Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2003
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Panel Creator(s): Tim Fischer (ed)
Publishers: Panel (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $2 + postage $1(US)

A bunch of comic creators from Columbus, Ohio got together after the editor put a sign up in the local comic shop. They started having weekly get-togethers where they could swap ideas, get feed back and swap comic ideas. From these meetings they started to get some work done and decided to collect some into an anthology and set it free in the world.

The standard of the work here suggests that Columbus is over run with illustration talent just waiting to unleash their inks. As a sampler the collection suffers due to the format of lots of short shorts. Things never really get going in the majority of contributions, and the ones that offer an extract from longer stories magnify this.

It's the self-contained stories that give the reader value for money,

Steve Black's untitled visual haiku makes for an interesting experiment in mixing words and images.

Change by Andy Bennet takes a pretty routine encounter and turns it into something more. His scratchy use of thin line work and smudgy blacks is appealing to the eye.

Tony Going's Aunt Pie gives the collection a taste of an autobiographical tone, with a touching mix of memories and the ravages of time.

Dara Naraghi (w) and Tim McClurg (a) work together on Comeback, a so-so piece of character development with a twist and turn at the end.

Of the excerpts included in the book, Unusual U made the biggest impact on he. The setting for the story had me scratching my head: Mall and giant robots? SUV's and anti gravity cars? Tim Fischers artwork is very attractive, with a style that mixes Brian Bollard with Archie comics.

In all, this succeeds in showcasing a range of creators. It has just enough self-contained material to warrant casual readers picking it up, and it is a must for publishers looking for talent or other creators looking for collaborators.

In a Word: pick-n-mix.

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