Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews

Stang, Audra – The Audra Show #5

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The Audra Show #5

It’s all 1988 this time around, with two stories, although the one with Owen takes up most of the book. Yeah, I’m jumping right in; I’m assuming everybody reading this already has the previous 4 issues, correct? It’d be a little odd to just jump in with a review of the fifth one. If not, go ahead and order them from her and then come back to this, otherwise you’ll be more than a bit lost. So anyway, Owen is trying to sell his bioluminescent goldfish to Margaux Delmar, but he doesn’t realize that he has something she values far more: what’s under his shirt. Mind out of the gutter, creeps! I’m talking about that thing that would be a spoiler that I’ve somehow managed to avoid mentioning in reviewing the first four issues, so I’ll keep that policy intact. They take their business to a different location, she tries to seduce him, and that’s all you’re getting out of me on that front. The other, much shorter story is a conversation between Bea and Flower, as one of them just wants to have fun and the other just wants to worry about what might happen when her boyfriend gets back to town. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which is which. Looking at Audra’s website it looks like a few things are happening: she’s working on a collected edition (although I don’t know the number of issues it covers) and she’s going to start selling comic bundles for a reduced price. In other words, it will be much easier to get caught up with the Audraverse very soon so, again, you should probably do that if you haven’t already. $5

Skelly, Katie – Maids

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Maids

This is one of those cases where I was really glad that I didn’t read the back of the book before the book itself, but consider this a public service announcement: if you’re ordering this book, good luck coming away without reading some spoilers. Not here, so no worries there, but this is based on a true story of a pair of sisters from the 1930’s. Granted, it’s not like Katie would adapt their story if they lived their lives as maids and nothing ever happened to them, but if you’re curious the details are easy enough to find. This is the story of Christine and Lea, two sisters who end up as maids working for a wealthy (and terrible) family. Christine had already had the job and she talked the family into hiring her sister later. As we progress through the story we see some background, including their awful home life, their time at a convent (including the way Lea ended up getting kicked out after her sister was hired away), all while they both struggle to keep their employers happy. The banality of it all, especially compared to what happens, is somehow devastating, and the actions they eventually take… well. Never mind about that. Even the real life consequences of their actions were shocking, in two very different ways. Huh, now I see why they put the whole story on the back cover. It’s not easy to talk about without bringing that stuff up! Anyway, this is, yet again, probably Katie’s best work, and I don’t know how she manages to top herself every time, but I’m thrilled to be able to witness it. I’ve mentioned in the past how I keep delaying putting my mini comics in order because, you know, endless mounds of comics, but it’s the thought of being able to find all of Katie’s old comics and people like her again that might actually make that happen soon. Hey, if a pandemic and quarantine don’t motivate me, what will? Buy this book, enjoy, and marvel at the spectacle. $19.99

Canini Brian – Two Stories

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Two Stories

Sometimes the title says it all, so if you guessed that this comic has two stories in it… well, that wasn’t much of a guess, really, since it’s pretty obvious. Anyway! The first story here is about a man who wakes up one day with some gunk on his hand. He tries to wash it off but can’t manage it, and soon notices some smoke coming from his hand. He then notices that a society is growing on it, which of course leads to questions about what he’s going to do about it and how it’s going to impact his life, but it’s a short story and I shouldn’t give any of that stuff away. The second story is one of the most honest and open inner monologues I’ve seen about why somebody continues to make comics, which I’m sure at least one person reading this is wondering about right now. It’s not explicitly said that it’s Brian asking these questions, and it’s entirely possible that this is meant to be “some guy” asking these questions and that I’m reading too much into it by assuming it’s Brian. Anyway, it’s raw and fascinating, and he even manages a decent punchline at the end. It’s a different aspect of it for sure, but as I go barreling (limping? wheezing?) towards a 20 year anniversary of rambling about comics here, the question has occurred to me too. How long do I keep this up? I started off as an idealistic dude in his 20s; clearly that’s no longer the case. The best answer I’ve come up with? People do read this site for suggestions about what small press comics are around that are worth checking out. Not many, probably (I’ve lost the password to the stats page so I have no clue of traffic these days), but being a drop of the bucket is fine when it’s a small bucket. Not that anybody asked! You’re here to read about comics. Well, this is a good one, from one of the most prolific and varied people going today. Check it out, why don’t you? $2

