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Well, obviously my plan to talk about Cartoon Crossroads comics last week fell apart, meaning that’s what this week is about! All comics reviewed this week came from the con, after that I’ll just be sprinkling them in with the other comics reviewed. Don’t worry, I’ll still mention which books I got at the con so you can feel shame about not coming. New review today for The Audra Show #1 by Audra Stang!
The Audra Show #1
There’s more than you might think that goes into buying comics at conventions. For example, this particular comic. It looked intriguing, Audra couldn’t have been nicer at her table (she even chased me down to get me a better copy after I was oblivious and purchased her display copy of the first issue), but it was early in the show. Do you get all three comics on display for $10, or check out one issue for $4? I went with the cheaper option, and here I am, a couple of weeks later, regretting it. Gah, I’m a dummy. Oh well, I still have one issue to review. Obviously I liked it, so let’s remove all suspense on that front right away. This is another case where I’m not sure how far I should dig down into spoilers (especially since that cover and title make a lot more sense about 2/3 of the way through), so I’ll try to tiptoe around them. This is the story of three servers at a restaurant, helpfully listed on the back cover: Owen, Bea and Jonah. Owen seems like a nice guy, Bea is an oddball, and Jonah so far seems like a straight up creep. Owen get hassled by some customers, he and Bea have a chat about scars as he tries to determine whether or not he’s getting hit on, and Jonah annoys him by badgering Owen about his hitting on Bea. Then the shift is over and they go about their evenings, leading to Bea seeing Owen alone on a pier. Just as she’s approaching him to say hello, he jumps into the water. And doesn’t come up for air for a distressingly long amount of time. Which is as far as I can get without spoilers! I will say that this particular problem was resolved by the end of the issue, but now I can’t wait to see what happens next, and I was too shortsighted to get all three issues at the con. Use me as a cautionary tale, comic readers! If you have the cash to check out the first few issues of a series… do it! $4 (or $10 for issues #1-3)
OK, this week has obviously gotten away from me, but there’s still time for a reminder to anybody near the Columbus Ohio area: Cartoon Crossroads is this weekend! There’s a ridiculous lineup of artists attending, meaning that I should have comics to review for awhile after that. Come see the show!
New review today for Persephone’s Garden by Glynnis Fawkes, which is the last of the Secret Acres books I had left to review.
When I get a comic or graphic novel to review and it takes me several weeks to review it, one of a few things happened. Maybe I lost track of it and found it later. Maybe I just had a backlog of things to review and got to it as soon as I could. And, once in a great while, I’ve been sitting with a book, keeping it around so I can check on things when they pop into my brain, because I just can’t get the book out of my head. For Persephone’s Garden (which arrived months ago), that last one is the answer. I kept thinking I knew what I wanted to say, then I’d think of some story or strip from the book, go back and read it and completely lose what I wanted to say. But since I can either do that forever or say something about this remarkable book, it’s time to ramble! This is, on a basic level, the story of Glynnis, her kids, husband and parents. This book is packed with adorable stories about kids, about the crazy things they say and do, and about their perpetual suffering through vacations and meals that would awe most adults. It’s also about dealing with her mother, who has had alzheimer’s for the last few years, and how the mother/parent roles have been reversed. Her mother made tapestries for years, using incredibly elaborate patterns, and watching as her skills gradually left her was devastating. There’s also stories about Glynnis and her job, which is to travel to different locations and make illustration of different pieces of pottery so they’re not lost to history. All of these things would make for a complex and vast graphic novel, but it’s the way that she ties them all together that’s truly brilliant. It all comes together in the most natural and amazing way by the end, and once again I feel compelled to leave it the reader to find out what that means. You can read this on a surface level and get plenty out of it; by that criteria alone this should be considered one of the best books of the year. But when you get down into how it all ties together, it’s possible this book should be elevated even higher than that. Read it, in other words. Now I’m going to go back to contemplating various bits of it, possibly forever. $21.95
New review today for I Couldn’t Stop by Powerpaola, as the mini kus books have returned! Also happy birthday Kathie!
