All this month I'll be reviewing different comic books by female creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here's a list of all the books featured so far this month.
We continue with Malice in Ovenland by Micheline Hess...
Lilly Brown is an irresistible lead character. An intelligent, dedicated and willful girl from Queens, Brown is just the type of character who excels in a "fish out of water" type tale, which Malice in Ovenland most certainly is.
The basic set-up for the story is that it is summer and while all of her friends are away at camp or doing some sort of other summer vacation, Lilly is stuck at home taking care of her mother's organic garden. To add insult to injury, Lilly's mother had to go away this weekend, leaving Lilly all alone with a list of chores. Including, most importantly, scrubbing the oven.
And thus we get our introduction to Ovenland...
First off, as a bit of an aside, in a post Joe the Barbarian world, I can't help but think that this will all be a gas leak causing Lilly to hallucinate. I'd prefer that to not be the case (I like the idea of an Ovenland actually existing - it's such a trippy idea) but after Joe the Barbarian, my brain is sort of trained to think that way now. But that's neither her nor there.
As you can see from the above sample pages, Hess is a splendid artist. Her character work, her storytelling, her coloring - it's all top rate stuff. I especially like her willingness to go for it with Lilly's response to the smell - I'm always a sucker for artists who are willing to go for exaggerated responses in the middle of otherwise "naturalistic" character depictions.
Ovenland is a trippy delight, as Hess clearly had a blast designing a world filled with greasy bad guys with french fry forks for weapons.
The story is balanced nicely between introducing us to Lilly and introducing us to the world of Ovenland, with a well-time cliffhanger sure to bring people back to see what happens next.
Hess will be selling Malice in Ovenland starting this weekend at this year's MoCCA Arts Festival! If you're going, try to stop by her table and check Malice in Ovenland out for yourself!