THOUGHT BUBBLE FORTNIGHT! There’s a distinct Stanley and His Monster vibe to Beck Kubrick’s debut print comic Coby, Alone. That’s a reference to a 1960s DC humour comic that will no doubt be a little too retro for many readers. But Kubrick’s supernatural buddy story has much of the same charm in its depiction of the unlikely friendship between a demonic entity and a 9-year-old youngster.
Residing alone in a dilapidated house, Coby is in every other way your typical kid with a standard child’s eye view of the world. Where that everyday sensibility differs, though, is that Coby lives alone and is forbidden to go outside on the instructions of Coby’s now disappeared mother, who has convinced him that the atmosphere is toxic and that “giant monsters and evil ghosts” are prowling the world outside of the walls of their home.
Lonely and seeking company, Coby uses an old spell book to conjure up a demon as a friend. But the entity isn’t entirely what they seem, especially as they have to inhabit one of Coby’s teddy bears in order to interact with the physical world. With their initial relationship proving fractious at best, can the duo put their differences asides, venture into the exterior world, and face the perils that may be waiting for them there?
The great strength of Kubrick’s 40-ish pager is in the focus on the relationship between the two leads and their initial bickering, bantering interplay as it slowly evolves into something more endearing. Coby, Alone is a sweet tale about loneliness, friendship and the importance of the support of the people around us. It’s also, on another level, a more straightforward fantasy tale introducing us to a world that is just begging for further exploration. Indeed with so many questions raised about Coby’s environment and only a few hints about the nature of this realm revealed by story’s end we can only hope that Kubrick intends to return to this cast in future.
Kubrick’s visuals have an appealing clarity with a stripped back cartooning style that ensures maximum empathy with their characters. There’s something quite delightful in the incongruous position of a demonic entity within a stuffed toy which lends added humour to a situation that at its core is quite dark. I was also quite taken by Kubrick’s intuitive placement of speech balloons to guide our eyes across the back and forth of the characters’ quick-fire conversation. Let’s hope they return to these characters in future and build on what has been set up here. In the meantime you can find them at Table 118B in the ComiXology Originals Hall at Thought Bubble.
Beck Kubrick • (W/A) Self-published
Review by Andy Oliver