It’s been a year since the last 10k Platform Comics competition, and a new batch of skilled comics creators have submitted their works for this year’s challenge. As with last year, I’ve been tasked with shining a spotlight on the winner and runner up, and both are excellent short-form comics. The 2021 edition contains 10 stories that you can read for free and download right now.
In this year’s challenge, comics creators who submitted needed to create their comic within 10,000 minutes, each team was assigned a unique theme, and all teams had to use the phrase, “Why is that dog acting funny?”
The winning story is titled “Woof & Win: Secret Underground Club” and it opens the anthology. Written and drawn by Hannah England, this story has a clever hook, a fun twist, and a lot of charm. Drawn in a cartoony style not dissimilar to something you’d see Random House Graphic publish, England opens their story with a young person about to enter a secret underground dog competition. The problem is a special amulet that’s supposed to keep them from turning into a dog themselves doesn’t work. Even though they can talk, it’ll be very tricky to enter their dog Trixie into a competition if they are a dog themselves!
What makes this short truly work is the variety of settings, situational setups, and approaches to telling the story. There’s a fun montage of the main character going through the competition’s rounds, for instance, and a cool establishing shot of the competition floor. There’s even a joke set up earlier in the story that pays off midway through, and the tale is only seven pages long. It’s an efficient tale and it has plenty going on.
The use of color is quite fun too — purples, blues, and tans are predominantly used, giving the work a unique feel. It suits England’s style which is clean and easy on the eyes.
The runner-up is titled “Coffee Date: Accountant by Day, Thief by Night” and is by Aaron Miller. If the previous story would fit within Random House Graphic’s style, this tale is more in line with Fantagraphics. It’s a black and white story (with some blue hues) that’s got a more realistic style when it comes to environments. The characters are more cartoonish in style with slightly embellished faces. This helps sell the facial expressions, which are key as the story is set in a simple museum setting.
The main character of this tale seems to have taken a liking to a patron, but soon we discover this museum-goer is anything but normal. The story takes a wild turn, ends up being way over the top, and is worth a chuckle. Even though it ends in a satisfactory way, there’s a deeper story in play here that makes you wish there was another chapter or even a series to explain things. This story also involves a dog though they only add more surprise and absurdity to the tale.
There is a lot to like in the Platform Comics 2021 10K Challenge anthology. Anthologies seem to be more popular than ever these days, but here you’ll find art styles that are truly unique and can’t be found anywhere else. Leading the pack are two funny, clever, and cute tales well worth a look.
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