Funtime Comics must surely be New Zealand's most durable comics publishing co-operative. They seem to produce a comic ever few months (#20 is out already, and perhaps even #21). Their latest offerings have a clean look, are printed on good quality stock, are well-bound, and have a confident and established look to them despite their lack of any color.
Funtime even have their own, slick looking website, where you can find out more about what these guys do. They are clearly having a great time, enjoying the social aspect of creating together. Given their depth of publication they're clearly managing to keep their heads above water. The only remaining questions is... are their comics any good.
To be honest, that's a tough question to answer! I think... on reflection, I'm gonna say... yes. Almost certainly.
The problem is that Funtime Comics, or at least #19 (which is the first one I've managed to acquire) is so devastatingly eclectic. It contains everything from a 1-page comic narrated and drawn by a gifted three year old, to a seven-page clean-inked story named "Raising Kane" which is clearly part of a convoluted ongoing story involving a complex gang war set in the future. That latter story, no explanation of the characters involved, and without being familiar with the plot to date, was completely wasted on me... I had no idea what was going on, though it was obviously very... convoluted.
Each issue seems to have a gimmick. Issue #18 was an R18 issue. Number nineteen is a flip book. The only story on the flip side is called "Remains", and is a distantly narrated, dreamy story of utopia in space after the radiative death of life on earth. Remains is visually attractive, well laid-out, and intrigueing, though perhaps too abstracted to satisfy the reader to any great degree. Perhaps.
Look, in summary, Funtime Comics is (a) a lot of fun, there's a whacky mix of content that's surely going to have something to amuse everybody. Plus (b) it's a fantastic indicator of a vibrant comics sub-culture in NZ, and that by itself justifies me picking up a copy when I see it. Lastly, point (c) is that this book offers glimpses and flashes, hints of great potential. If they're up to #20 now, then by the time we see issue #40, there could be something really quite special going on.
Of course, the only way to ensure that #40 arrives is to shell out a few bucks for all the issues in between. At NZ$3, when a standard Spidey comics costs $10 air-freighted from the States, I think that picking up a copy of Funtime Comics whenever it comes out is money well spent.
Next: The Fruity Friends! No, seriously.