New review today for Elbis and the Orphan Daughter of Time by Mulele Jarvis. I have to say, it’s a little eerie writing these updates in the past. Who’s to say what’s happened this week? Eh, probably not all that much. Still, right now the possibilities are endless…
Note: all images have been taken from the Big Ugly Robot website due to my broken scanner. Please buy some of their comics to alleviate my guilt. Also because they have a ridiculously impressive record of publishing quality comics, so you could literally just blindly buy a few comics and be in for a treat. I’m a dummy so I started reading this book backwards (or forwards to America readers; at least you can see how I made that mistake), so I saw the dedication of this book before I started the story. It’s dedicated to suicidal people, both the ones who recovered and the ones who went through with it. Mulele himself was suicidal for years, and he’s clearly speaking from experience in here. Also connected to that story is the cat pictured on the cover, how it has been reincarnated and the human that it’s supposed to be helping. Along the way we get to see snippets of its former life, what it loved and how it managed to save its humans from a house fire. Personally, I’d be thrilled to see an entire comic dedicated to the philosophical discussion that the dead cats had in between lives, but I’m a weirdo like that. This is a heartfelt and moving comic, and we should all be so lucky as to have a reincarnated cat watching over us at our lowest moments. Or hell, maybe those of us with cats already do. I’ve always had the impression that my cat would start eating my face about three minutes after I died, but then again she is awfully comforting for those low moments. Anyway, if you’ve ever had any dark moments where suicide seemed like a genuine possibility, for one thing ALWAYS give it some time (there’s no taking back suicide), and this comic may genuinely do you some good. #6
New review today for Tortilla #4 by Jaime Crespo. Yes, my work schedule is still bring figured out, but I remembered that one thing that I always forget with this website: I can schedule reviews to post whenever I want. So I get to write the reviews on the weekends, and you get to read them during the week to get a break from work. Everybody wins!
See, here’s where my lack of a working scanner really hurts the review: Jaime doesn’t have a working website. So no free samples to be had there to help you make up your mind. Then again, how much convincing do you really need? Jaime has been making quality comics for 25ish years and he has a new issue out! What more do you need to know? And yes, it would be cheating if I bailed on the review right there. Jaime has had a rough few years (which accounts for the delay between issues), but he hasn’t lost a step with his comics skills. This one has four stories, and the subjects include observational evidence that the worst drivers all own gold cars (which is not something I’ve ever noticed, but it’s certainly going to be on my mind while driving from now on), an especially obnoxious local drunk who eventually motivates the town to pool their resources to get a one-way ticket to get him out of town (and what happens next), Jaime’s efforts (as a child) to help a friend sell some candy bars so they’d be free to play and their chance encounter of a celebrity, and Jaime’s history of skateboarding and surfing. Oh, and in regards to that celebrity, I’m not going to spoil it, but there story is set in the 70’s, so let your imagination run wild in your guesses. Jaime is also still working on a big old graphic novel that I can’t wait to see, and he’ll even be in Columbus for Sol-Con from October 13-16th (2016, in case you’re reading this in the future). That lineup of guests is ridiculously stacked, so come to Columbus for the show! In the meantime, buy this comic. You know that lack of a sample image is driving you nuts, and there’s only one way to learn what celebrity he ran into in the 70’s… $4
Two new reviews today, for You Don’t Get There From Here #36 by Carrie McNinch and Sinaloa Cowboys by Robert Hendricks. Yes, I do still need to figure out a better schedule so that I’m actually reviewing comics during the week. Still trying to adjust to the new work schedule/life in general combo. The job itself seems to be going swimmingly, thanks for asking!
