Up All Nite Comics #1

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2005
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Up All Nite Comics #1 Creator(s): Erik Weems
Publishers: Self Published
From: USA
Price: $2.00pp(US)

Deadline induced drawings is the subtitle on the cover, so I take it the short one and two page stores collected here are the result of some late night drawing. What was the deadline? Self imposed? Perhaps a convention was looming, a meeting of local cartoonists?

This collection is for the main observational in tone. The comics appear to develop out of sketchbooks and random thoughts that have stuck in Erik's mind. They are quite insightful in the way the characters' unintentionally let slip their personality in the sort pieces of dialogue Erik gives them. There's very little in the way of plot, but the character studies are clever bits of writing. The longest piece in this collection, Subway, is an essay regarding the social interactions and significance of the subway in human culture. It is made up of a series of documentary like sound-bites from a range of people who use this means of transport, along with some statistics on the numbers of people who use the subways of the world.

It is the deft way Erik has with the dialogue that makes these sketchbook samples more engaging than most. They read like overheard snips of conversations, or those strange exchanges you have at parties with slightly drunk people who want to make you understand what they are about in an earnest manner. The subject of the strip Underground Cartoonist is memorable as one of the more unlike-able characters here: shallow, and an opportunist.

His economy of style in the writing is matched by the skill with which Erik illustrates his comic. The style is organic, the characters are all curves; relaxed and moving. It reminded me of the work of Bill Messner-Loebs and Don Simpson. Erik makes some nice use of grey tones to give weight to the illustrations. The pages look quite regal and substantial.

For a sample of Erik's work this is a good place to start, and it certainly suggests that tracking down some of his other comics would be well worth the effort.

In a Word:

In a Word: Revealing.

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