This summer I had the pleasure of meeting Allison Conway at Electric City Comic Con and we had a short talk about her art and process and I just knew I needed to own some of her titles. If you are a frequenter of Vice you may have seen her comics about Millie the pillbug but if you are new to her work, here are some minicomics to check out:
Upon visiting Allison’s table at the show, her art style immediately grabbed me, and in this instance the first title I picked up happened to be my favorite.
Bare Bones showcases the day to day goings-ons in a society of organ filled skeletons. We see them falling in love and falling apart, going to work and being downright spooky and all of it is in Allison’s very detailed style. The color palette shows us what’s going on within the skeletal figures with pinks and purples being used for organ and various other tissue that really make these “characters” pop (sometimes literally).
As far as introductions go, this book hit the ground running and was full of gags, adorable interactions, and some seriously cartoony gore. You can read Bare Bones here!
Invasive species have never been as cute as they are in Allison’s title, Critters, a story about small black skin/furred, white eyed quadrupeds that eat, lounge, and possibly conquer.
These little black creatures get mighty hungry, and when they decide to eat they start changing into the body shape of whatever it is they devoured, whether it be a worm, frog, deer, or so on. For the reader these creatures are curious in and of themselves, but during this minicomic we see their lives, what they become, and what it starts to do to their environment.
The creatures are adorable and uncomfortable and are just waiting to be yours (or possibly to be you) here.
As I mentioned earlier, A Pillbug’s Life is Allison’s most known work, and with good reason! Originally starting on Vice, Millie the Pillbug’s life consists of hanging out with friends, having fun, and some gross insect stuff as well.
The two minis I bought from this series feature tales of everyone’s favorite pillbug as she discusses motherhood with a spider, sees a messy performance featuring a whole beehive, and just tries to survive in a world that is far bigger than she.
These stories definitely have a bit of a dark comedy air to them. As a child I wouldn’t notice with all of the goofy bug characters and bright pastel colors, but as an adult I found it made the story even more enjoyable. Check out A Pillbug’s Life on Vice!
One of the things that I love about Electric City Comic Con is the opportunity it provides for people to find excellent comics they may not regularly have exposure to, and with creators like Allison Conway in attendance (as well as some others I will discuss down the line) I would mark that as a mission accomplished.
From style to storytelling, Allison has provided a fun reading experience that could fit any age group (though I think adults would have more fun with it). Keep an eye out for more of her Vice posts, and make sure to preorder her new Top Shelf Productions graphic novel, The Lab.