Archive for the Reviews Category

Van Sciver, Noah – Blammo #9

Posted in Reviews with tags , on December 7, 2016 by admin

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Blammo #9

I’ve had more and more of a compulsion to get political ever since Trump got elected a few weeks ago (future people, assuming any exist after this administration, we really can’t apologize enough, and please know that more people voted for Clinton but she still lost because America), so in that vein, please read that sample image I posted below. I can’t get out of my head the idea that the sad man baby in the top hat is now the face of the resistance. Sure, I don’t know the guy (Noah didn’t either, clearly), but we’re all going to have to get over this concept of “safe spaces” to survive the next four years. Oh, and Noah also has a new comic out, which is always good news, in spite of whatever else is happening in the world. And hey, he’s just one issue away from taking an independent comic into double digits, which is vanishingly rare these days. Stories in this comic deal with his recent time at the Center for Cartoon Studies (along with a letter from R. Crumb asking him why he was wasting time training when he already knew his shit), the true story of where Blammo comics come from, various strips about 19th century cartoonists, two people with broken hearts and a complete lack of the story going in any direction you may have expected, the dangers of playing a prank with egg sacs from a preying mantis, and his time at a comics convention as a moderately famous artist. It’s a dense pile of stories and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you enjoy/that will make you think/that may change your life in some way. Hey, life changes can come from anywhere, so it could very well come from a comic story. He also has quite a few new graphic novels out over the last few years, so if you’ve lost track of his work somehow you have some real catching up to do. $7

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Sailamaa, Anna – Everyone is Hungry

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on December 5, 2016 by admin

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Everyone is Hungry

Regular readers by now probably know the hallmarks of a review where I don’t have much to say about a comic one way or the other. This doesn’t mean that the comic is bad or that I didn’t enjoy it, just that I don’t have much to add to the experience. In those cases I usually start off a review with a rambling bit of nonsense, trying desperately to kill time and/or fill space to give the appearance of writing a proper review. Eventually this runs out of steam, and I have to try to come up with something meaningful to say about the comic. Which would be right about now, I think. Hi, everybody who stuck through that! This is a mostly silent comic about some kids eating, them sharing their food with some birds and some flowers growing in the yard. Every bit of it is gorgeous and it’s a nice moment in time depicting a quiet meal with some natural beauty along with it. Maybe this won’t end up being one of the more memorable mini kus comics I’ve read over the years, but it is quietly charming, which is a welcome respite from the real world these days.

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Van Deusen, Tom – Scorched Earth

Posted in Reviews with tags , on December 1, 2016 by admin

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Scorched Earth

Old timey readers of this website may recognize that title and author, and that’s because I reviewed an earlier collection of this story, um… earlier. But don’t worry, as the story continues into this graphic novel! For those of you who don’t feel like digging into the archives, the previous comic told the story of Tom (or an alternate version of Tom) as he goes on a few OKCupid dates and is generally one of the worst people in the world while doing so. It also tells the tale of his mediocre to awful job and how little he does at work while trying to get through the days. He ends up falling for a lady who doesn’t seem to appeal to him in any way (outside of getting really drunk one time and sleeping with him), but that does launch him into a lengthy obsession with her and the man she eventually started dating instead of him. Along the way he also decides to try polyamory (after looking up the definition online) and is a big old creep at a party that his college roommate ends up throwing (Tom is described as being 8 years older than said roommate). The Scorched Earth story ends up as gloriously as anybody could have hoped, but wait, there’s more! Tom also tacks on two later chapters of the story at the end of the book, depicting a time four years later after that version of Tom has lost a lot of weight and is desperate to show the woman who spurned him just what she missed. He hires somebody through Craigslist as muscle for when he confronts them (not that he wants to hurt anybody), and things naturally go hilariously wrong. Whichever way you’re guessing it goes wrong, trust me, you won’t see this coming. Tom also included a few other strips in here, dealing with his trying to get in on the vape craze (kids, if you’re reading this after the craze has faded, vaping was people smoking either tobacco or some smokeless junk in a douchey mechanized box of some kind, and all of it was completely untested with nobody having a clue what would happen to them if they used it. Hilarious!), Tom bringing a katana to work and Tom getting a taste of power after he’s told to interview a prospective employee while the actual boss was away. It’s a damned funny book all around, and if you’re single it also serves as a handy guide on what not to do around women and how not to behave. Ladies, nobody asked for it, but if you’re looking for dating advice, “don’t date Trump supporters” is the best I can do for you for the next four years. Oops, I got political at the end. Sorry. Buy this book, laugh, and forget about the bleak reality of our lives! $16

