This self published comic is one of many comics debuting at the Small Press Expo, September 13-14, in North Bethesda, MD. It will be one of three titles Pietsch will be bringing, along with Keepsakes and The Snapdragon Queen. From the author:
RIFT is a story about sibling conflicts, fear, and hope, in a setting that’s just a little bit magical. Tess and Sam haven’t been getting along all summer, and now a camp-wide competition has tensions between them at an all-time high– with their friends caught right in the middle. Will an unexpected, accidental visitor from elsewhere be the final straw, or can all of them work together to get their strange companion safely home?
This all-ages book is a companion to Keepsakes, set in the same location and following some of the same characters, but can also be enjoyed on its own.
5.5 x 8.5″, 38 pages, B&W with color covers.
This is a charming little book about friendship, growing up, and siblings. Pietsch paints a perfect picture of a typical big-sister/little-sister relationship, with big sister Sam frequently frustrated and short-tempered with little sister Tess. For her part, Tess just wants to help her older sister, though it usually doesn’t go well. Like the shirt she attempts to tie-dye to help out her busy sibling, which comes out a muddled mess. The accident could cause Sam’s camp team points for the upcoming tie-dye theme day, so she obviously isn’t thrilled, and an embarrassed Tess runs away. And right into trouble, when she discovers a small dog (it appears to be an adorable corgi) has traveled through the Rift into their world. Most creatures that travel through, either on purpose or by accident, are eager to return to their world, but this little puppy is terrified to go back, and Tess decides to protect it. Unfortunately, most Rift creatures are viewed as dangerous beings, and Sam’s recent encounter and injury by one doesn’t help matters when she discovers her sister wants to hide the dog. Sam holds justifiable fear toward Rift creatures, not to mention anger over her sister for harboring one, but she’s mature enough to, eventually, sit down and really listen.
There’s not much here for an adult reader, but there’s plenty for the younger bracket. The dog is adorable, and each of the girls is drawn uniquely. Some are skinny, some are heavier set, short, tall, long hair, short hair, bushy browed, freckled. They’re real little girls, and they act like young girls. Not necessarily in a feminine way (although some of them appear to be wearing earrings), but in their mannerisms, friendships, and the way they interact with each other. And they’re all on equal ground while wearing camp attire – t-shirts and shorts. Just a group of girls having fun being kids. Nothing more or less. One of the parts I really like is how Sam continually touches the scratch marks on her arm; she’s wary about the Rift and anything that comes through it, manticore, pixie, or puppy. Great attention to detail by Pietsch. The art and panel flow are easy to follow, and seriously that dog.
If you like the look of Pietsch’s work, but aren’t into titles aimed at a younger demographic, keep an eye out for an anthology called Terrestrial. This will also debut at SPX, and features a very lovely tale called “The Witches’ Daughters” about two women brought together by an old curse.