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Update for 9/10/18

New review today for another one of the monthly Poopsheet comics, and this time around it’s Larva Pimp by David Miller. Should be a regular week of reviews around here (which is about 3 these days), so hey, you have that to look forward to!

Miller, David – Larva Pimp

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Larva Pimp

OK, I’ll confess, I officially have no idea whether or not these “monthly” Poopsheet books have actually been coming out monthly, and trying to narrow it down to just the subscription comics on the Poopsheet website is a bit baffling. But really, what difference does it make? If Rick can manage to put 8 “monthly” books out a year, that’s still a pretty impressive achievement in the small press comics world. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be talking about the comic itself and not the subscription service. It’s a simple but cute little story this time around. A pimp (a larva pimp, to be exact) decides to be lenient with a guy who owes him money. Word of his lenience gets back to his boss, and the reason for his change of heart soon becomes apparent. Which is, once again, just about all I can say without getting into spoilers, although with a mini this short there’s really only one big spoiler to avoid. Anyway, it’s a funny little comic, and you should be supporting the whole monthly mini comic idea regardless. If this makes Rick Bradford rich, maybe he’ll start hiring a bunch of small press comic artists to take over the world! Hey, you never know…

Update for 9/4/18

The mini kus people are back! It’s always good to see the package with Latvian stamps arrive. New review for Day Tour by Mariana Pita!

Pita, Mariana – Day Tour

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Day Tour

This is #67 of the mini kus books. I mentioned the issue number a few times back in the day but stopped, mostly because every issue has a different writer/artist. Is there another anthology series of comics that you can think of that’s been this successful? Granted, “successful” is a relative term in this field (I’m guessing everyone who’s put out one of these books didn’t receive a small island as payment), but still, kudos to the folks who run this project. Meanwhile, what about this particular comic? This is the story of a young woman who is called a hero by somebody she barely knows on social media. Her talking dog calls her out on this, saying that she’s no hero and that the social media person wasn’t even real. She is determined to prove her heroism, and happens across an ad online for giving blood. Seeing a good and easy way to become a hero, she sets off to give some blood, which naturally isn’t as simple as it sounds, or there wouldn’t be much of a comic, now would there? We get to see the whole grand adventure of getting to the blood clinic, what happens when she gets there, and the side journey of her dog just trying to find a good spot to watch the football game. The watercolor art of Mariana is gorgeous; mini kus putting these comics out in full color really pays off with this issue. Give this comic a shot, come along on a grand yet mundane adventure. And check your back issues to see how many issues of mini kus comics you have. That’s what I’m going to do one of these days… $6

Update for 8/28/18

New review today for Cats of the White House by Rachel Scheer and Danny Noonan!

Scheer, Rachel & Noonan, Danny – Cats of the White House

Website for Rachel

Cats of the White House

Before I get started, one more warning sign about the current President (it’s 2018 right now, future readers)? Dude never had any pets. Like, ever. To reach 70 years old without ever having a pet is a gigantic red flag. Anyway, this is a nice comic that contains no politics at all, and here I had to go messing that up. They even managed to make the various events that elevated Ford to the White House into “a scandal” and “another scandal.” This is the story of 10 presidential cats, what they were known for, how they made it to the White House, and how they ended up. These are some surprisingly deep veins for stories, with some of the highlights being the very first Siamese cat given to Rutherford B. Hayes, Lincoln’s long conversations with his cats, Theodore Roosevelt allowing his cats to have such free reign that the servants were instructed to allow the cats to sleep wherever they liked, Kennedy’s cat allergy, Clinton’s famous cat Socks and how it was eclipsed once he got a dog, and the forgotten cat of George W. Bush. It’s a fascinating list and they’ve clearly done some serious research. There’s also a section in the back where they mention the various other types of White House pets; if they’re not working on a sequel to this involving the hippo and alligator mentioned, they’re crazy. $3

Update for 8/22/18

New review today for Rest Stop Brochures for the Not-So-Distant Future by Caitlin Cass. That’s probably it for reviews this week, but keep those comics coming. I’m hoping to make this a more regular thing for a month or so before work takes over again…

Cass, Caitlin – Rest Stop Brochures for the Not-So-Distant Future

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Rest Stop Brochures for the Not-So-Distant Future

Hey look everybody, it’s basically four new comics from Caitlin on one convenient package! Yes, I’m only showing the cover for two of them here, but that’s because I’m sneaky. This is a set of four faux rest stop brochures bundled together, each covering a different topic. There’s Digital Red Tape, where people sign up to be forced to fill out forms and complete busy work to use their phones, which leads to less usage of their phones and a way to gradually reclaim their lives. Next up is Rainbow Boat Tours, where the nicest possible spin is put on a boat tour that takes you through waters that are clogged with floating plastic garbage. Drone Eyes shows you the wonders of experiencing different parts of the world through a drone; these stations are set up at rest stops to help you forget about how much time is still left on your actual journey. Finally there’s The Forum, a place where you can say whatever terrible or objectionable thing that you’d like, and the hand picked audience will still cheer and give you validation. Sure, it’s bleak at times, but these are still some darkly hilarious comics. And if you can’t laugh at times like these… well, that’s probably healthy. Still, you should at least try to laugh.

