New review today for It’s Tuesday by Amanda Vahamaki, another one from the rapidly diminishing mini kus pile. I swear that there has been no conscious decision to only review comics from other countries, but they do seem to be the ones sending me review copies these days. America, step up your game!
Sometimes a title really nails the tone of a book, even when it’s a seemingly
nonsense title like “It’s Tuesday.” And, well, that’s what happens here. This is the
story of a typical Tuesday in (according to the back of the comic) “a small town
somewhere in southern Finland.” Once you get past that eye-catching explosion of
color on the front cover, things start off slowly and more or less stay that way,
much like it would in a typical small town on a random day. There’s a cat watching
some people gather apples from the ground, the apples being put out by the side of
the road for anybody who wants them, and we move to a flea market. A gentleman has
just dropped off five garbage bags filled with clothes, and the shopkeeper quickly
realizes that it would make more sense for her to wait until the day when her helper
works to start going through the bags. If all this sounds dull as can be, you’re
probably looking for another book entirely, one with explosions and robots, or
exploding robots. There’s nothing wrong with that, in moderation, but this one is
for the more contemplative moods. Anyway, there’s no sense in me going through this
beat by beat, but other bits I thoroughly enjoyed include the appraisal of a
painting by a moody teenager (and the scene later when this teenager reads over some
of her old diary entries and cringes in embarrassment), a babysitter trying to find
a polite way out of buying some clothes that she doesn’t want, and the creep who
tends to wander through the woods naked and is still on the loose. Translations are
always tricky in books like this, but I really appreciated the fact that Amanda went
through and put the English in for certain signs and locations around town, as it
really helped flesh this tiny world out. I thoroughly enjoyed this, in other words,
and bonus points to whoever did the coloring for this book, as it was stellar
New review today for Alone in Kyoto by Ian McMurray.
Alone in Kyoto
What ever happened to all the small press travel comics? They pop up from time to
time now, but they seemed to be all over the place in the late ’90s. Or maybe that’s
just my confirmation bias speaking, as a lot of the artists I liked were doing them,
so obviously that meant that they were more common. Anyway! This is all about Ian’s
trip to Japan in 2003. He makes it very clear in the epilogue that this is a
non-fiction book, but only to the extent that his memory would allow. Meaning that
of course he was going to forget some of the finer points in the 10 years since his
trip, and he was going to misremember some locations, but the heart of it all and
its effect on him remained true. This basically covers three days of him wandering
around Kyoto and then returning to Canada at the end. He very much let events happen
to him on this trip, as he didn’t plan a hotel room or much of anything outside of a
few landmarks/gardens he knew he wanted to check out. He was a single guy at this
point, which left him plenty of time to quietly observe what was going on around
him, and maybe a little too much pure free time. As an aside, I will never
understand why somebody would travel all the way to Japan and then eat at KFC even
once, but as I’ve never been to Japan, maybe you reach a point when any reminder of
home is essential. This whole comic is contemplative by nature, and it’s a hefty 50+
pages. Highlights for me included his not being all that impressed with some of the
big temples that “everybody” recommended, his observations of a creepy guy who hit
on almost every woman he saw (with the custom in Japan apparently being to speed up
walking and keep your head down instead of slapping a guy, it sounds like a
creeper’s dream), and his being unable to just experience what was going on around
him when it mattered most instead of reaching for his phone. Overall it was
thoroughly absorbing, and yet another reminder that I don’t do nearly enough
traveling. If you need a virtual trip outside of your comfort zone or just wish you
could see something completely different without leaving your home, I can’t
recommend this highly enough.
New review for Logbook by Terhi Ekebom, another in the mini kus series. Say, that new Daredevil Netflix series was thoroughly entertaining, if you were curious. Granted, I was required by law to watch it because I run a website about comics, but it was still well worth my time.
So hey, death. That’s what this comic is about, basically, unless you have another
interpretation of it, in which case you may be right and I may be wrong. It
certainly wouldn’t be the first time! Anyway, this one starts off with a long
sequence involving large white pods bobbing to the surface in the ocean and the
process involved in collecting them and bringing them back to the lighthouse. They
are all quite large but appear harmless. Once these pods are brought into the house
we see why they were collected: there is a man on the bed, but he is covered in
literal darkness. Once these pods are split open a bright light shines through them,
enabling the family to see the condition of the man on the bed. Perhaps they thought
that these pods would be enough to assist this man, but they soon learn that the
darkness is not getting any smaller, with the rest of the comic involving them
dealing with this fact. It’s surprisingly haunting, probably because it’s impossible
to fight against it for long. Is that too grim for you? Eh, I could see that. Still,
the art is gorgeous, and this is one of those cases where full color really brings a
lot to the book. This is worth a look, assuming that you’ve made peace with your own
mortality. If not, you can also ignore the unspoken implications of the darkness, as
it’s not like Terhi smacks you over the face with the message. It’s there for you to
pick up on, or not.