Huh, I can honestly say that I never thought I’d put “Bruce Springsteen” into the tags for any review. This is Robert’s adaptation of one of his songs, and he does take care to credit Bruce every step of the way in here. I’m assuming Bruce would be fine with something like this? I can’t see why not, but it’s not like I know the guy. This song is the story of two immigrant brothers who worked on farms for awhile before being given a chance to work with meth. They couldn’t pass up the money, but inevitably an accident happened that changed everything. Should I be worried about spoilers in a comic based on a song from 1995? Almost certainly not, but the habit is too ingrained in me to stop now. Robert also includes a history of the song, where it lands in Bruce’s discography and the inspiration for it. In other words, if you’ve ever had questions about this song specifically, or just how Bruce gets inspired in general, chances are that you’ll learn something from reading this. If you have no interest in either of those things, I guess you could still get something out of this as another cautionary tale about not cooking meth. Oh, and apologies to Robert for straight up lifting these images from his website, but my scanner is still broken, and aren’t reviews better with images? $4
You Don’t Get There From Here #36
Ten years! That’s how long Carrie has been doing daily diary strips as of this comic. Which covers December of 2014 to March of 2015, so technically it’s more like 12 years that she’s been doing daily diary strips by now. Assuming that she didn’t take an extended break somewhere, as her website has images of her of the cover of #38 recently. But I think Carrie has a solid track record of doing this by now. If you have no idea what this is, shame on you a little bit, but it’s exactly what is sounds like: Carrie does mostly three panel strips detailing notable events from her day. At this point in her life she’s getting annoying hot flashes, dealing with a father with Alzheimer’s, babysitting the child of a friend (pictured on the cover, and clearly one of the great joys of Carrie’s life) and dealing with the sudden kidney problems of one of her cats. Her father seems to be what’s mostly on her mind, although her mother refuses all offers of help and Carrie isn’t dealing with it on a daily basis. Still, she has plenty of memories of her father when he was in his right mind, and they don’t seem to be all that happy, which complicates the recent illness even further. She also loves her cats dearly, and I can certainly relate to trying to research and figure out the best possible diet for a cat while also panicking about possibly making the wrong choice. It’s another solid issue from Carrie, and I’d say that 36 issues (plus however many other comics based on other subjects) makes for a pattern by now, wouldn’t you? She has a new book out with strips about various nonfiction books that she’s read that looks interesting, but you could pick just about any comic that she has available randomly and be in for a treat.
Rare weekend update! What can I say, my new job has increased my travel time by a whole bunch, so I have to get up reviews when possible at the moment. New reviews today for A Witch Named Koko #1 by Charles Brubaker and Zero Sum Bubblegum by mostly David Robertson along with a few guest artists. New reviews when possible, bear with me as I sort this new schedule out!
A Witch Named Koko #1
Yep, without a working scanner this is what I’ve been reduced to: pilfering scans off of the artist’s website. Even though it’s of the first three issues of a series where I’m only reviewing the first issue (today, anyway). Sigh. If anybody out there is independently wealthy and would like to send me a pile of money for a new scanner, please feel free to use that email address for some Paypal cash. Also, use the rest of your fortune for good, as most rich people are profoundly boring in how they spend their money. Oh hi, comic book I haven’t started talking about yet! It’s another funny book from Charles, and it’s another one that the kids could enjoy as much as the adults. This time around Koko finally hears of the witching hour (midnight on a full moon) and how that is when the power of witches is at their highest. Koko has never experienced this before, as she goes to bed early, so the rest of the issue deals with her trying to stay awake (with the “help” of her sister) and eventually dealing with her new power level. There’s also an important public service announcement on the back about skeletons and whether or not you have one, so don’t forget to flip the book over when you’re done. $2
Zero Sum Bubblegum
My bias is showing again, but I’m always delighted to get another comic from David. Mostly because I know that it’s most likely going to be a collection of short stories, and that it’s damned near a certainty that at least a few of those stories are going to amaze/amuse/befuddle me, and in the best possible way. The other way, in case you were curious, is the “what the hell did I just read and why did I read it?” reaction. Not a problem here! Anyway, this time around subjects include picking your best possible funeral song (which I would have used for the sample image if my scanner was still working), the history of “A Book With Death in the Title” and what happens to the people who read it, an attempted school assembly and the shenanigans going on, tiddlywinks, Bruce the Rat, the fact that nobody is going to keep track of whether or not you give up your seat on the bus for an old lady, trying to finish a comics page vs. trying to comprehend the