Update for 10/4/22

New review today for the last of the current mini kus pile: La fleur au fusil by Pia-Melissa Laroche. You know, assuming I haven’t missed reviewing any of the mini kus books, I’m getting very close to reviewing 100 issues of the series. This is #110, and I started with #18, way back in the day. If that happens, obviously some sort of celebration is called for, but what? Hm…

Laroche, Pia-Melissa – La fleur au fusil

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La fleur as fusil

Long time readers of these mini kus reviews know that there are usually two reasons why I blow it in the reviews: it’s incomprehensible to me (most likely because of my stupid brain and not the creator of the comic) or it’s so short that there’s just not much to say. I mean, that’s assuming that I succeed in the other reviews, if such a thing could ever be said about a review. Anyway! This time around it’s the second of the two options. This is a silent comic that’s full of double page spreads, so when you’re already dealing with a mini comic that just doesn’t leave a lot of real estate to cover. Why don’t I start off by telling you that the French phrase that makes up the title means (according to the back of the comic) “you are confident and carefree.” However, the back of the comic may be trying to fool the reader, as Google translates it literally as “flower with gun.” Maybe both are correct, based on the comic itself. It’s the story of a young man who takes his bow and arrow and goes out hunting. Is killing the mark of success, or is it bringing back something that his (I’m assuming) lady love prefers? And what’s so great about arrows anyway? Huh, it turns out that there was a fair amount to talk about after all, and all without spoiling the story. 21 years in, I just might be starting to get the hang of this reviewing thing… $7.95

Update for 9/30/22

New review today for Hell Hand and Other Stories (also known as Meeting Comics #23) by Andrew Neal. To be honest, it still feels odd to only review these sporadically instead of weekly.

Neal, Andrew – Hell Hand and Other Stories

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Hell Hand and Other Stories

Cat lovers, please know that my long haired gray cat just wrote a review of this comic, but I deleted it due to spacing issues and the lack of a single vowel. To any cat readers who were looking forwards to that, I do apologize. To the humans, hey look, it’s another issue of Meeting Comics! Number 23, to be exact, even though the series has outgrown putting that name on the cover. When’s the last time they were even in an office meeting, anyway? The ongoing problems of various characters are very much still ongoing, but this issue makes it seem like a few of them are on their way to getting resolved. Since it’s listed as five short stories (even though it still reads like an issue of Meeting Comics in a lot of ways), why don’t I review it by stories? First up is Hell Hand, in which Eloise tries to return the spell book they used in a previous issue. It comes as quite a shock to the proprietor that the spells actually work, so naturally he has to try one and I think you can see where this is going. Or can you? I don’t know how your mind works. Next up is Tina & Ellie’s Next Case, where they’re recruited by their old office to get their estranged husbands back into the office. A startling fact may make their decision for them! Next is Val’s First Kiss, and if you think I’m going to spill a single thing about that legendary happening you are you of your mind. Substandard Parents has the honor of being the penultimate story, which is a word I can rarely find a good reason to work into casual conversations. Kevin meets up with his mother to pick up his kid, but she has a lot of opinions about the direction she thinks his life is heading and boy howdy is he going to hear about them. Did I mention that she surprised him by also inviting Eloise? Because she very much did that. Finally there’s The Golden Clipper, in which we learn that Thomas wanted to be a barber back in the day, the reason why he quit, what his parents think of his new girlfriend and whether or not they have any suspicions of his alter ego. That’s a lot of comic! Anybody who’s not reading this series by now is just hurting themselves, so if that happens to be you: stop the hurting! $5

Update for 9/28/22

New review today for The Sandstorm Party Planners by Steve Steiner, who’s going to be at Cartoon Crossroads in Columbus, Ohio from October 6th through 9th, along with the dude I’m reviewing tomorrow. Ooh, a cliffhanger!