New review today for Colonel MacTaggart #2 by Steve Steiner. Also I know the text blocks look weird for the reviews, but I don’t know why that is happening, so apparently that’s just the way they look from now on!
Colonel MacTaggart #2
Oh Colonel, don’t you know better than to go up against an angry monkey? Colonel
MacTaggart, in case you don’t know (and why would you, as I’m pretty sure this is a
new series), is an an explorer who wanders around with his manservant February.
February is a silent mountain of a man, and the Colonel is a proper English
gentleman, with all the obvious comedic potential that entails. I seem to have
picked up the second issue before the first one, but this one is so completely
self-contained that I doubt there will be any confusion. Unless I skipped the origin
story, and even then I’ll get to it soon enough. Anyway! The story for this one
could not be simpler. The Colonel is out wandering the jungle when a piece of fruit
hits him in the head. After a brief period of confusion as to the source of the
fruit, he finds out that it’s an angry monkey. And the chase is on! The rest of the
comic is all about the hijinx and the joys of purple fruits getting splattered. This
is where the full color really comes into play, because who doesn’t love purple
splatters? It’s a fun little story, unless you have something against monkeys and/or
English people. And even then there’s some mayhem involved that might make up for
it. Check it out! $3
New review today for Collector by Zane Zlemesa, another one from the mini kus pile o’ comics.
Oh abstract comics, you put me on the spot every time. Sometimes I feel compelled to
try to analyze every little bit of it, sometimes I throw my hands up in despair and
leave it entirely up to the reader, and either way I feel like I failed. Ah well.
Anybody who comes here for detailed, intellectual analysis went to the wrong corner
of the internet and somehow never left, so that’s kind of on them. This is the story
of, well, a collector. The cover gives as to what type of collector this person is,
and the back cover makes it even more explicit, but I like mystery, so I’ll leave it
up in the air. What this comic details is the process of collecting these subjects,
what they see and imagine, and eventually how it all ends up. It’s not as ominous as
it sounds! Unless it is and I lied to you right there. Ah, now you’re intrigued! If
so, good. After all, don’t you want to be able to say that you have a complete set
of the mini kus series of Latvian mini comics? As somebody who has mentioned them
out loud to regular humans, I can attest to the fact that it’s an automatic
conversation stopper. Anyway, it’s an intriguing comic, with a sometimes mesmerizing
and sometimes baffling story. Is that a recommendation? It’s up to you to parse that
New review today for Smallbug Comics #4 by Charles Brubaker. Say, I’m thinking about going far away for a comics convention this year, like maybe London or somewhere in the vicinity. Can anybody from around there recommend a con in particular? Also if anybody would like to buy one of my kidneys to finance the trip that would be grand.
Smallbug Comics #4
Well, it’s finally happened. I seem to have reached peak cat. For today anyway; chances are I’ll love all cats just as much as always tomorrow. But this comic tested the limits of my tolerance for the adorable nature of cats. As always, your opinions may (and probably will) vary! The bulk of this one is taken up with a mostly silent story involving a witch and her search for a particular cat. This is where words would have come in handy, as I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on here until going back and looking at it again. She can’t find this cat, but she does find a different cat, which was completely unacceptable to her. For reasons that I don’t understand, as in real life almost all cats are equally adorable. Anyway, this cat hitches a ride on her broom and returns to her home (?) with her, where this cat immediately makes a favorable impression on her roommate. It’s possible that I should remember the names for these characters from previous comics in this series, but I do not. Anyway, the cat is taken away for some reason (again, words would have been helpful here), the roommate is very sad, and the rest of the story involves her attempts to make it right. Not a bad story, but not particularly compelling either, and as I’ve already driven the “it could have used a few words here and there” point into the ground, I won’t mention it again. Other short stories in here include a funny piece about a guy who made a living putting cat videos on the internet and his comeuppance, another one of the reliably amusing “ask a cat” entries, and a back cover that I’ll leave a complete mystery just because. As the main story takes up so much of the comic I’d call the whole thing fairly so-so, but I did thoroughly enjoy the short pieces. $2
New review today for The Unmentionables by Jack Teagle which, you’d have to admit, is a pretty great name for a “superhero” team.
