Simon Moreton, works in the tradition of John Porcellino, who originated the intimate, spare, and direct style of memoir comics. It is John P. who continues to fascinate and inspire readers with his ongoing “King-Cat Comics and Stories” mini-comics. It is undeniable that he founded these deceptively simple auto-bio comics, that be began self-publishing in 1989. Where does this place relative newcomer Moreton, working in such close proximity to Porcellino? Sincerity counts for a lot and Moreton comes across as quite sincere. Moreton is a Research Fellow at the University of the West of England (UWE), working on the REACT Hub. As he states, he is “interested in the everyday politics of creative practice, activism and representations of mental illness in sequential art.”
“Days: Comics 2011-2012,” published by Avery Hill Publishing, collects three issues of “SMOO,” Moreton’s ongoing mini-comic, as well as some work from anthologies. Authenticity is everything, especially in the DIY world of indie comics. It is an essential issue that goes a long way to understanding the process and motivations of a new generation engaging in the work of the previous generation. Moreton is an interesting artist. He is a scholarly observer. He is a second-generation indie cartoonist. In many ways, he is a young British version of John Porcellino. Looking over his work, he does a nice job of evoking teenage angst in the suburbs and the overall longing of youth.
There is a very casual spirit to Moreton’s work, an art for art’s sake vibe, that is healthy and will stir others to try their hand at a zine. The attention to craft is there but it is neither urgent nor dynamic. It is calm and contemplative. Clearly, a decision was made to not be too overly concerned about style. However, Moreton is young and is still experimenting. You see him try his hand at somewhat different approaches in his anthology work and it’s nice to see that. “Working” is especially bold as it depicts plowing through the workweek towards a triumphant weekend of artistic abandon.
The fact is that it took many years for John Porcellino to become John Porcellino. And so will be the case for Simon Moreton. His first collection of comics shows us an artist on the right track as he embarks upon an ambitious journey. “Days” is published by Avery Hill Publishing and is available right here.