Could this be the most straightforward of the mini kus comics? Nah, the ending alone blows that idea out of the water, but it’s bad form to talk about the ending of a book, so I won’t do that. But the bulk of it is a narrative that’s easy to follow, so maybe this is the mini kus book you should keep on your coffee table to get people hooked when they come over and thumb through the random comics you leave out. Anyway, the story here is about our hero, as she just wants a night out after a rough week of working on a comic about sexual abuse. She meets up with a friend, they get a drink, move on to another location and meet up with a couple of guys (it’s not clear if they were waiting for the ladies to show up or were just friendly strangers; it also doesn’t matter a whole lot). After they’re seated they have a fascinating conversation that’s interrupted by some cops with their guns drawn, looking for a burglar. Finally the evening comes to a close and the three other people take an Uber together, while Paola heads home on her bike. This is where the mildly confusing ending happens, but I think I’ve figured it out while I was writing this. Maybe. Give this one a look, if you’re bothered by how open to interpretation some of these mini kus books can be, this one should ease your worries. $6
New review today for Double Dip #2 by Dale Martin and Tom Cherry. Each one of them covers half of the comic, in case you were wondering.
Double Dip #2
When I saw in the intro for this book that it had been 8 years since the last issue, my first thought was simple. Did I review the first issue 8 years ago? Yep, I sure did! OK, so did I like it? Yes again! OK, so what do I remember about it? Um… not much. Hey, you try remembering every comic you’ve ever read when you write at least a few reviews a week (and five a week for several years). Anyway, one thing I mentioned in the last review was that I had no idea how to follow Dale’s Watusi story, as he referenced several things that were clearly part of a past series. Well, this time around he uses footnotes to explain exactly when the past action happened, so at least it’s a mystery that can be solved now. The man has 39 issues of his Watusi series out (not to mention his other comics), so it’s easy to see why things get hard to keep track of. His story picks up directly from #1 and deals with the shape shifting creature, how he got here, what he did on previous trips to visit, and a demonstration of his skills. Next issue we get his full origin, so here’s hoping it’s not another 8 years before that happens. There’s also Tom’s story, which is a self-contained story about a boy who invents his own curse word to avoid getting into trouble. Throw in a giant robot that’s out to destroy the world and things end up coming together quite nicely. It’s a measly $2, give it a shot you cheapskates!
New review today for I Like Totally Know What You Did Last Summer by Sarah Romano Diehl and Brandon Lehmann.
Is this still a movie that can be parodied in 2019? I’m genuinely curious if the kids today remember a movie that came out in, what, 1995? It just occurred to me that I’m connected to the internet, so it turns out it was 1997, with one sequel. Eh, who knows. I thought it was terrible when I saw it (full disclosure: in the theaters; yes, I’m ancient), but it’s not like that’s enough to stop a movie from becoming a cult classic. Anyway, you’ll get more out of this comic if you’ve seen the movie, but either way it’s a fun little romp of teenage panic, unsupported assumptions and mistaken identity. I can’t say much more about that without giving the whole plot away, but I will say it’s not just a retelling of the film, this comic has its own thing to say. I laughed a few times, I didn’t see the ending coming, what more can you ask for? I am curious about what exactly happened to Tom, but it’s irrelevant really, and me finding out would have ruined the surprise a bit earlier. Give it a shot, especially if you’re as amazed as I am to find out that that movie has any kind of staying power. $6.90
New review today for So Buttons: Slice of Cake by Jonathan Baylis and a gaggle of artists. Happy weekend everybody!
New review today for Wolf’s Head #2 by Von Allan. Everybody have all your travel plans for Cartoon Crossroads in a few weeks sorted out?