new mandatory Windows upgrade, sexy Frankensteins, sexy cavemen, scanning for wedding rings on the ride home, that Iron dude in that one suit, having the conviction to play the scrabble words that you’re given, kitten brains vs. lady brains, getting it all out on the deathbed, Princess Leia’s troubles with men, intimidation in the testing room (with Pam Dye), the victory lap (with Paddy Johnston), a lack of comprehension on stamps (with Tim Kelly), the art of engaging in television (with Neil Paterson), looking for that lost thing (with Eileen Budd), taking the lack of a Facebook reply too personally (with Ludi Price), random cruelty on a carnival ride, a dedicated punker, and falling silently through space to your death. Well, not your death specifically, but you know what I mean. Once again this is a really solid collection of stories; that Princess Leia piece should lead off the next movie as far as I’m concerned. How she trusts any men at this point is beyond me. David also has an extensive afterward as usual, so any questions you might have about these stories have most likely been answered (I know they were for me). So yeah, once again you should buy his book. Sure, you could get a few samples for free, but rarely the whole story, and wouldn’t you rather have the whole story? Not to mention the very idea of supporting an artist whose work you enjoy with your money. You still do that, right? Because it’s easy to forget to do it. And it’s roughly $5, assuming I have the exchange rate right in my head, which I almost certainly do not.
Yep, turns out I didn’t have time to post any reviews last week. Should have just planned it that way from the start. New review today for Hellbound Lifestyle by Kaeleigh Forsythe & Alabaster Pizzo, and I have a new job and a (still mostly) broken scanner, so it might make more sense to plan on 1 or 2 more reviews this week instead of 3. Assuming you plan anything at all around my reviews, which would be very silly.
A couple of points before I start rambling about this comic:
1. It’s still the writer first and then the artist in terms of the order on the cover, right? Or am I the only one who even thinks about such things? and
2. It took entirely too long for Google to think I was typing anything other than “Alabaster Pizza Hut.” That’s not a real thing, right? I refuse to do even the minimal research required to find out if that’s a thing.
So hey, this comic? It’s hilarious. It’s insightful, it’s unsettling, it’s occasionally baffling (in the best possible way) but the most important fact is that it’s hilarious. Which is an impressive fact when you consider than at least a few of these stories are just pages of verbatim conversations taken from Kaeleigh’s phone. This is yet another one of those cases where I don’t want to ruin anything about this book while reviewing it, which increasingly makes me wonder why I’m still doing this, but since all of humanity isn’t going to buy every book that I say they should buy (even though that sample image should reel everybody in), I’ll slightly describe a few things. Fair enough? Subjects include problems in her life that she’s learned to live with, text typos changing meaning, ideas for rebranding herself, the new shoes for the people in Heaven’s Gate, her baffling habit of staring into an empty fridge, all the red flags in her co-worker’s recent engagement, all the dark places her mind goes while working on an edit test for sunglasses, her existential crisis while waiting for people to “like” a photo, the pro (s) and cons of sex, and Siri getting passive aggressive on her. That’s only bits of the first half of the book, the rest is up to you. Kaeleigh also has lots of sample images at her page, including conversations she had after the book came out a few months ago, so convince yourself if you have to, but find $10 and buy this comic. You need it. $10
I’m moved into the new place (please use the new address to send review comics from now on!) but am just now getting reliable internet, so maybe I’ll get a review or two up over the next few days if I really have fixed the problem.
OK, I thought I could balance this being my last week at work and the week that I’m changing apartments along with putting a few reviews together, but since only one of those things is optional, guess which one isn’t going to happen? Yep, no reviews this week, and I’ll post my new address this weekend once I’m actually living there. I should be able to get a few reviews up next week (assuming competence from Time Warner), and there was a bit of good news from all this packing: I’ve uncovered more than a few caches of comics that I got years ago that were never reviewed, as it seems like they ended up in a box during a previous move and then buried. So apologies to those artists and writers, and I’ll check to make sure that they’re still active, but I should be able to get some of those reviews up soon. In this culture would they be considered “retro” if they’re a few years old? Probably so…
New review today for Mutant Punks Fuck Off #1 by Kevin Panetta & Jared Morgan, which is a heartbreaking tale of forbidden love in dire circumstances. Or you could refer to the title and guess for yourself what it’s about. Also sorry about the lack of a sample image, but my scanner is now apparently at the point where it scans the cover image and then needs to rest for several hours. And since I’m moving next week and have to buy a bunch of furniture, I don’t have the cash to spare to get a new one. Luckily the internet still exists and the images aren’t hard to hunt down for those who are inclined to do so.
