cover image Penny Nichols

Penny Nichols

MK Reed, Greg Means, and Matt Wiegle. Top Shelf, $19.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-60309-448-1

In this smart, snarky ode to the joy of creation, sarcastic, struggling temp Penny finds her niche: working on the production of an ultra-low-budget horror film called Blood Wedding. Led by the vision of their film-geek director, the cast and crew all seem faintly bewildered by their circumstances: “One day I’m serving hash browns, the next day I’m in his backyard getting stabbed in the ass with a knife,” says the lead actress, who’s excited to play the killer instead of the victim for once. Penny rewrites the script, nearly gets the shoot on schedule, and tries to elevate the project from a shoestring hobby to a polished, or at least competent, film. Wiegle’s fantastic, funny black-and-white art is the perfect match for the offbeat story; the characters are ingeniously figured with asymmetrical shapes and rubbery poses, and writing team Mean and Reed (The Cute Girl Network) depict the film’s visual excesses with wicked glee. (“Remember, everybody,” Penny tells the cast, “shock, then disgust.”) Under the wonky humor, this comedy revels in the pleasures of finding fellow enthusiasts and facing the difficulty of making even the most modest artistic dreams come true. [em](June) [/em]