If there's one thing that's for certain about Candy or Medicine volume two, it's really grown up since the last installment. The first issue was a quick mini comic that had a couple flash-in-the-pan gags and short yet hilarious moments. More than anything, it was fun.
While this second issue is still fun, it blossoms by showing a great diversity of thematic content to complement its humor. The standout piece is by Liza Miller. Her untitled stick figure comic strip about the many uses for a scarf is at once touching, funny, thoughtful, and comforting. It has universal appeal and speaks to the playful soul possessed inside all of us (that is, unless you really hate dogs).
Other pieces focus on the comic aesthetic as opposed to sequential storytelling. The back cover image by Yves Albrechts is a retro-comix throwback. It reminds me just how bizarre underground material was when I first discovered it hidden in comix anthologies stacked among the endless public library bookshelves. I would return to those anthologies every time I stepped inside the library for another taste of their subversive content. Albrechts takes me back like a time machine.
Other predominantly aesthetic material comes from Matt Feazell, who takes his loose-lined sketches and places them into panels whether there's a story to be told or not. While I appreciate his art regardless of the medium, I did feel as though his pieces would stand stronger without the boundaries of a comic strip. Letting his images standalone may actually empower them to tell more of a story as a singular piece as opposed to a series of pieces that lack narrative focus.
Of course, there are as classic gags as well. They're reminiscent of the first issue of this mini comic, and bring a lot of fun to the reading experience. Richard Cabeza and Josh Blair do this best in their short cartoons.
Overall, this mini comic has evolved into a tiny anthology of diverse cartooning in just one issue. It's a treat to read – I only wish there was more material! I truly look forward to editor Josh Blair’s next volume of Candy or Medicine.
8 / 10