Mutant Punks Fuck Off #1
Call me an old timey punk if you want (or maybe just old), but doesn’t it undermine your case of being a punk book when you cross off “fuck” from the title? Yeah, it’s an odd thing to be cranky about, and the book itself is chock full o’ fucks, but it struck me as odd. Anyway, how about that comic? It’s basically an excuse for an extended fight scene, but it was a pretty great fight scene. The Vomit Lords are leaving a punk show when they go to the local fish market. One of the shopkeepers is despondent because the fish are mutating and he’s barely able to make a living, which is when The Nimrods come onto the scene with an ultimatum: that whole area belongs to the same people who are polluting the river, and the market has to get out of town in a hurry. The Vomit Lords disagree, and the rest of the comic is the aforementioned fight scene. And what sets off the fight scene? Just the most awful word for any punk band to ever hear. It’s a fun comic overall, and my quibble about that title is a very minor thing indeed. If you like mayhem and/or punks you’ll have a lot of fun reading this. $3
New review today for Satan Cat #2 by Steve Steiner. Have I mentioned that I’m moving in a couple of weeks? Because I am. If you have review comics to send, maybe hold off until after 6/24 so there’s no confusion with mail delivery.
Satan Cat #2
Cat people, gather round! Dog people and weirdos who don’t like any pets at all, this one probably isn’t for you. Or maybe it is, if you’re intrigued by the concept of a cat literally thinking that it’s Satan. But is it actually Satan, or is the cat crazy? That’s the premise of this unexpectedly complex issue. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all still easy enough to grasp, but the bulk of this comic is a conversation between the cat and a mouse toy, with the mouse toy playing the role of the sane one of the two. This toy also points out the absurdity of it being the rational one and that the cat should think about that, at which point the comic almost collapses in on itself. It’s another funny issue but, as is often the case with a mini this small, there’s not a whole lot for a reviewer to talk about outside of the basic “yea or nay” issue. So… yea! It’s always fun to watch one of the most smug creatures on the planet question its own sanity.
New review today for Elf Cat in Love by James Kochalka, who was maybe one of the first people I reviewed on this website back in the day. Who can say for sure, that was 15 years ago!
Full disclosure time to new readers: I’ve been a fan of James Kochalka since the days of his mini comic and Little Mister Man in the 90’s. Eventually lost interest in the daily strip and he went in a direction of comics more geared towards kids (like the Johnny Boo series), so I’ve lost touch with his stuff over the years. Except for Superfuckers, which was great. Anyway, this isn’t about me, much as it might seem like it from that intro, it’s about Elf Cat in Love! Which is another of his “all ages” books, so again not one that’s geared towards adults, but it still retains that Kochalka charm. It’s broken down into three chapters and is basically the love story between Elf Cat (a magical (?) cat) who’s afraid of girls but thinks an awful lot of himself and a talking, flying tennis ball. Maybe I missed an origin story somewhere, but how much of an origin do you need for such a pairing? The first chapter deals with Elf Cat on a quest to save a princess that doesn’t go at all as planned, the second deals with his quest to heat up a hot dog, and the third is basically the two of them coming together. Even though they’ve been together for the whole book, but you know what I mean. Their mutual reluctance to admit any kind of attraction was fairly adorable, and their escape from the monster/princess in the first chapter was certainly memorable. Overall it fell a little too much on the kids side of all ages for me to think of it as great (but I’ll remind everybody again that that line is crazy subjective), but it was still a fun read, and I’d have to think that most kids would find it adorable. $15