Steiner, Steve – The Sandstorm Party Planners

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The Sandstorm Party Planners

It’s another one of Steve’s newspaper style comics, and this time there’s no unfolding required, as you just flip the very large pages as you go. Yep, this is a full service review website. There’s also only 50 copies of this printing, which seems low to me, but maybe that reflects my optimistic nature more than the reality of the business. This is told in the style of a documentary comic, and it’s all about what you see in the title, which are five creatures, always traveling in a group, who provide relief and entertainment to people who get caught in sandstorms in the American southwest. Each of the creatures has a function: The Shield provides shelter from the elements, The Filter gets the harmful particles out of the air, The Table does whatever a table can, The Host greets people and keeps the party moving (despite not saying any words in any known language), and The Entertainer puts on a show. Through the comic we see the legends of the creatures over the years, the help they’ve given travelers, and finally an opposing view that maybe their intentions were not benevolent after all. It’s an engaging and intriguing read throughout, to the point that I certainly wouldn’t mind reading more about these little guys, even if it was most likely a one-off idea to Steve. If this sounds intriguing to you too I’d get on ordering a copy, as there clearly aren’t many out in the world. If not, few comic artists are as prolific as Steve, so why don’t you just try one of the many other comics he has available at his website? $5

Update for 9/26/22

New review today for Snake Meat #8 by Max Clotfelter. I mentioned at some point that August was the 21st anniversary of the website, right? If not, consider yourself notified. Maybe I’ll have a celebration of some kind next year…

Clotfelter, Max – Snake Meat #8

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Snake Meat #8

Just so you know: the link on the title doesn’t go to where you can buy this specific issue. But it does go to Max’s comics that Spit and a Half has available (23 as of this review, either his comics or comics where he’s a contributor), so if this issue still isn’t listed by the time you see this, maybe just buy another one of his comics. What about this one, you ask? Snake Meat is where he mostly does silent comics with a few “talkies” thrown in. It feels ridiculous to call the silent comics “sketches,” as there’s an insane level of detail to all of them (as the sample below proves), but if you’re in the market for a linear storyline, Snake Meat generally isn’t the place to go. If, however, you’re looking to be amazed/baffled/revolted/terrified, this is the series for you! As such, they’re tough on a simple country reviewer like me, so I’ll just say that one of his joke strips was a fairly straightforward gag, while the other was like if the writers and cast of Hee-Haw had been on whatever drugs they could find for several days and then decided to shoot an episode. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one was which. Look, this dude has been around since the very earliest days of this website, so you know the drill by now. If you like his stuff, give it a shot. And if you’ve been reading reviews about him here for several years and still haven’t read his stuff? You should still give it a shot. I suppose only haters get a pass here… $3

Update for 9/22/22

New review today for Dingus and Dum-Dum by Robb Mirsky, and since I seem to be defaulting to reviewing the same people lately, tomorrow is “hey, I haven’t reviewed their comics in a while/ever” week! Although I may have to work on that title…

Mirsky, Robb – Dingus and Dum-Dum

Instagram

Dingus and Dum-Dum

Note: his main website (which you can reach through his Instagram page) is still listed as high risk for viruses for me, which may be a problem on his end or a problem on my end. You can still contact him through Instagram, so just do that if you want his comics. Oh, also I’m reviewing his comic. This is the third of three minis he sent me recently, but you’ll have to wait for review of the other one. Why? Because I grabbed this one randomly to review, obviously. Is this mini the most straightforward of Robb’s comics that I’ve seen so far? Good golly, it absolutely is. You could plop most of these four panel strips into any Sunday comics from a newspaper (I’m just assuming that’s still a thing) and they wouldn’t seem that out of place. That being said, they’re still funny, and maybe it’s just me but the humor seems to have an edge to it, like Dingus could legit snap at any moment. But yes, this is a comic you could leave lying around on a living room table without freaking out if a child saw it. The gist of this comic is that Dingus has a terrible gambling problem, with a few solid punchlines along the way to illustrate that fact. This also has the same physical layout as his previous mini that I reviewed, meaning that if you fold it open you’re treated to a full page (and full color) Sunday style comic that serves as a delightful epilogue to the comic itself. Give it a look, if only so you can determine if you’re more like a Dingus or more like a Dum-Dum.

Update for 9/20/22

Sorry about yet another gap week in reviews, between work and this “let’s organize my mini comics after 20+ years” project, I’m running short on free time. New review today for Jumping Things by Klara Zahradkova which, if you’re keeping track, is mini kus #109. Speaking of that organizing project, it looks like I have every one of those suckers past #18, with a few duplicate copies along the way here and there. Maybe if you go to Cartoon Crossroads in Columbus Ohio from October 6th through 9th I’ll end up passing out whatever duplicate mini comics I find? Who knows.