Brown, Tim – Dogs

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Dogs

There are two possibilities I’ve seen over the years when it comes to comics that are either written by the children of the artist or the artist him or herself when they were younger: it’s either cringe worthy or frickin’ adorable. This one? Frickin’ adorable. This is from a poem Tim wrote when he was 8 years old about, you guessed it, dogs. Having these lively and occasionally bonkers illustrations helps quite a bit, granted, but the poem itself it also pretty great. I guess I can say a little about the “story,” but you probably already get the idea from the title/concept. This is 8 year old Tim’s conception of dogs, which as far as I can tell is pretty accurate, told in a rhyming format. Some clever bits, and the parts that aren’t that clever are covered up completely by the pictures. I mean, look at that version of the sandman. Neil Gaiman, eat your heart out! So yeah, this really is one of those “all ages” books that can be enjoyed by all ages, and it’s a thoroughly engaging poem about dogs and their eccentricities. Contact info was impossible to find online (hey, you try finding a website when searching “Tim Brown” and “dogs”), but there’s a link up there to where you can buy a couple of his books at the Quimby’s website. Try it out and enjoy! $10

Maandag, Nick – The Follies of Richard Wadsworth

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The Follies of Richard Wadsworth

If you’re pressed for time, or just generally don’t want to know anything about this book, let me just say that I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard at a book this year, or possibly for the last few years. It caused me to head right to Spit and a Half and grab every other comics he’s done. If you need more, I’ll continue, but I wanted to get that out of the way up front. This is a collection of three stories, and in defiance of tradition I’m going to save the longest one for last. The third piece in here is about a Buddhist disciple who is in a desperate struggle with his own horniness. The traditional techniques aren’t working, the temple is integrated (which makes the temptation constantly present) and his friend the monkey isn’t helping one way or the other. Hijinx ensue, along with the questioning of faith and belief in authority figures. The second story is about a night school class, which is an escalating series of events that I’m not even going to talk about, because I’ve rarely laughed harder than I did at this story and I don’t want to give away a single thing. Every note hit, it was exactly as long as it should have been… if civilization survives, this may eventually be taught as the perfect comics story. Finally there’s the main story, the title of the book, which is almost as funny as the one about night school. Or is it funnier? That internal struggle should tell you something. Richard Wadsworth gets a job teaching his philosophy theory, but he’s obviously aware on some level that he’s a fraud and is in a constant state of trying to compensate for it. Once again I don’t want to say anything, but his method of pretending he wasn’t eavesdropping on a conversation (and how he was immediately caught) made me put the book down for a minute because I was literally crying from laughing. And it only got more ridiculous from there, with a series of cascading fuckups and brazen attempts to bluff his way through situations. If you’re never read one of Nick’s books it’s difficult to describe his utterly deadpan humor, how facial expressions and the things not said are every bit as important as the dialogue. I’ll just say that nobody does it better, and this guy had better not get covid. We need to see another few decades of his comics at a minimum. $19.95

Stein, Leslie – I Know You Rider

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I Know You Rider

Who was it that said that memory was an unreliable narrator? Well, he or she was really onto something, because I was going to start this review with an expression of disbelief that I’d somehow never mentioned Leslie on this website, only to do a search and find that I have reviewed two of her comics previously. Two! Granted, they were from 2007 and 2011 respectively, but still. Apparently my memory doesn’t go back that far. Anyway! It’s still surprising that I haven’t mentioned her comics in almost a decade, because she’s been doing amazing work for a very long time. The lack of definition on faces combined with the very real and present story makes for an odd but captivating combination, but maybe I should get into the story before I mention that? 19 years in and I’m still trying to figure out how to structure a review. This is the story of Leslie’s getting pregnant and subsequent decision to get an abortion. It’s told without frills and without any agonizing; it’s simply seen as the best thing for her at the time. The narrative of her time at the doctor’s office is interwoven with the events leading up to that moment, occasionally mixed in with conversations with friends (rarely about abortion, just the life she was living at the time). None of this is meant as a “happily ever after” or some moral dilemna, it’s just real life and, as such, messy and unstoppable. This is one of those stories that’s best experienced bit by bit as you’re reading it, so I’m going to skip my usual thing where I briefly mention various sections of the book. Look, she’s been doing this for roughly 15 years at this point and this is (so far, that I’ve read anyway) her best work, so if you give it a shot you’ll see for yourself. And you should! $24.95