Update for 8/20/18

Oof, sorry about that, work has been crazy lately. You may have read about it if you follow political news at all; I work in one of THOSE Ohio counties. Anyway, new review today for Ask a Cat #9 by Charles Brubaker.

Brubaker, Charles – Ask a Cat #9

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Ask a Cat #9

You know, I’m starting to get the sense that there are only so many things you could plausibly ask a cat. Not that I want to start this off by ragging on Charles; if you’ve been enjoying his work up until now you’re going to like this one just fine. It’s just, well… “how do you save on travel?” isn’t something I’ve ever considered asking a cat. Maybe I should accept that this series has become a way for him to answer odd questions without getting too caught up on the “cat” aspect of it. Yep, apparently you’ve caught me in a pedantic kind of mood today. Questions that are asked of cats this time around include whether or not they wear Halloween costumes, their favorite supernatural being (this one was interesting, as it dealt with a ghost cat), how to get rid of a headache, if the cat has a life’s goal, do they always land on their feet, and how to stop sweating so much. Overall there were some funny bits and some less funny bits, and since I’m in such a pedantic mood I feel compelled that there were a few typos, which is rare with Charles. But the man certainly has a prolific work ethic, so check out his website to see the ridiculous amount of comics he’s produced over the last few years.

Update for 7/30/18

Yep, still chairless over here, so still only sporadic reviewing. New review today for Concerted Efforts by Mohar Kalra, and once again I’ll try to get another crouching review or two up during the week.

Kalra, Mohar – Concerted Efforts

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Concerted Efforts

Sometimes I receive books from people who say they’re just starting out in comics, and in those cases I really try to put my professional reviewer’s hat on (whatever that means), to get ready to get picky about little errors or basic things that the artist could do to improve. When I do this I try to make it clear that despite the number of comics I’ve read in my life, I’m still just some guy, and the opinion of people like me should never dissuade anybody from making comics. That being said… this comic was pretty great. The pacing, the story, the interplay of sound effects with the action, I don’t have a negative thing to say about any of it. I guess I wish he would have put up a link on his website where people could buy a physical copy of this comic, but maybe that’s just me showing my age, as he has it up for free if you’re curious. This is the story of Mohar going to his first concert (I learned this for sure on his website). First he has to motivate himself to attend, as going to any concert is a big hassle. Once he gets there he’s supposed to meet up with a friend, but his friend got there early and had made his way to the front. Mohar, however, as you can see from the sample image, had quite a journey ahead of him to meet his friend. I loved the descriptions of the different sections of the crowd (familiar to anybody who’s been to a big show), the wise old concert-goer who offered to help, the rage when people realized he wasn’t dancing… lots of great little touches in here. Overall I’d recommend this book to anybody who’s ever had to navigate a big concert crown. As far as any practical advice I might have? Keep doing what you’re doing, try to get in some diverse life experiences so you have interesting stories to tell, and you’ll be just fine.

Update for 7/23/18

Yep, I’m finally back! But it wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t drama along the way: I have no chair for my computer desk, so I’m awkwardly typing this while sitting on the floor. Meaning reviews might be scarce for a bit until I get this sorted and, due to getting hit with a few hilarious financial setbacks after moving, that might be a few weeks. But I’ll still get sporadic reviews up, like the one today for Noble Head Funnies #6 by Edward Parker Bolman, another of the Poopsheet Foundation subscription comics, so look into that, won’t you? Meanwhile, if you live near the Columbus area in Ohio and have a decent computer chair you’re looking to get rid of, let me know and I can trade you for some comics…

Bolman, Edward Parker – Noble Head Funnies #6

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Noble Head Funnies #6

Boy howdy, this comics takes you on quite a journey. This is the first comic I’ve seen from Edward Bolman (and Poopsheet has quite a knack for publishing artists with little to no web presence, so no help there) so I had no idea what to expect. As usual, I’ll try to sum it up in my own vague, trying-not-to-give-anything-away way and, as usual, it’ll be up in the air as to whether or not I did more to help than harm. There are a number of distinct story nuggets in here, but most of them end up circling back around to the main story. Or maybe they all do and I missed it? Anyway, the main story deals with a dinner party in which the only 400 people in the city were scheduled to attend. But when one guest arrives she notices that the place is empty. She makes a call to complain, she is herself taken away, and the mystery is afoot! But the focus of the comic wanders to a few different areas after (and before) that, including a trampoline jump contest, chlurm, spiders and gorilla men, the moon kicking sand in the devil’s face, time travel with past issues, and a lovely dance. Oh, and let’s not forget the sassy nibbler. Edward also has quite the lyrical turn of phrase; if you know him I’d highly recommend that you get Patrick Stewart to narrate the comic as you read it. It kept me guessing and was hilarious at times, so I’d say that’s more then enough to recommend it to you discerning readers. $3, or check with Poopsheet about the monthly comics subscription program.

