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Roarin’ Rick’s RARE BIT FIENDS

Rick Veitch has done some amazing work over the years. GREYSHIRT, BRAT PACK, ARMY @ LOVE, THE ONE and his run on SWAMP THING are all worth picking up. But my favorite book of his was an odd little “dream comic” called RARE BIT FIENDS.

The premise was simple, Veitch would write his dreams down upon waking, then take the best ones and turn them into a short comic. Anywhere from a single panel to several pages. The stories ranged from absurdist vignettes to complex multi-character narratives.

Over time, people and places appear again and again. We get to know Rick and his family and friends. It helps that some of his friends are Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Dave Sim.

But even with those bits of continuity, the stories are still dreams, and they follow dream logic. Scenes shift unexpectedly and the most bizarre turn of events is taken in stride. “Oh yes, I have to put this catepillar in the microwave. Of course.” We’ve all been there.

Which is not to say that the comics are pure randomness. Veitch has picked the best dreams. The kind that seem more structured or more detailed than they should be. Along the way, he makes a good case for the importance of dreams and their value in waking lives as a tool for understanding one’s self.

If that all sounds a bit new-agey, don’t worry about it. The book mostly lets the material speak for itself, with only the occasional essay on dreaming. The stories, jokes and strange images are their own justification.

Also, the series has some of the best covers to ever grace a comic book. Check ’em out.