Vision Quest (#12) – Various

4 out of 5

I tend to like these local indie comic newspapers.  They, uh, generally aren’t very good – they’re stocked with a lot of amateur talent that’s akin to college bands that you like when you’re around them but then they grow up and get jobs and hey remember we had that cassette we put out – but I definitely appreciate the idea, and the DIY momentum of them; and, for sure, some of the guys and gals we do spot later on came from these things.

Vision Quest – from the ‘West Coast’ as it proclaims (Portland, methinks) – is one of those newspapers.  But, surprise!  It’s pretty good, with a couple of up-front notables whose work had me googling for other stuff they may have done.  I don’t have any other issues to compare to, certainly, so maybe it’s just a lark, but let’s attribute this to editorial oversight: with a good mixture of gross out strips, surreal stuff, drug tributes, legit narratives, and funnybook material, it steps out of the normally youthy nature of these rags by not just being boobs and weed masquerading as ‘smart’ humor.  And while it might go hand in hand with those genres to a certain extent, the way the art styles are varied page by page – looser, sketchy, stiff, realistic, etc. – keeps page turning interesting: you have a reason to check out what’s on the next page.

Yes, since these are all one page strips, you still run in to some folks who don’t quite know how to chop their story up to work for that format; almost inevitably in an anthology, stuff will fall flat.  So it goes.

The work on display here isn’t necessarily revelatory, but the paper is much more than a lark.  If it was a product of my hometown, or something that popped up at all the cool vendors I never go outside to shop from, I’d be a proud reader.

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