Zahradkova, Klara – Jumping Things

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Jumping Things

Be honest, who among us hasn’t wanted to wander off into another world every now and then? That’s the story with this comic, more or less. Our hero (we learn later in a brief origin story) had what appears to be an MRI on her leg, heard the sound of a train and then popped up in a different world. Along the way she meets a floating head, which may or may not be a part of her from another world. Sometimes it’s a floating balloon, sometimes it’s a head attached to a foot, and along the way it appears to go through male pattern baldness. There’s also more than a bit going on with the mysteries of the universe, and how they tend to get obnoxious when you’re confronted with them all the time. I’m very tempted to describe some of these new worlds now, as they’re filled with delightful surprises, but nah. If you end up with a copy of this book yourself (and you should, it’s a hoot) take your time with the various panels/pages, as Klara has packed them full of oddities that will reward those who pay close attention. Is this the part of the review where I say “mini kus, you’ve done it again!”? Yes, it is, and yes, they did. Oh, and in case I’ve somehow neglected to mention this so far in these reviews, they’re also selling bundles of four of these minis at a time, which is very much something you should look into. Meanwhile, give this one a look! $7.95

Update for 9/9/22

New review today for Translucent by Adam Yeater, and based on the pile of comics he sent me, I’m starting to think I created a monster with my whole “why don’t I review every issue of Meeting Comics” idea. Gentle comic artists, generally speaking I just won’t have the time/ability/inclination to do that, unless that mythical billionaire ever comes by to sponsor me and free me from all work obligations. Until then, I’ll only be able to get through a smattering of your comics. Happy weekend everybody!

Yeater, Adam – Translucent

Website

Translucent

So in a rarity for me, I found an interview with Adam and read it before starting my review. I confirmed what I suspected from some of the other comics he sent my way: he’s influenced by grindhouse movies, post-apocalyptic stuff and gore in general. So leave it to me to randomly pick what is (probably) the least gory of his comics for my first one to review! This is his take on the Invisible Man story by H.G. Wells. In this comic our hero is at the end of his rope, as he can’t get anything to both turn invisible and stay invisible. Frustrated, he turns to Aleister Crowley; I might be spelling that wrong but it’s spelled a couple of different ways in the comic too. Naturally, deciding to complete his experiment with invisibility through a deal with a demon comes with some drawbacks, and we end up with an entirely different interpretation of his origin story. His artistic style is deceptively simple; his backgrounds are full of details, for example, but in this comic in particular the faces of his characters could have used a bit more emphasis, as they mostly didn’t change much no matter what happened. Still, I liked the twist on the origin story, and it’s not like I’m going to judge a guy who sent me maybe 20 comics based on one random sample. Maybe I’ll review the giant collection of comics next and see where I’m at. Meanwhile, this is maybe sorta worth a look, with more to come from me. $4

Update for 9/7/22

New review today for Lemonade Brigade by Robb Mirsky, and honestly, the horror of that cover is just now getting through to me.

Mirsky, Rob

Instagram (website setting off antiviral alarm bells)

Lemonade Brigade

Since this is the second website in a row to set off my antiviral software, maybe something’s wrong with that and not these websites. Either way, you can get to his regular website through his Instagram if it is just me. Oh hi, you caught me in the middle of a thought that’s unrelated to the review. This is a delightful mini comic by Robb, the first in a series of three that he sent my way. Sure, that means no Sludgy for the moment, but it’s also good to see him branching out. This is full color mayhem with two stories, and one bonus story if you can find it. The main stories follow the same theme: disaffected youths. Or lemons. First up is a cop hassling two kids for no good reason at all, which leads to an inevitable reaction from the youth. Next up is the excitement of a new mall opening up in town meeting up with the reality of a new mall opening up in town. Finally… maybe I should keep the last story a secret. You won’t see it on the regular pages of the comic, so give a little tug around the edges to see what I’m talking about. If you get there, you’ll get to a wordless tale that raises more questions than answers about the biological makeup of these creatures, with a solid punchline to boot. Good clean lemony fun all around here, so give it a shot why don’t you? $3.50