McKay, Billy – Peculiar Paper People #1

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Peculiar Paper People #1

This one’s a mix of a few short pieces, but all in glorious color. Yes, I’m still occasionally impressed just because a book’s in color. I’m easy to please! Stories in here include the true story of the little people that live inside of electric razors (including the real reason why the batteries have to be changed every so often), a numbered tale about an angry boy who doesn’t know he has a lit firecracker on top of his head, four short fables (or possibly poems), and finally an argument between a guy who can’t give up his nostalgic love for an Atari 2600 versus a guy who just wants to enjoy his Xbox. There’s even a funny ad on the back cover to buy his comics, and funny ads can be hard to come by. So: visually inventive, mildly unnerving, funny stuff. These are all good things, so give it a shot! $2.50

Thomas, Grant – The New Normal

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The New Normal

Could it be? Is this the first pandemical mini comic? Knowing how rough my memory is these days I might have said the same thing about a comic a few weeks ago, but let’s just say for now that it’s the first one I can think of. And it’s a wee one, meaning that Grant shouldn’t be the first one done six plus months into this! I mean, sure, constant low level dread makes it tough to make art, but… eh, you know what? That is a pretty good excuse. Never mind. I ramble because this is such a shortie that there’s not a whole lot to say about it. Grant briefly goes through his new daily prep, how he occupies his time, how his kids are being taught remotely, then brings up the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, with questions about what will happen next. It’s done in a fold-out format, sort of; the pages basically form a triangle when you fold them out. It’s a thoughtful mini, the kind of thing I wish I saw more of, honestly. $2

Tomine, Adrian – The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I wouldn’t be reading independent/small press comics if it wasn’t for Adrian Tomine. I’d given up on Marvel books, the mini comics I found weren’t really grabbing me, and then I found Optic Nerve. Then he joined up with Drawn and Quarterly, took a more serious turn with his stories (at a time when I wanted more humor), so I drifted away. Recently I went back through his work, appreciated how amazing those stories really were (mostly, nothing out there is perfect), and how they got better every time out, and I regretted losing track of him. Why I am mentioning all this? Because this book is a hilarious, cringe-inducing list of a number of times fans, other artists and people on the street were thoughtless, rude, or just plain awful to him. He mentions that most of his interactions have been positive, sure, but stories like these are bound to make an impression. This is another one of those cases were I don’t even want to say what the stories are about, so if you’d like to go into this completely unspoiled (and you should, it’s his best work, and that’s really saying something), so long! Go about your merry way. If you’re still on the fence, you’ve clearly never read his work, but sure, I’ll give you some hints. Stories in here include his unfortunate and more than mildly racist first interaction with one of his favorite artists, the lecture he got on his “triumphant” first big convention with D & Q about selling out, the time when he was starstruck on having Frank Miller have to read his name for an award nomination (and how quickly he was deflated), giving an interview over dinner while new to IBS, giving a talk at his daughter’s class and how it was received, giving a “reading” of his work at a library, happening to sit next to a couple critically talking about his work over dinner, and several more stories. At the end of the book he goes into the story of the personal event in his life that inspired him to make this collection, but there’s no way I’m spoiling that. Like I said, this is his best work, but I read Shortcomings, Killing and Dying and Scenes From an Impending Marriage recently too, and they’re all absolutely fantastic. If you’ve lost track of this guy over the years like me, you’re really missing out if you don’t catch up with his work. $29.95

Bishop, Eli – Nine Faces of Nothing

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Nine Faces of Nothing

Eli mentions right on the cover that these are depression comics, but since it’s late September of 2020 as I write this and all kinds of people are depressed for all kinds of new reasons, these comics can be a bit, you know, depressing. Obvious disclaimer out of the way, there’s some really masterful storytelling going on here. There are nine pieces, mostly touching on aspects of depression (one of them is an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story, but his reasoning for why it was included in here was compelling). He touches on the devastation going on in his brain sometimes when trying to keep up a polite smile around people, the danger of letting your true feelings out around other people, living with a voice in his head that’s always telling him how he’s going to die, trying to pinpoint the last moment he was really happy, his brief periods of being catatonic and trying to figure out why it was happening (and how to stop it if possible), and how he was once thinking of self harm and happened upon the perfect means to do it (but he wisely wouldn’t say what it was) before eventually having his job move away from that location. Now, I’m not saying that the reader should take all of these things literally, that every moment of Eli’s life is plagued by every one of these thoughts. They’re stories, and it’s possible if not probable that I’m misinterpreting a message or two. But these stories are devastatingly accurate depictions of what can go through your mind while depressed, or very suddenly while you’re thinking you’re not depressed at all. Knowing you’re not alone in your darkest thoughts is one of the best ways to manage depression, so if you’re feeling that way at all I can’t recommend this book highly enough. $10