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Moreton, Simon – What Happened

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on November 29, 2016 by admin

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What Happened

I’m going to end up trying to make a bigger point about the nature of art and minimalism, so be warned, and maybe abandon ship on this review while you’re still able if that sounds insufferable. Here, I’ll even give you a short review to make it easier: I liked this comic, and you probably will too, assuming you have normal human feelings and a memory of how confusing things were back before you knew all the rules of social interactions. Because that’s what this comic is about: a six month span in 1995 (found that bit out from Simon’s website) when he was trying out different friends and what was and wasn’t OK to say to them. We get glimpses of a day spent watching a VHS tape on UFO’s, a walk through the woods, a day at the beach, a quiet day inside reading comics and watching TV, a brawl between a friend and his brother, and losing himself while listening to a cassette with a friend. Some or all of those vignettes will probably trigger a memory in you, probably fromĀ  a time that you can barely remember… which has become something of a specialty for Simon. His minimalistic style, the choice that he makes to portray the past this way, mirrors faded memories remarkably well. Go on, try it out for yourself. Picture a memorable day from when you were a kid. Now picture the faces of the people around you and your environment. Really picture both; try for details. You’ll probably end up with something that looks a lot like what he’s drawn here, in one way or another. So yeah, this is another really solid comic from Simon. But it’s also one of the better representations of the fog of older memories that I’ve seen recently. $6

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DeForge, Michael – Meat Locker

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on November 28, 2016 by admin

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Meat Locker

What’s your relationship to physical fitness? Casual gym person? Utterly indifferent to the very idea? Or fanatical health freak? This comic has three strips that deal with the more rabid side of that spectrum, although if you’ve somehow managed to combine being addicted to the gym with the ability to be easily offended if people are poking fun at you, you might have a little trouble with this comic. First up is a series of testimonials from personal trainers, giving their best pitch as to why people should choose them for training. If you’ve ever even been around a personal trainer for more than a minute you’ll find this hilarious. Next is a piece about a personal trainer as the equivalent of a sex phone operator, and the two are a lot more closely aligned than you might have thought. Finally there’s the story of the struggles that jocks go through in their daily lives, how they have to hide who they are and how even the children are forced to choose sides. It’s a dystopian jock nightmare world, which was a welcome change of pace from the actual jock nightmare world. If you’ve ever thought of an obsession with physical fitness as being a sort of mania, you’re going to find plenty that’s funny and/or mildly unnerving about this one. Oh, and Michael is yet another Adventure Time artist who makes incredible comics on the side (or is it the other way around?).

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Gennis, Emi – The Plunge

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on November 20, 2016 by admin

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The Plunge

So how much do you know about the first person to go over Niagara Falls and live? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably something along the lines of “some woman did it first, right?” If you already know everything about it, congratulations! Even so, I’d be willing to bet that Emi has uncovered a few things in here that you didn’t already know. The first woman to go over the Falls and live was Annie Edson Taylor. She lied to reporters and said that she was 43 when she was really 63. And, as was the case with damned near everything in those days, the man who did it after her ended up much more famous and financially set for life. It’s odd not to want to give spoilers for a historical comic, but that habit of mine is too hard to break at this point. Bits of information in this comic include the story of Annie’s early life, the various unexplainable holes in her biography, her reasoning behind wanting to go over the falls, how she got the barrel constructed and her life after the event. I had no idea that the first person to go over Niagara Falls was in her 60’s, which makes an already impressive feat downright ridiculous. This comic is a fascinating bit of history that I knew nothing about, something that Emi has come to specialize in for the last 5 years or so, and, as always, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. $6

