Tonight, as part of First Thursday Art Walk, the Brainfreeze art gallery — where the Lusty Lady used to be, across from the Seattle Art Museum on 1st Avenue, downtown — is hosting a launch party for a brand-new free publication that’s trying to fill the gap left by the sadly defunct Intruder anthology comic. The debut issue of the new free quarterly comic Thick as Thieves looks almost exactly like an issue of Intruder, save for the fact that it’s only 8 pages rather than 16. The similarities with Intruder makes sense, as it was published at the same place (Pacific Publishing) and cofounder Simon Lazarus Vasta has told me he considers Intruder to be an influence.
The comics in Thick as Thieves are a little wordier than many of the Intruder comics, which tended more toward the art side of the comics equation. The best three comics in the issue are right in front. Lara Kaminoff’s reimagining of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” as a poem written by a day old doughnut (“I grow stale, I grow stale/My dry dough begins to pale”) is clever and adorable and pretty to look at with its expressive doughnut main character and its vibrant lettering. Whitney Stephens’ “Don’t Mutilate My Mink” is a strip about revenge: when a woman on the street insults the protagonists’ mink stole, she imagines calling the woman out on her fashion hypocrisies. (“Nice slave labor sneakers.”) And Marie Haushauer tells a short, cruel, funny story about an older woman trying to seduce a young man, with disastrous results.
Over time, of course, Thick as Thieves will naturally continue to separate itself from Intruder’s legacy, but for now it feels like a loving tribute to a publication that served as a community center. I wouldn’t expect the entire Intruder community to cluster around Thick as Thieves, of course, and that’s part of the appeal. There’s no shame in building on the backs of what others have built, as long as you’re honest about your influences and you're willing to let it become its own thing.