If there’s a gimmick in comics that I like its music in comics. Some of my favorite comics are music centric and so if I stumble upon a new property that relates to music I’m usually down to try it. Suburban Vermin is actually a band that decided to make a comic of the same name. I will be straight up and say that I didn’t enjoy one page of this comic. The entire thing is an anthology style comic with each few pages being a new song. The only narration comes to us in the form of song lyrics. Each new song has a different artist and each artist brings their own interruption of the lyrics to the page.
Which is part of the problem.
Clearly there’s a bit of a theme to the songs due to some shit going on in life when the lyrics were written so some of the stories feel like repeats. Without the music present I can’t really say if it feels the same way on the album when you hear the actual music, but it felt that way while reading.
The other problem is that each story is short. Really short. So short that sometimes nothing seems to happen. Nothing of interest at least. And because the art switches so often it’s incredibly difficult to care about anything going on on the page.
Speaking more of the art changes it would have been perhaps better to find artists that at least have the same realm of style. If you’re going to go super detailed, cluttering the page with objects and people then stick with that. But to then switch to a very cleanly computer drawn style that heavily relies on grey tones… well the shift is too jarring and breaks any atmosphere the anthology may have held. To use a music example, it’s like having a classic country folk song leading followed by a very technical hardcore song. You would wonder what the fuck you were listening to and that’s kind of how I ended up feeling about what I was reading.
Clearly there wasn’t a strong understanding of anthologies when creating this comic. There’s two types of anthologies, ones that have no uniting theme and just tell a lot of stories (though to be successful each creator must know their own pacing and be on point) or one that has a uniting theme. This one attempts theme, but the art plays the biggest role in that. You can break it up by having different styles, but its choosing when that is and what comes before and after that’s so important.
I’m going to skip talking about the page count in detail and just say that the creators weren’t given enough pages to be successful. I understand that they probably couldn’t afford to do more so I’m not going to fault it, but maybe the same page count with half the stories would have been more successful.
Clearly there was a lot of heart and creativity put into this comic and I wish I could reward it, but it became a chore to read and so as much fun as the creators had it didn’t translate over to the rest of us.
Suburban Vermin – Headless Over Heels Creators: Various Website