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Howard, Luke – Our Mother

Posted in Reviews with tags , on October 14, 2016 by admin

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Our Mother

Quick show of hands, who suffers from some form of clinical depression? All the technology at our disposal and nobody seems any closer at being able to fix any of that for a sustained period of time. This comic is the story of Luke’s mother and her history of depression… sort of. Things start off with a darkly hilarious bit about her parents meeting a mysterious figure in an alley and trying to come up with the best way to make their daughter’s life miserable. They settle on making it so that she doesn’t even want to eat food any more, and from there we get to see the incredibly awkward explanation given by Luke’s father (while his mother is slumped insensate on the couch) about why he’s leaving them. Still, a comic purely about her depression would be unspeakably, well, depressing, so Luke mixes it up with a science fiction story about giant robots in the future who are looking for living humans to care for, the humans who are seemingly invisible to them, and the fruitless nature of them trying to change anything. We also get peeks into Luke trying to give his mother any kind of happiness or relief, a quest to find and use a mysterious portal, the attempted training of an ape and finally the actual history of her depression and the efforts she’s made to get over it. The ending sort of petered out about, but since Luke actually incorporated that fact into the story I think he gets a pass on it. Plus we get to see a farting hotdog, which I did not think I would be doing when I woke up this morning. If you have any history of depression or know anybody who does (which should cover the entire population at this point), there’s a lot to love in here. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find something in here to help you or your loved one. If not, at least you get 20 minutes or so away from the harsh realities of the world, and isn’t that more or less priceless? $9

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Allen, Jon – Ohio Is For Sale

Posted in Reviews with tags , on October 12, 2016 by admin

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Ohio Is For Sale

Three cheers for Alternative Comics for putting out books like this for the last, what, 20 years? I’ve been doing this for 15 years and they had already been around awhile when I started. If it wasn’t for them collections like this probably wouldn’t exist, and the world would be a poorer place for it. I already reviewed the first couple of issues in this series (this volume collects #1-5), and I loved them just as much this time around. It’s a little easier to see the quiet desperation of the characters when the story is put in one place like this, although I don’t think any of the characters (and possibly even Jon) would agree with that description. The overall ennui is such a part of their lives that they mostly don’t even notice it anymore, and they do every stupid thing they can to distract themselves from it. Go back and read the reviews of the first two issues for those reviews; the third issue has one of the roommates (Trevor) being incredibly sick from a cold or something and just wanting an icy treat, but having two other roommates who are too self-absorbed to notice. Their nights end up intersecting in a fairly gross and hilarious way. The fourth issue deals with another one of the roommates (Patrick) deciding to just drive in one direction and hope of the best, and his “adventures” along the way. It’s the most overtly introspective of the bunch, but it still has funny bits like the conversation with the maimed deer that I used for the sample image. Finally there’s Leonard’s sister coming over for a visit, but she ends up inviting her boyfriend. Who ends up inviting a bunch of his friends, meaning there ends up being a party that nobody who lives there really wanted. This issue also ties up a lot of the dangling threads from past issues in such a casual way that anybody who didn’t already realize that Jon was a damned good writer would figure it out by the end of the book. These comics are also filled with little asides that I have no interest in spoiling, and the pacing is masterful throughout. Oh, and he’s clearly using a real map of Ohio in that fourth issue, if anybody cares to follow his route who lives here. This is a pretty great book all around, and if you missed the regular issues I’d recommend this collection to anybody. I do miss not seeing the covers to the remaining three issues, as the covers to the first two were fantastic, but maybe he can put them all in some future fancy hardcover collection. Oh, and the series is still ongoing, meaning there really should be more to come. $20