Bell, Marc – Banal Complications

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Banal Complications

I’ve been reading Marc’s comics since the start of this website (before, even) and I’ve never seen one quite like this one. This is exactly what the title implies: a series of banal complications, told about 2/3 in text form. But wait, don’t run away yet! The rest of it is still his inimitable artwork, and the cast of characters alone in these stories is worth the price of admission. Unless you don’t want to read about characters that includes “Pudding Horror” and “Nuclear Sidewalk” (among many others), I guess, but the names alone make up for any banality. This is the story of Chop Salad, who has to travel to New York for six months to pick up some artwork, among other things. He has to sort out his apartment, get a subletter, try to maintain his current tax bracket, navigate roommates, and every other activity and consideration that goes into taking a long trip. It’s oddly riveting, but I guess it’s possible that Marc is just one of those people who can do no wrong in my book. If you’re on the fence, I didn’t even reveal the names of characters that made me laugh out loud, because why would I spoil those? This is well worth a look, and even if the story somehow loses you, gaze upon the art and just try to take in all the details. Gaze! $7

Davis, Andrew – Little Circle and the Wishing Fairy

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Little Circle and the Wishing Fairy

So I got a bunch of mini comics in the mail over the weekend, and it looks like most of them have little to no contact info. Which is going to be a shame if they’re all as funny as this one, but we’ll see as I go I guess! This is actually from a fairly lengthy series called Samantha Comics; I’m guessing Samantha Ann Peartree is actually not a real child that Andrew gets his ideas from. But since his former website is now just a site for boner pills (which is the fate for all abandoned websites, sadly), I’m just going to assume that he’s making all this up himself. This one is all about a child named Little Circle, and all she wants in the world is to look at circles and ideally for everything to also be a circle. She’s wishing out loud one day, which calls the attention of a fairy who’s just a gigantic asshole fairy. LC (Little Circle; I’m not going to type it out every time) thinks she’s getting her wish granted but is turned into a fruit bat. She tries to make the best of it and make friends with other bats, this goes poorly and she decides to take another crack at the fairy. LC is turned into something else, and it’s starting to seem like she’s never going to get back to being herself. But… what if she gets turned into something she likes even better? There are also a couple of short strips at the end, and it’s a thoroughly engaging comic with some funny bits, which is all you can ask for, right? At least his storeenvy.com site is still up (as of September 2020), so you can still get this for $2 if you’re curious. If not, the man has made quite a few other comics, so give one a try!

Robertson, David (and Various Artists) – Mount a Rescue

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Mount a Rescue

Thanks a lot for confirming that I need new glasses David! The afterward/credits was officially too small for me to read with glasses on. Which reminds me of a favorite story from this collection, where he compares his reactions to Homer Simpson over the years (when he was much younger than Homer, about his age and actually older than Homer; had the same thought myself recently). This is another collection of stories written by David, about 2/3 (purely a guess) with other artists and the rest he drew himself. This one opens up with a great story about his appreciation of Blade Runner, both the movie, the book, the comics adaptation (which I somehow missed) and of course the score. He goes over the various versions that have come out over the years; he’s also the first person I know of who actually liked the version where Harrison Ford narrated bits of it. If you love the movie too this is fantastic, if you don’t or haven’t seen it this will probably convince you to give it a fresh look. Ah, but what version? Other stories include a caller who claims to have proof of the existence of god, a diary of a day in his life broken up into hourly segments, a story of the discovery of a deep sea diver (in his afterward he mentions his confusion of the end of Planet of the Apes as a child, having no idea what the Statue of Liberty was), tea bags vs. tea leaves, Luke dealing with some conflicting advice from Yoda, trying to relate at an office party, performing your comics out loud, sleep apnea, people complaining about older or younger generations, a butter prank that was killed too soon, a revolt against beauty cream, feelings of hatred long after you forget the reason for the hatred, asking to borrow a kilt, how so many previous heroes have ended up problematic now, and how Mr. T’s fear of planes kept him from going to space like all the other members of the A-team. And even more stories, but aren’t surprises fun? As always, very few people pack as much into a comic as David, with a variety of art styles, which will lead you to even more comics people that you like. Check it out!