When I get a couple of issues of a series to review, there’s a system I like to use when reviewing them. I try to get the first issue reviewed quickly, to help get the word out in whatever tiny way it happens around here. Then I give it several months before getting to the next review. Not always! If I’m completely out of books to review, or if I’m really into the series, I’ll be quicker. But that’s the general idea, and it’s for one simple reason: that’ll give time for the creator to get another issue out, which is a good sign for me to take a series seriously. And sometimes I just lose a comic in the general chaos of my life, but let’s ignore that possibility. Anyway, Von has 2 new issues ready as of this review, so he’s very clearly taking this all seriously. Read the last review if you don’t want to get completely lost here, although why you’d only read the review for a second issue of a comic is beyond me. Or just the second issue of a comic. This time around that rich scientist is still trying to get his AI back, Lauren’s mom is still hiding it and having health problems, Lauren is dealing with her terrible job and the consequences of her actions in the last issue, and Sanko is still looking for belly rubs. There’s a lot going on here, which is why I’m being mostly vague. Damn near anything I could mention would be a spoiler, so why don’t I make things simple. I’m all in on the mystery here; I’m even starting to like some of the side characters who are supposed to be assholes, and Von clearly has a master plan here, even if the big surprise towards the end seemed to even take him by surprise (according to his notes in the back). I’m hooked, is the point, and I think most people who are willing to give this a shot would find themselves similarly hooked. $9
New review today for Hippo Ocracy by Chris Kostecka and The Yuan Twins (Matt and John). Hippos and crocodiles? Pick a side!
Sometimes I get books to review that are perfectly fine books, they’re just not for me. Where I’m at in my life, the mood I’m in at the time, it just happens sometimes. For example, this is a book that’s about 2/3 giant fight scene between an army of hippos and an army of crocodiles. Right away I’m guessing a good chunk of you either really want to see what it’s all about, while the rest of you just have no interest in such a fight. I’m in the latter camp. The fight scene felt like it went on WAY too long, and if you’re just coming along for a wide variety of gore, most of the kills were pretty basic. So what’s the story? Things start off with our heroes (the king, his wife and his son) meeting up with another clan that’s having a harder time. We also meet the squirrels who are living in the king’s hair and the king of the sea, who appears to be a puffer fish who also uses a cane. Underwater. While also having no legs. Is it odd to fixate on that one aspect of the book? Because it strikes me as something that never got past the “looks kind of cool” stage. Not necessarily a bad stage, but if your fish king uses a cane, at some point you should probably explain that. Anyway, from there we learn that the king hippo (Khipo) literally shits chimichangas and burritos. Yes, and we see this happen in great detail, along with the vomit that comes from a reaction, along with the slipping and sliding on said vomit… yeah, it’s a gross book. Next they’re building a wall to keep all the “illegals” out, and I was expecting some social commentary here, either for or against, it being 2019 and all, but nope, it’s just a wall. Most of the rest of the book is that very long fight scene, meaning it’s time to wrap this up. Despite my overall indifference, there are people reading this who are intrigued by the story or concept, and you people, you’ll probably love this! I could take it or leave it, but I’m also well into the “getting too old to be reviewing comics” stage. Why are you taking comics advice from a curmudgeon? $16
New review today for Survive 300,000,000 Volume 1 by Pat Aulisio. Is that the highest number in a comic title that I’ve reviewed in the 18 years I’ve been doing this? I’ll leave that to the historians to figure out.
Is this the most narratively straightforward comic that Pat has ever done? Eh, probably not. The dude has made all kinds of comics over the years! Still, if you’re looking for an entry point into his very odd and unique world, this is a pretty solid place to start. It’s the year 300,000,000, and things are rough. Humans killed themselves off millions of years ago, reptilians came around and took over but they’re gone now too, and it looks like it’s down to just some scattered groups of creatures here and there. And there’s the boy and his dad, trying to (as the title implies) survive in this harsh world. Right away they’re accosted by a group of green… people? Probably not. They choose not to engage them, and later this group is attacked by a large bear. The bear kills one of them, the boy and his dad kill the bear from a distance, and follow that up by killing the survivors of the group that was attacked. That’s your introduction to this world, so it’s clear what it takes to make it there. A lot of the rest of the book is them traveling through various landscapes, dealing with whatever dangers they find along the way. Things end on quite the cliffhanger, but this is Pat Aulisio we’re talking about; he already has the next part available on his website. I’m still not entirely sure where the whole thing is going, but there’s nothing wrong with that after only reading the first part. It’s definitely worth a look, and as of August 2019 he was selling both parts for $16 altogether. If you just want this part it’s $12, so I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the better deal.