Monday, January 6, 2014

S.F. #3 - Ryan Cecil Smith & Do Not Disturb My Waking Dream - Laura Parka

I wish I read this last year because it would have made my top ten list. I've been a fan of Smith's work since I've came across it in 2012. I don't remember how I came across it but I'm glad I did because Smith's is so damn fun, beautiful and inventive. I feel like a kid when I read his S.F. has been working on a series called S.F. which tells the story of Hupa Dupa, a kid who inadvertently gets caught up in a galactic war and has to join the S.F.S.F.S.F. (The Space Fleet Scientific Foundation Special Forces) and go against the Pirate Nation. As you can tell from our heroes' name, that S.F.  is going to have a jokey not-take-itself-too-seriously quality to it and Smith works that angle really well.

That jokey quality plays a HUGE part in the S.F. series; it's actually essential to S.F.. S.F. playfully riffs on Leiji Matsumoto and Kazuo Umezu's work, mangas, Japanese culture (where he lives), and indie comics. Using tropes, motifs, themes seen in those mediums, Smith subverts and turns them into something new and refreshing.

S.F. #3 continues where he left off from S.F. #2. The great thing about this comic is that you don't need to have ad his previous works to understand it. Smith does a great job introduction the new reader into the world he's created and making them it feel familiar to them; that's a hard job to do but he pulls it off marvelously. You get sucked into the world and the characters and before you know it, you're done reading and left wanting more.

With S.F. #3, Smith has progressed exponentially as storyteller and artist. He has a tighter control over pacing and parsing out information. Smith also has a great ability to set up jokes and playful satire the things he loves without it coming out ironic. He loves what he's satirizing and knows some of the inherit problems within it, but there's a sincerity; I like that, I like a lot actually. I'm a huge fan of manga and indie comics and I love reading and capturing the little references in Smith's work.'s art leaves you drooling. Smith's linework has this thinly loose kinetic feel it. It bends and flows from Smith's hands and it's only gotten better in time. You can see the Leiji Matsumoto and Umezu Kazuo influence in his work. He's great at drawing epic sci-fi environments, ships, aliens and characters; none of them ever seeming to be recycled things of other sci-fi work but of Smith's own imagination.

Smith has created an amazing piece of sci-fi work. A work that is accessible to all-ages and that leaves every reader with a sense of childish glee and awe.
When I bought this mini, I knew nothing about it. I didn't know the creator or what the comic was about but something about that cover and it's title drew me in.  So I decided to buy it and give it try.

If you've a consistent reader of our blog, then you know that I do a lot of blind buys. If a comic attracts me, even if I know nothing about it, I'll buy it and check it out. Then you know that a lot of my blind buys, I enjoy and I'm glad that I bought them; this mini falls into. Not Disturb My Waking Dream is a collection of very short vignettes which follow the life of it's creator, Laura Park. They range from joking to depressing but neither really having a dominating force. Park balances the far ranging emotions really well. Park knows when to inject humor into a depressing situation or taking a seemingly boring situation and making it feel intense and full of life. This mini really caught me off guard and I ended up re-reading it right away after I got done.

I also fell in love with her art. Park has an amazing sketchy crosshatching line. It can capture the most creepy moments in ones life to the happiest. Park also has an uncanny ability to capture facial expression with the least minimal work. I was taken aback by the expressions of her and the people around her.

This is definitely a mini you shouldn't pass up. It's a quick read, only 20 pages, but it's a satisfying quick read.

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