Ever since first venturing north of the Watford Gap, where the land becomes wild and unruly, to attend those uncouth and barbarous affairs that the locals call t’ comic conventions, I have been an avid collector of Magic Beans Comics. Written by the likeable geordie japester Ben Clark, the comics, of which there are always several new ones, are as disarming as the man himself.
Magic Beans Comics seem to come in two sizes, the large A5 size ones are usually 24 hour comics, and confusingly the smaller A7 size, (the page count of which scarcely achieves double figures), are not, having presumably taken significantly less than 24 hours to make. It’s the smaller ones I’ll be focusing on here, because it seems to me that in them a quiet artistic perfection has been achieved. Indeed if the title of Shakespeare of the A7 12 page mini comic should exist (and why the hell shouldn’t it) then I would nominate Ben Clark.
Putting you’re finger on what makes these mini’s so great is a difficult task, enjoying them is not. Behind the rudimentary drawing and the wilfully inexpert production values, there’s a writer that can cause guffaws within seconds without ever having to be rude or malicious. Indeed the sheer childishness of these comics are a great part of their charm, and they wouldn’t work if they were better drawn and put together. My favourite is probably Godzilla Film Critic, in which various monsters from popular culture debate the merits of films in a way vaguely reminiscent of a bunch of slightly inebriated comics geeks in a post convention pub session.
Another good one is Toilet, where Clark demonstrates his contempt for conventional narrative form. 11 pages of build up, then in the last half page the baddie gets knocked on the head. The End.
You can see magic beans comics everywhere except london and especially here