I’ve long-credited Grant Morrison’s Invisibles with changing not only my outlook on comics, but my life. There were a few more steps along the way, from Morrison’s work to my current comics tastes and interests, and a big one was actually a series called Reality Check by Rikki Simons (you may know him as the voice of GIR from INVADER ZIM) and Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons. It was really noticing, and falling in love with, RC that made me start to look more closely at ‘indy’ comics publishing, and Rikki and Tavi have made themselves ‘available’ online to their readers and fans for more-or-less ever, and I think reading the series really led me to break out of the front half of Previews and start exploring just what else might be out there.
Thanks to a complete revamp of their website (Called ‘Studio Tavicat’) you can now read the complete Reality Check in its entirety, alongside other comics work and previews of their OEL series Shutterbox!
Originally self-published, Reality Check came to my attention when it was published in colour by Sirius in the mid-nineties. I had already started making myself familiar with anime, manga, and Japanese culture, and this quirky little mini-series coming out of the “American Manga Movement” just tickled me and was drenched in the things I liked about the media without seeming derivative. I took to it in both single-issue and trade paperback-format, and I remember recommending it a lot to customers ’round-about that time as well.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, Reality Check is a 12-issue (2 volume) story set in 2012, about a nerdy boy and his pet housecat that falls asleep under a virtual reality helmet and ends up becoming a walking, talking cat-girl on the internet. It’s cute and funny, totally appropriate for all ages, and has that kind of zany stream-of-consciousness logic and storytelling that makes the work of creators like Adam Warren so appealing. Unfortunately, much like Adam Warren (well before Empowered hit anyhow) it didn’t sell well at all, finding a passionate–though not terribly large–audience. The series was recently republished in two volumes by Tokyopop but has already gone out of print.
If you’re looking to blow an afternoon reading some fun anime-drenched comics from before the recent anime and manga invasion, I’d definitely recommend checking out their new site, http://www.tavicat.com/.
Img: Excerpt from a Reality Check short, but I think that it’s been like 13 or 14 years now since RC was first published, rather than 10.