Update for 9/5/22

New review today, sort of, for Sunder Citadel by Grant Thomas. Sorry about missing last week, but I’ve started my “let’s get all my mini comics from the last 25 years organized” project, and once you get started with something like that the only way out is through it. Also, remember those times over the years when I complained because somebody didn’t put their name anywhere on the comic? Yeah, those comics are going in the “???” section when this is all organized. Which is a shame, but if you identified only by your clever website name in 2005, it doesn’t leave me a lot to go on now. Maybe I’ll put up some of the odder ones here when I’m done in case any of y’all can figure them out…

Thomas, Grant – Sunder Citadel

Instragram (regular website down as of 9/4/22)

Sunder Citadel

It sure is bad timing that Grant’s website is setting off all the alarm bells of my antiviral software at the moment, because I have questions that could only be answered by checking out his shop. For instance, is he selling this comic or is he giving it out with his other comics, like the essential My Life in Records? You may notice that there’s no sample image this time around, which almost never happens, but it’s for a reason: there’s only six images in this comic. It has a unique design (the gap on the upper left of the cover image is just not there, as it’s shaped to highlight the castle aspect of it when it’s pulled on either end), and it’s a striking set of images when it’s opened up, but that’s all you’re getting this time around. If it’s an experiment for his students, or if he’s just playing around with the format, it’s a unique design for sure. It’s also unreviewable in any kind of conventional sense, which is only a problem for whoever is left out there still reviewing comics. Anyway, if you’re interested in his work, I’ve been reviewing his stuff for years and have recommended almost all of it, so give some of those comics a shot. As for this, if you see him at a convention, give it a little tug to see the whole castle laid out if he’s amenable to the idea.

Update for 8/26/22

New review today for Another One Bites The Crust by Sarah Romano Diehl. In other news, I’ve finally started organizing my comics. Since that covers 21 years of the website (preceded by almost a decade of buying mini comics on my own), this is clearly going to take some time. If there’s anybody out there who’s a compulsive organizer with plenty of time on their hands who also wants to look at lots and lots of comics, drop me a line!

Romano Diehl, Sarah – Another One Bites The Crust

Website

Another One Bites The Crust

Not to derail the review right off the bat or anything (how very unlike me!) but this one starts off with something called Snowdown, which is a yearly fesitval in Colorado. Curious? So was I! Click the link and it’ll tell you anything you want to know. On a completely unrelated note, if anybody in central Ohio wanted to put together a similar event, that sounds like a wonderful idea. OK, let’s talk about this comic. It’s the third in a series, so any confusion I had about certain characters and how they related to others was probably already addressed, which would make it a silly thing to complain about, so I won’t. This is basically a few months in the life of a group of friends, co-workers and weirdos, with a whole lot of crossover in those categories. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant (a pizzeria in this case), you’ll find a lot to relate to in here. Delivery bike getting stolen repeatedly, oddball customers, drugs and booze showing up all over the place, and working until making it home and collapsing into bed. Unless there’s a party of some sort going on, in which case forget about that nonsense of going to sleep. To me (and, as always, reviews are subjective, which is a nice way to say that they’re often wrong) this is less of an A to B type story and more a collection of incidents, people, conversations and parties. Lots and lots of parties. The thing holding it all together is Puzo (a pizza delivery person) and her spending more and more time with Tito (who owns a skate shop even though he looks like a teenager). She’s got a bad feeling about him from the jump, but he’s relentless and they end up spending more and more time together. Eventually she’s warned about him from another friend, so she calls on one of those oddballs (who calls himself a detective) to try to get to the bottom of it. Honestly, you could be forgiven for losing track of that story in the rush of other people and parties; I had a general sense of who was who by the end of it, and it probably would have been improved if I’d read the other issues. Again, the feeling of this was the most important aspect to me, the sheer joy at being alive even if it was mixed in with real problems. It’s fun, it’s funny, and anybody who has ever lived through anything like this in their own lives will find a lot to relate to. Her shop is down at the moment (although that does appear to be temporary), but this is basically as big as a graphic novel, so I’m going to guess that this is at least $15. Give it a shot!