Estrela, Joana – Egle and the Snake

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Egle and the Snake

Hooray, a mini kus book where I don’t have to dance around pretending like I know what I’m talking about! I love those too, don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of room for the abstract in my life! This comic was inspired by a Lithuanian folk tale, and there are definitely elements that feel… folky? Is that a thing? Eh, never mind. Things start off with Egle taking a dip in the lake, but when she gets out there’s a snake on her clothes. She politely asks the snake to move, and the two strike up a conversation. The snake seems to have a creepy state of mind about the whole thing (Egle is a high school student), but he’s just vague enough about his intentions that Egle is left confused and even the reader has enough room to have doubts. He seems to be stalling her, even inventing (or not I guess) friends of his that are going to be showing up soon. Finally he offers her a ride home, and that’s where his intentions get a bit less ambiguous, but hey, no spoilers, right? It’s an engaging story with more than a hint of menace, and yet another winner from the mini kus pile. $7

Canini, Brian – Across the Diner

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Across the Diner

How many hours of the day does Brian spend drawing? I’m honestly curious. This is a stand-alone mini, as opposed to one of the series he’s also producing on a regular basis, and it depicts a conversation almost every one of us has had in our heads at one point: should we go over and say hello to that attractive person? In this case we start off with Emily, who’s just been stood up on a date but seems to be taking it in stride, as she plans to get some food anyway and head out. Before this happens a woman walks into the diner who absolutely captivates our hero: she instantly imagines a future with this lady, how they’d probably be compatible but different enough to be able to learn a lot from each other, etc. There’s only one problem: should she go over and introduce herself? It’s the eternal struggle in situations like these, and Brian does a great of portraying all the pros and cons that go through your mind at a moment like that. This one is well worth a look, and I defy anybody to read this mini without relating to at least one thought that goes through her head before it’s all said and done. $1.99

Zutis, Martins – Crime at Babel

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Crime at Babel

I have a confession to make: I don’t speak emoji. Sure, if I get a text with an emoji, I can make sense of it. Two in a row, yeah, probably. Three in a row? Getting dicey. Four in a row or more? Chances are I’ll be calling you for a translation. Why am I mentioning that here? Well, take a gander at that sample image below (most of the book is two page spreads, so I used one of those). Now, want to see me make a fool of myself? Here’s my best guess for what’s being said. First bubble: An explosion? Somebody ran off with a book? What time? Second bubble: A detective is coming by at noon. He is sad about the explosion, and thinks the book may have fallen down a hole or died. And… scene. See? I’m going to be no help at all here. Or maybe I nailed it? I’m guessing it’s the first option. Anyway, the back of the book calls this “a visual riddle, or rather a sudoku in comic form”. I’d have all kinds of trouble with a straightforward story being told in this fashion, but a riddle? For the second time this week, I’ll be leaving this mini kus book by my nightstand, hoping that if I pick it up after waking at odd hours I’ll be able to work my way through the mystery. Or maybe I’ll just ask a younger friend or two who are fluent in emojis what exactly is happening here. The possibilities are two! Oh, and one other thing I got from the back: somebody stole a book from the library and somebody killed a detective. Two mysteries! $7

Hetamoe – Violent Delights

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Violent Delights

This is another one of those times where I’m tempted to just post the synopsis on the back of the comic and call it a day, but I shall resist! Instead I’ll make a fool out of myself trying to make sense of this thing that I’m still trying to put together in my head an hour after reading it. This is an examination of Romeo and Juliet, at least on a macro level. It’s really more of an examination of various quotes from the play, how they bring up imagery of popular culture and/or violence, combined with literary criticism and a call to raise the alarm about how many benchmarks of the ongoing climate crisis we’ve already passed. See? You try writing a review about something with that many layers, and oh by the way I’m leaving out several layers. It’s rare for a comic to feel this… homemade? Raw? Half-formed? No, those are all wrong. Images feel like they’re about to burst through the page at times, sometimes detritus is on pages and feels like it should be a 3D experience; I did find myself touching a page or two to confirm that they were flat. Yes, even though my brain was aware that this was a comic book. This is one of those things that’s going to stay on my nightstand for a few days so I can see what else I can pick up from it, but for review purposes I’ll just say that this was an utterly unique experience, and for people who are curious about how Shakespeare relates to the modern day, pick this up and you’ll find some example. $7

Derry Green, Delaine (editor) – Not My Small Diary #18: The Pet Issue

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Not My Small Diary #18: The Pet Issue

