Thought Bubble Debuts: Sticky Ribs 2, House of Sweets, They’re Coming Down The Stairs

by Rachel Bellwoar

With so many comics making their debut at Thought Bubble this year, here’s a look at three that will be on sale.
Sticky Ribs 2 (Dead Light Comics)

Sticky Ribs 2 is an anthology comic, which means you can read these issues in any order. Like Sticky Ribs 1, there are two stories, and a personal essay on a horror movie. Dan White’s stories are slippery, though. They morph and evolve, and make it impossible to get a handle on where they’re going (how many comics can you say that about)? Take the young boy in “Last Summer.” White zooms out on a dead bird before showing the boy carrying a stick, and it makes you wonder whether he killed the bird.  By the next page, your view of the situation changes completely, and the yellow accents give an impression of rottenness throughout the story. “Christmas at Bunty’s” uses blue accents and the format of a single picture with text, for a story that quickly moves past implications and gets right to the open violence. It’s amazing what a single space can do, when you’re dealing with text, and there’s a lot of leeway given to readers to try and fill-in the missing pieces between anecdotes.
Sticky Ribs 2 debuts this week at Thought Bubble Festival. You can also purchase White’s comics here.
House of Sweets (Cabal Comics)

As you follow letterer, Colin Bell’s, dialogue boxes down the first page of House of Sweets, dread and  anticipation strike in equal measure. Written by Fraser Campbell, with art by Iain Laurie, this is a comic firmly entrenched in the woods of fairy tales. Hans (Hansel & Gretel) has come there with his sister, Retha, to try and get some writing done but he’s feeling the pressure of his deadline closing in and the trees aren’t helping. Literally everywhere in this story (in the cracks of lips, in the veins of eyes), these trees are wild and oppressive – the kind that will swallow you whole if left uncontrolled, and David B. Cooper’s colors reinforce the threat they pose, their clothes and complexions blending into the woodwork so that they’re always this close to disappearing. It’s impossible to shake the sense of desperation away, and Campbell and Laurie truly hit their stride at the end, with a resurgence of the cover image that’s hauntingly beautiful.
House of Sweets debuts this week at Thought Bubble Festival and a Kickstarter campaign is launching soon. You can also purchase their comics here.
They’re Coming Down the Stairs

They’re Coming Down the Stairs is the Bananas in Pajamas-inspired comic you never dreamed would exist. The one-shot’s appeal isn’t limited to fans of the TV show, however, and one of my favorite lines this issue has one of the siblings (there are three), comparing the banana brothers to “Patrick Starfish on crack.” At that moment you realize there are going to be readers of this comic with an entirely different frame of reference, when it comes to children’s television, and Shane Melisse allows for that. Set on Halloween night, Megan, Andy, and Luna are about to call it quits, on trick or treating, when a large house proves too tempting to resist. From the beginning it’s clear this is a bad idea (and they realize it right away, too, so you’re not waiting for them to become wise to situation). The question is when the tension will break and Melisse is very good at playing with your emotions, where you know better than to be reassured by the colors, but you let yourself fall for the lies. The interactions between the three siblings are very believable and you haven’t heard “Trick… or treat?” until it’s delivered with the weight of Hamlet’s “To be… or not to be?”
They’re Coming Down the Stairs debuts this week at Thought Bubble Festival. You can also purchase Melisse’s comics here.

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