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17 October 2008

Candy or Medicine Volume Four

Candy or Medicine Volume Four
Edited by Josh Blair.
Featuring Simon Corry, Ray N. Josh Blair, Kevin Richardson, Molly Mullen, Olivia Arrow, Russ Walton and Abby Mullen.
All issues are quarter-sized (4.25" x 5.5") and printed on 30 percent recycled
post-consumer content paper. They are each available for $1 (in-person), $1.50
postage paid (U.S.), $2 (Canada) or $2.50 (elsewhere) via Paypal.


Josh Blair continues to publish a solid minicomic featuring an international cast of contributors. The size, scope and page count are very much in keeping with the traditional idea of a zine or minicomic but the quality and production values have an consistency you don't find in a lot of books. I continue to be impressed by the fact that Blair manages to keep putting out these great looking little books on a regular schedule. The logistics of getting that many contributors on the same schedule, getting all the pages in, getting the books set up and getting them printed are a pretty scary thing. On top of that Blair consistently plugs away at promoting this thing around the net at at comics shows. If he can keep it up I think it is inevitable that something worthwhile will happen. I'm not sure what. But, something. These group anthologies always have that interesting element of wonder for me where I'm asking myself which of these creators will achieve bigger things.
This issue might be the strongest so far. I really like the cover by Simon Cory. There is a two pager by Josh Blair and Ray N. that has both a manga and alt comic auto bio feel about it. It's based around a clumsy yet realistic conversation between a young couple and ends with a gotcha punchline from the Mad Magazine school of humor.
Olivia Arrow provides a couple of pages of single panel gags depicting "Ailments of the Future". The art is hastily drawn sketchbook style but the gags are pretty funny. Especially the "IM speech impairment".
The most substantive piece is "In Search of Delia" by Kevin Richardson. This six page story is longer and much more complex than most Candy or Medicine entries. Richardson demonstrates some pretty good cartooning chops. The drawing, the character design, the layouts and even the lettering are all very strong. The story is a slice of life conversation between two young friends about the girl that got away. The dialog feels real and of the moment. Each character has clear voice. The piece feels like a short episode of a longer or ongoing work.
(From In Search of Delia.)
I have a lot of respect for what Josh Blair is doing with this book, how well he does it and how good he is at getting it in people's hands. He has realized and accomplished a realistic minicomics anthology model. The right size, the right price, a nice variety of creators and well worth a dollar. Minicomics creators should visit the website and find out how to contribute. Josh has also taken on reviewing some minicomics on the Candy Or Medicine blog so creators will want to look into that as well.
Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

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