I’m probably going to be rambling about this for awhile, so strap in, but there are only two facts to consider in whether or not you want to give this a shot. 1. Take a look at that list of tags under the review. If you can look at that list of names and not want to buy this immediately, the only other thing I have to say is 2. It’s only $8. And it’s roughly 150 pages. So now that you’ve placed your order with Spit and a Half, what exactly do you have to look forward to? Well, I should have been more honest about one thing before you placed your order: this one is occasionally rough to get through, especially if you have older pets that are noticeably slowing down. Like, for example, me, with a 19 and a half year old cat who mostly sleeps these days and is losing her most adorable habits one by one. Don’t get me started, I’m perfectly content here in the land of denial. So are you in for a giant comic full of stories of pets dying? No, nothing so grim as all that. There are all sorts of types of pet stories in here. There’s Ben Snakepit with the heartwrenching tale of Buster (who died trying to get back to his house after his family had to give the dog up), Mark Campos with his cat’s reaction when she finally got the freedom she seemed to want, Cara Bean’s story of a dog that was found in the wilderness and how it became a constant traveling companion, MariNaomi and the angriest chameleon I’ve ever heard of, Ayun Halliday and the snake who was born again, Andrew Goldfarb and the guinea pig who could keep time to his music, Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz and how her rats eventually got along with her boyfriend’s cats, and T. Motley with his recollection of what mice sound like when they’re utterly defeated by a cat and sobbing. And that’s not even the first half of the book, which leaves you plenty of surprises. It really is impressive how is covers so much ground. Some of these people were indifferent to pets and eventually warmed up to them, some stayed indifferent, some used pets as a jumping off point for the larger story they wanted to tell, or told the story of their first pets. And, of course, there were the people who told the stories of how their pets died. That was the part where I had to take a few breaks while reading this to pet my cat, because sure, I can see the writing on the wall there, but she’s still here now, and I intend to enjoy that right up to the point where she’s no longer enjoying life. Now if only there was a manual of some sort to tell me exactly when that was… Anyway! It’s not about me or my great cat. This is a thoroughly enoyable book, somehow both something an animal lover would find a lot to relate to and a book that’s sometimes hard to take with the deaths and all. Still, I’d just like to repeat: that list of talented artists and that price. Give it a shot, if you haven’t already! $8

Rurans, Roberts – (extra) Ordinary

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(extra) Ordinary

This is one of those mini kus offerings where the concept is so simple (and the execution so thoroughly engaging) that there probably isn’t going to be a whole lot for me to say about it. This is the story of a woman who’s bored at home. First she notices a vase with flowers in it and convinces herself it’s an elephant, then it’s on to a fork with two cherries dangling from it that looks like a strongman, and then onto a carrot that looks suspiciously like a guy breathing fire. It spirals from there, with several ordinary objects in her house being transformed into things that are significantly more exciting than what she was actually seeing, until all of these things join together to put on one hell of a show. It’s delightfully charming; the deceptively simple art and colors draw you right in. If you can read this and have no reaction I don’t know what to tell you, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Another one in the win column for the mini kus crowd! $7

Katz, Keren – Chapter Two

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Chapter Two

These mini kus books can be over in a flash, or they can linger in the mind like this one does. Which isn’t to say that the wordless ones have no value; quite the contrary. But there’s so much going on in this particular mini that it feels more like a graphic novel condensed down into a mini, which is a high compliment in my book. Wow, if this is anybody’s first review here, so long! Sorry about all the talk of the minutae of comics. So what’s the comic about? It’s about Ada moving into the Clock Tower Inn. To encourage the guests to get to know each other, they’re all part of a month long Secret Santa game. To anybody who’s ever taken part in this tradition, the idea of a month of gifts must seem daunting, and our hero quickly proves that to be the case. Ada is assigned Adam, who offers her the clue of his favorite book that she can use when it comes to gift ideas. The problem is that she can’t even look at the book without falling instantly asleep, which forces her to resort to her own ideas (and skills) for gifts. An entire hotel of people exchanging gifts quickly leads to chaos and a lack of space for said gifts, and the whole desire to get the best gifts and stay ahead of the crowd eventually leads to a tragedy, with the perfect line to end things. Yeah, you’ll have to read that part for yourself. Keren’s two previous books showed me that she’s somebody to watch out for in comics, and this mini shows that she can handle this format just as well as the big books. Get in on the ground floor before she gets incredibly famous and ditches the small press comics! $7