Know where there’s a sense of fundamental decency that’s a full 180° from Molebash’s midwest? Brooklyn. Not that Meredith Gran’s cast of characters aren’t decent enough people, they’re just the living embodiments of “It’s complicated”.

Which, the more I think about it, is probably why she was the perfect choice to write/draw Marceline and the Scream Queens, because the residents of the Land of Ooo aren’t as simple as their very handy labels would make them seem at first blush. The Candy Kingdom isn’t all sweetness and light; Marceline’s not letting her Nightosphere origins decide what kind of person she should be, and Princess Bubblegum sometimes has to do some not-very-nice things. Gran knows how to write characters with obvious surfaces and deeper contradictions.

So it’s pretty cool that just in time for MatSQ#2 to hit the stands this week, there’s a very nice review of MatSQ#1 at The AV Club today:

Gran has a firm handle on both characters’ voices, and in signature Adventure Time fashion, crafts a story that is rooted in a realistic situation and then amplified by the fantastic setting. Marceline’s popularity intimidates Bubblegum, prompting the cruel words that cause Marceline to doubt her creativity.

The two are ultimately united through art, as the Scream Queens put on an epic show that completely changes Bubblegum’s point of view. Over four silent pages, Gran dramatically captures all the energy and theatricality of Marceline’s show, aided by Lisa Moore’s vibrant color palette of complimentary reds and purples.

Damn straight.

¹ I always thought Molebash’s designs sat about midway between Ryan Estrada and Mike Krahulik, and [img] carries on that aesthetic pretty strongly.

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