FF1991: Big Thing

Big Thing #1-4 by Colin Upton.

This series is probably called Colin Upton’s Other Big Thing (Upton had self-published more that 60 mini-comics by this time, and one larger one, which was called Big Thing, so this name makes sense), and then Colin Upton’s Other Slightly Smaller Big Thing (when it went to a smaller size).


Anyway, we’re talking about slice-of-life stories with a particularly late-80s flavour. Even if we’re in the early 90s.

The stories are mostly slice-of-life, but mostly not really in the tradition of Harvey Pekar or R. Crumb. Instead they’re mostly anecdotes of interesting things that have happened to Upton, and you could imagine him telling you these over a cup of tea somewhere.

Not extremely soul-searching or harrowing, and you can see Upton chafing under (imagined?) pressure to be more “raw”, which may explain the quip up there about Graphic Story Monthly.

It’s not all autobio, though. There’s the occasional, er, whimsical? story like this one, with angels and devils:

But it’s mostly anecdotes, and some of them aren’t very exciting:

That’s it.

As for the art, it’s kinda lumpy, isn’t it? It’s clear and understandable, but I just… don’t really enjoy it much.

In perhaps the most exciting tale in these issues, Upton joins The Haters (GX Jupitter-Larsen noise/performance thing) for a performance, and there is So Much Drama. Mostly because Upton is so scared of getting arrested that it starts being annoying in the retelling.

But it’s a good story. And above we see Roberta Gregory, first drawn by Upton and then by Gregory. Always fun to see two autobio depicting the same scene. Compare and contrast.

Upton visits Fantagraphics.

The third issue is mostly about participating in demonstrations against the … er… first Bush gulf war? I’ve lost count at this point. It’s a very angry issue, and it should be.


And then!

Oh, it’s a parody.

Yeah, yeah… 1991 was a sucky year to try to get non-genre earnest work published.

“No apologies to the guy who draws Faust.” Heh heh.

Anyway, that was it. After four issues, Big Thing was cancelled.

I remember reading this at the time and enjoying it quite a bit (especially the political angry bits), but the series has problems. There’s nothing wrong with doing anecdotes, but cumulatively they don’t really seem to be going anywhere.

It’s a nice series, but it’s not all that memorable.

I vaguely remember Upton doing a series after this called Buddha on the Road. (I probably have it in a case here … somewhere…) Let’s see… *google* *bing* *yahoo* Oh, yeah, he (ironically enough) did a porn series called Incubus. I think I have that here, too… But other than that, there doesn’t seem to be that much more published after the mid 90s?

Oh, and he has a comic book store now.

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

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