Do you like wrestling? If so, you’re going to love this comic and could save yourself some time if you just went ahead and bought it now. If not, hey, it’s a free country and all, but this comic is still a pile of fun and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least look into it a bit. Hey, let me help you with that! So this one starts off with two lady wrestlers in the ring. The good guy is Lizard Woman and the bad guy is Vulturella. Eh, let’s just go by “face” (good guy) and “heel” (bad guy), OK? There, now you learned something about wrestling terminology, which sometimes also works very well in real life! Anyway, as these two are fighting the face learns that the heel is fighting for real even though the face has been scripted to win. She’s breaking out of holds, punching much harder than she should be, and ignoring all of the usual cues to play along. After a lengthy battle the face wins the match and heads backstage. At this point there’s just the promoter and one other wrestler around, as it’s the end of the night, and the promoter actually thanks the face for putting on such a good show. While they’re chatting they learn of a crime going on: a crew of heel wrestlers has robbed a bank and, as they are basically superheroes, the cops are unable to put them down. The face, the other wrestler and the promoter all set out to confront them, and it occurs to me that I have told you enough about the plot. From there it’s one big fight scene, ending with a pretty great scene of the “team” picking a name. It’s a fun book from start to finish, has plenty of respect for wrestling while still not being stupid enough to think that it’s for real, and has a distinctive cast of characters that could certainly be explored more fully in future issues. Assuming that there will be future issues? There’s no “#1″ on this that I can see. Still, I live in hope, as this was a blast. $6
New review today for Little Hilma by Jyrki Heikkinen, another addition to the mini kus collection of minis. These international reviews are unstoppable!
Oh mini kus, I do love how I never know what to expect with your comics. Granted, they’re done by all sorts of people, so it would make more sense to praise the creators individually, but who has the time for such things? This one is all about a man who only wants to pick up some cigarettes. Along the way his children demand that he read to them, his wife wants chocolate and for him to take out the garbage, and an injured monkey is discovered under the sink with said garbage. Our hero gets a phone call, and that’s where Little Hilma comes into the picture. On a rooftop, dropped off by a biplane, of course. I shall say no more, but that helmet (and the triumph of our hero when he finds it) was fantastic, and that finale is damned near impossible to top. It’s an odd book, if you’re worried about such things, but people need more “odd” in their lives. It was also a good choice to leave the comic without panels, as it helped show off the sprawl and mess of the house (there are small children living there, after all). It’s a good comic and you should read it!
New review today for Slime by Joseph Luster. Posted after finally getting this keyboard to work again, because it’s always something, am I right? Happy weekend everybody!
So, how would you handle it if you woke up a slime monster? Because if that does happen to you and you’re having a crisis, I’d recommend reading this book to get some good ideas. Assuming that you still have hands to grip the book, but it seems like this guy manages OK. Anyway, our hero wakes up with no memory of the night before and sees that he’s a slime monster. He takes all this in stride and decides to go out and face the day regardless. As his day progresses he notices that he’s seeing things a bit differently, noticing things that he never did before, and his body is going through some alarming (and occasionally disgusting) changes. The book is basically this slime guy coming to terms with things, even though he comes to terms with it on the first page. Huh, that doesn’t make any sense. Well, then let’s say that he’s really experiencing other people coming to terms with his new look and using his new “abilities” to impress the ladies. Although, seeing as how we don’t see the reaction from said lady, I do wonder how that trick with the beer went over. This comic is a fun little read with more than a little bit that may gross you out, but hey, toughen up! If you ever do see somebody pushing bits of glass into their slime face in real life, this comic will have you ready for it. $4
New review today for Doing the Dishes With Batman by Scott Marshall. And Scott is living in Canada, which more of less keeps up the international theme from last week.
Doing the Dishes With Batman
OK, a quick test to see how well we would get along in real life. If you saw a comic on the shelf (or, more likely, the internet) named “Doing the Dishes With Batman,” would you immediately stop what you were doing to read it, or would you move along to other comics with barely a glance? If you picked the first option, we could possibly be friends! If you picked the second option, you are dead to me. So hey, about this comic. It turns out that a good chunk of it is actual instructions on how to do the dishes if you don’t have a dishwasher. It’s practical advice! Damned near unheard of in a comic, but if you have questions about the process, there’s a solid chance that this could help you out. Of course, that leaves out the Batman aspect of the comic, and that’s where it gets interesting. Batman, you see, has never really done the dishes, what with Alfred around all the time. And Batman doing the dishes opens up a whole new world to his mind, and it’s a new world with a pretty great payoff on the final page. So to sum up: this is an informative comic about washing dishes, an often funny comic with Batman in it, and it has a solid ending. I’d say it’s worth a look! Unless you own a dishwasher and hate Batman, in which case it might not do much for you, but who both owns a dishwasher AND hates Batman? It seems unlikely.