- Courtesy Of Christopher Stott-rigsbee
- A panel from TRASHburgh Comix
For the past two years, the comedic web series "TRASHburgh" has entertained denizens of Plattsburgh, N.Y., with offbeat sketches that lampoon life in the Lake City — lovingly, for the most part. Produced by musician Matt Hall, the show is a community endeavor with contributions from a broad range of local artists, writers and actors. It has spawned spinoffs, including a podcast of the same name and, now, a new quarterly comic book anthology called TRASHburgh Comix. The debut summer edition, Issue No. 0, is available in print and online this Friday, May 31.
The comic series is the brainchild of Hall's fellow Plattsburgh musician Christopher Stott-Rigsbee, who performs with bands Adrian Aardvark and Our Holy Orgasmic Cosmic Rays. Like Hall's web series, it showcases local creators.
"The web series is based on community contributions, people who might have an idea for a sketch but might not have the means to do it themselves, so we kind of meet people halfway and help them shoot and edit," Hall says. "But the idea is to feature local people's ideas, which translates to the comic.
"Everything we do is such a mixed bag," Hall continues. "So, if somebody's got a weirdo idea, why not do it?"
Like so many artistic endeavors and weirdo ideas in the North Country, TRASHburgh Comix was born of winter malaise.
"I've always wanted to have some kind of anthology comic-art zine with my friends, but it was never the right time, either financially or because everyone was busy doing other life things," Stott-Rigsbee says. "But I just got out of winter depression, and I knew my creative juices were flowing. So I was hoping I could inspire my friends' creative juices to flow, too."
Most of the contributors to the summer issue are Hall and Stott-Rigsbee's friends, though both say they aim to cast a wider net throughout the North Country for future editions.
Submission guidelines are minimal: a comic of two to four pages and ... that's about it. Artists can write and draw on any subject that strikes their fancy — and, judging by the first issue, that's precisely what they did.
For example, "The Crows," by Dom and Lydia Monette, is a farcical romp about a murderous murder of crows that kill with, well, bird shit, drawn in a fairly sophisticated comic-book style. By contrast, the drawing in Hall's comic "Liberal Follies," about trying to find Nazis to punch, is comparatively rudimentary. Ditto Stott-Rigsbee's crudely drawn "Calm Mix," which, much like the bizarro music he makes with Our Holy Orgasmic Cosmic Rays, is pleasantly puerile.
"I thrive on collaborative effort," Stott-Rigsbee says. "But the question is always how to work on something collaboratively but also work on it individually, and this just made perfect sense."
Teaming up with Hall, with whom he has previously collaborated musically, was another no-brainer.
"I've had collaborators on projects in the past who don't follow through, and it's heartbreaking," Stott-Rigsbee says. "But when Matt says he's going to do something, he does it."
Trashburgh Comix is available online and at select stores, including Earth Prime Comics and Battery Street Jeans in Burlington and Fantastic Planet in Plattsburgh. Both the fall and winter editions of the series are currently in production.
"I've been a little discouraged with music, so I wasn't expecting much with this," Stott-Rigsbee says. "But I'm pleasantly shocked at the interest it's gotten from people who want to be part of it."
Beyond the release of the quarterly anthologies, Stott-Rigsbee says he could see the TRASHburgh Comix brand branching out, perhaps to include longer, single-story comics.
"The willful child in me could see doing holiday specials, like for Halloween," Stott-Rigsbee says. "But my hope is to encourage local creators to do their own comics. And if we can help, that's awesome."