Available at CECAF!
Craig Conlan has been producing comics since the ‘90s, including an involvement with the fondly remembered Slab-O-Concrete distro/micropublisher of years past. Conlan’s characters Hairy Mary – a protagonist with hirsute super-powers – and the undead pet Ghost Cat have a notable online presence on his Craig’s Comic Land site for those wanting to check out his work on screen. If you’re like me and you prefer your reading experience to be tactile in nature then you can also buy a number of Conlan’s strips in physical form. It’s those involving the aforementioned feline phantom that I’m taking a gander at in today’s ‘Small Pressganged’…
Hello Ghost Cat! and Ghost Cat’s Pet Hates! are presented as landscape format minicomics. The former is essentially an introduction to Ghost Cat’s world. It’s a series of double-spread gags that bring Conlan’s supernatural slapstick to life as our ethereal hero-of-sorts deals with the problems of eating mice when one is intangible, getting sucked up in hoovers and the like. It’s a simple but deftly paced collection of shorts, the structure of which continues into Ghost Cat’s Pet Hates. Here we also meet some of the bizarre supporting cast that surround GC including Voo Doo Dog, Swamp Pig and Senorita Sugar Skull.
It’s in Ghost Cat’s Pedigree Chums, though, where our involvement with this odd assembly of animal entities takes a longer-form narrative approach as the inter-relationships between the characters are further explained and fleshed out. Teenager Petra X lives in a pet cemetery where she first encounters the sprightly spirit Ghost Cat who is just one of many dead animal souls to inhabit its environs. Here we meet Lovely Vita – one-time witch’s familiar trapped in a spell book for centuries and also Ghost Cat’s love interest – and enjoy some frosty fun as Ghost Cat makes himself a new snowy chum in a wintry adventure (see below).
Pedigree Chums is a lively and animated set of tales brought to life by Conlan’s acute sense of comedy timing and cheeky wit. His cartooning is simply gorgeous in presentation – both delightful and ghoulish in equal measure – but it’s his exquisite use of colour that adds an entire extra atmospheric layer to the proceedings. Vibrant and stunning yet carefully chosen to accentuate mood, theme and setting.
The Ghost Cat comics are a genuinely all-ages read. Kids will love the grotesque naughtiness inherent in the strips – it’s cutesy but rather unsettling at the same time – while for adults the sinister but clever jesting will be a source of great appeal. If you’re at the Crouch End Comic Arts Festival on June 6th make sure to stop by Craig’s table. If not then there’s always his online store…
For more on Craig Conlan’s comics visit his site here. You can buy print copies from his online store here and follow him on Twitter here.
Craig will also be tabling at the Crouch End Comic Art Festival on June 6th.
For regular updates on all things small press follow Andy Oliver on Twitter here.