[an error occurred while processing this directive] Celebrating Five Years of Pushing Comix Forward [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] Brush and Pen
Written, Drawn and Published by Shannon Smith; $2.99 USD

Brush and Pen is the story of Clicky, your average, hard-working pen, who wants nothing more than to go home to his loving, adoring brush of a wife and a good home-cooked meal. Unfortunately none of thatís going to happen. Itís a slice-of-life story told in an extremely unique fashion.

Thereís a lot going for this mini-comic, but there are a few things working against it as well. Smithís art, as well as his dialogue are very simple throughout, occasionally hinting at greater things. Itís put together sloppily, the pages arenít centered, the staples are off, and the paper used for the cover is speckled with something, and itís distracting as hell.

But as off-putting as all that can be it adds a lot of charm to an already moderately charming book. Thereís something comforting about knowing Smith had to hop on down to his local Kinkoís (or, even better, printed it up himself), staple the pages in order and seal it in an envelope, slap a stamp on it and send it out.

Also adding to all that is the fact that each character in the book was drawn by the same instrument they represent (Clicky was drawn with a ball point pen, Qbert a quill, Sharpster a Sharpie, etc.). It also lends a bit more personality to the characters as well.

The story itself feels like a throwback to the old romantic-comedy television shows, something Smith actively attempted and achieved, to moderate success. Itís lacking the timelessness of those shows, but very much gets the gist of it. Clicky is equal parts Dick Van Dyke and Desi Arnez, cming home after a hard days work to a loving, misunderstood wife, who doesnít always do the right thing.

Smith has a long way to go before heís at the top of his game, and Brush and Pen definitely isnít the best the wide world of mini-comix has to offer, but itís a good read regardless. Smithís site has a six page preview of the book, which you can find here, as well as all kinds of information about the man and his work. Heís definitely passionate about making comix, and his use of different tools to illustrate the work shows a desire for variations within the narrative. Itís not a book without failures, but sometimes the success is in the trying, and Shannon Smith definitely tries, and puts more heart into his 23 pages than most books get into their first five issues. I, for one, would like to see this as a continuing series, a Honeymooners for the comix community if you will, and see Smith hone his craft to its finest. Grade: 3/5

-- Logan Polk

Send review copies to:
Logan Polk
5812 Glenlake Ct.
Columbus Ga 31909

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