Update for 6/28/18

New review today for Goiter #2 by Josh Pettinger, and I’m moving to the new apartment this weekend: 13 E. Winter St. Apt 1, Delaware, OH 43015. Send comics, I’m running low on review issues so there won’t be much lag time. If there’s a gap in reviews, it’s most likely because something has gone wrong with getting the internet working at the new place. That happens almost every time, so don’t be too alarmed if it happens this time too.

Pettinger, Josh – Goiter #2

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Goiter #2

Previously on this review website, I mentioned wondering how Josh would follow up the first issue of Goiter. It turns out that the second issue doesn’t have much to do with the first (or does it and I missed it? Always possible!), but it is a step up in quality. Not that the quality of the first issue was poor, but Josh has a lot more room to play around with panel structure, silent moments, and a mystery. None of which are mentioned on the cover, although I guess there is a death. Um, spoiler alert. I always say that part too late. Anyway, this is the story of Henry Kildare, a ventriloquist from Chicago who’s stopped at a small town to play a gig. He tries several times to contact a missing girlfriend (or at least a girlfriend who doesn’t want to speak to him), gets several comments about Chicago from people who have obviously never been there, has a middling to bad show and takes mushrooms with the bartender. Things take a real turn after that, as he gets stuck in the middle of a missing persons case, and this is probably the part where I should stop talking about the story. The rest of it, including the ending, is delightfully enigmatic, with all kinds of room for interpretation if you’re so inclined. Both issues of Goiter were delightful in their own mildly unnerving way, so here’s hoping Josh keeps putting out Goiters for us all to enjoy!

Update for 6/26/18

New review today for The Last Human Alive by Joseph Hewitt. The reviews this week are all done in advance because of my upcoming move, so my apologies if the world ended in the meantime. I mean, only if I’m somehow responsible for it, of course. The unchecked power of a small comics review website can be an awesome thing to behold.

Hewitt, Joseph – The Last Human Alive

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The Last Human Alive

Nuclear war has come, and the only thing to survive (apparently) was a small group of voles. Unless I missed an issue or two where this was explained in more detail, that is. As you may have guessed from the title, the voles think they’ve spotted a human, the creature that they all know was responsible for the end of the world. Do they mind the end of the world since they’re now basically in charge of it? Unknown! The voles react to this news in different ways, with most of them forming an army to take out the human before it takes them out. One of them goes off to see a village elder of sorts, who tells the story of how the world ended, mostly by using the word “ass” a lot (yes, it’s still a coherent and concise explanation). Right around the halfway point of the book, the army confronts the human that they’ve spotted, with the rest of the issue being a desperate battle against it. Sort of. Look, if I cleared it up I’d take away the mystery, and who wants that? It’s a fun story, with Joseph once again providing the Korean translation at the back of the book for interested parties. At this rate I figure I’ll be able to write Korean in… never. Still just about never. But if you have a passing familiarity with it, maybe this will refresh your memory. If you only speak Korean and have stumbled across this review (by some hilariously garbled Google translator, no doubt), you’re in luck! $5

Update for 6/22/18

New review today for Flocks by L. Nichols, whose comics I’ve been reading and reviewing here for years. So if you’re guessing I’m a fan, yep, you nailed that one. Happy weekend everybody!

Nichols, L. – Flocks

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Flocks

L. has been making comics for quite a few years now (go check the archives here if you don’t believe me, although I really wish the years of the reviews still showed up), but this might be the best thing he’s ever done. Granted, I’d have to go back and read several old issues of Jumbly Junkery to be sure… you know what, I should probably do that anyway. Anyway, Flocks is the story of his life. L. was gender assigned as female at birth and raised by a strictly religious family. Meaning that when she (at the time; please forgive me if I mess up the pronouns and/or correct me so I don’t do it again) was growing up and started to get feelings that didn’t coincide with the feelings church/her family/her school told her that she should be getting, L. had nowhere to turn for better advice. Instead she had crippling self-doubt, what seemed at times to be an inner loathing as she tried to make herself behave the way she was supposed to and like who she was supposed to. L. spares no detail in Flocks, and the details are almost uniformly grim. She did have supportive parents in other areas (specifically scholastic), and she did have supportive teachers, but it wasn’t until she was able to go away in her later high school years that she was able to start to put it all together. It’s a riveting and heartbreaking journey, and he seems to have arrived at a moment now where all is right with the world: loving wife, two kids, happy in his own skin, he even finally found a church that was supportive and loving instead of the hateful mess he had growing up. I guess all that constitutes a spoiler, but since we’re dealing with L.’s life, I thought it was allowed. For anybody out there is struggling with who they are, this comic will speak to you in a profound way. This is especially true if you’re in one of the backwaters of America or anywhere around the world where intolerance is still considered the right way to be. Whatever you’re going through, it can all work out; it’s just a matter of getting through the rough parts first. $21.95