Welcome, once again, to another installment of Bin Fodder. This week I’m spotlighting an indie comic that has been critically acclaimed for its original mini-series and has new issues hitting shelves starting in July 2011. White Picket Fences is written by Matt Anderson & Eric Hutchins with art by Micah Farritor and is published by Ape Entertainment. Much the same as with my article last week on Blue Monday, it would not surprise me if you had never heard of this title or even the publisher for that matter. But Ape Entertainment has had its share of reputable titles such as creator owned properties Athena Voltaire and Subculture and licensed properties like Shrek and the upcoming series Kung Fu Panda.
White Picket Fences is classic 1950s sci-fi meets Leave it to Beaver. It takes place in Greenview, a typical middle-America town and follows the escapades of three young boys: Charlie, Tommy, and Parker. In this world anything is possible and things we would think very odd are simply accepted. For instance, not only are there Martians and Venutians, but they had a war and Earth was involved.
The first mini-series centers around a piece of technology kept, in secret, by Earth after it was supposed to be destroyed on instructions from the Martians. As was a staple in many of the 50s sci-fi masterpieces, namely The Day the Earth Stood Still, humans cannot be trusted with high-technology because of our propensity for willful destruction. The main character, Charlie, stumbles upon the “controller” for this weapon while exploring an old barn on the outskirts of town and decides to take it.
In typical child-like fashion Charlie is fiddling with the controller and accidentally activates the weapon which fires a beam of energy into outer space. This action brings to town American government officials in the form the Army as well as a Martian official. Remembering that this is a story meant for all ages that is not trying to take itself too seriously, the writers don’t forget bring the funny. The exchange between the American General Whitman and the Martian official is pretty hilarious and results in Mars launching its forces at the Earth, spoiling for a fight.
I won’t ruin the ending but…the boys live and the world isn’t destroyed. Ok, maybe that does ruin it. My bad.
In the follow-up, double-sized one-shot (jeez, that’s a lot of hyphens) the boys are once again facing serious and dangerous ordeals. The first part, written by Anderson, engages the boys in a bit of exploration of the “creepy” house in town. As it turns out the house really is creepy where the mad scientist Dr. Vincent Niemann has created a werewolf, a mummy, and several other ghoulish creatures. You’ll have to pick up the book to find out what happens next!
The second part, written by Hutchins, brings a much larger scale to the exploits of this quiet Midwestern town. And by large I mean giant…as in giant beetles! In what can only be considered a “government experiment gone wrong” giant beetles are unleashed on an unsuspecting American public and against all odds they end up Greenview. This issue introduces a new friend to the group, Ken. As it turns out he is able to help save the town in a most…extraordinary manner.
As independent comics go, this one is top-notch. The art is amazing; Farritor knocks it out of the park. The writing is top-class; Anderson and Hutchins hit their beats strong and make you want to turn the page and see what happens next.
So, my friends, go Bin Diving and find this and other gems!
Until next time,
This is Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off!