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Brubaker, Charles – A Witch Named Koko #3

Posted in Reviews with tags , on October 10, 2016 by admin

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A Witch Named Koko #3

It’s the further adventures of Koko and friends! This time around they try to go camping (which, as with all instances of actually trying to actually go camping, ends up going poorly), gather up some ingredients for potions, and use said ingredients to turn into animals. If I told you what sort of animal then that would ruin the surprise, so I’ll leave that up to you. And for a brief second in here I could have sworn that I saw a Bart Simpson body double, but I must have been mistaken. Charles is basically making comics faster than I can review them these days, so if you’re a fan of the madcap tomfoolery of his characters than you have plenty to choose from at the moment. $2

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Nall, Alex – Teaching Comics Volume One

Posted in Reviews with tags , on September 28, 2016 by admin

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Teaching Comics Volume One

Have you ever been a teacher, or wanted to be one? Or have you ever just wondered what their life was like? Or maybe do you just like entertaining comics? If any of these things apply to you, maybe you should give this one a shot. This covers roughly six months in the life of Alex as a teacher (I think; not all of the strips were dated), and it’s all over the place. I don’t mean that as a criticism, it’s just that between this and some other conversations I’ve had recently I get the impression that the life of a teacher is basically spent in a constant state of low level panic at the thought of losing their job, while still secretly hoping deep down that something happens to prevent them from ever needing to teach again. While ALSO being genuinely rewarded by the rare moments of creativity and inspiration from the students, and driven to hopelessness by the conditions in the school/classroom and the general apathy of the students most of the time. Like I said, there’s a lot going on here, and Alex does a fantastic job of conveying that on the page without ever getting preachy or morbid about the whole thing. Subjects include his being in charge of the iPods for the school, managing to inspire a few kids to draw about their favorite wrestlers or music, how the look and sounds of a school can be the same as when he was a kid but somehow vastly different, being baffled by the elimination of recess, wondering if he’s doing any good, getting his drawing class cancelled and taking over teaching disabled and special needs kids, meeting a new girl, and a number of the various interactions he’s had with his kids. He clearly had a wealth of material to work with here, and the story of the kid lining him up, bowling him over and then declaring him his soul mate was one of the funniest things I’ve read in ages. So yeah, this is very much worth a look. $20

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Cass, Caitlin – Cassie Chadwick: Queen of Cleveland

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on September 26, 2016 by admin

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Cassie Chadwick: Queen of Cleveland

I haven’t even gotten a chance to review Caitlin’s last comic yet after my old scanner blew up, and she’s already done with another one. Feel shame, slow comics artists! This is the story of Cassie Chadwick, a lady who figured out pretty quickly the easiest way to gets lots of money: by fooling rich people into thinking that she already had money. It was ingenious, even if it didn’t work out too well for her in the long run. Is it getting into spoilers if I say how it turned out for her? She’s been dead for over 100 years. Then again, I didn’t know how it all turned out until I read this comic, so I’ll leave it a mystery for you. Anyway, she married a few rich people (one at a time), conned a few others, did a little time in prison and then figured out that the world runs on gossip. So she very carefully arranged to be seen leaving the house of Andrew Carnegie, one of the more famous rich people at the time, told one person that she was his illegitimate daughter and then let the socialites do the work for her. Something like this would be a little trickier to pull off now with the internet around, but I’ll bet it’s still possible. This is another solid, informative and thoroughly entertaining comic by Caitlin, who is basically a one woman crash course in the history of the strange and disaffected in American history. So have you heard the rumor that I’m the illegitimate son of Bill Gates?

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Jackson, Rob – Flying Sausage Academy #1

Posted in Reviews with tags , on September 16, 2016 by admin

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Flying Sausage Academy #1

This review will serve as your regular reminder that Rob Jackson is a comics making machine and you should be ashamed that the amount of comics you make in a year will never match his. Luckily it’s not a competition, but there are very few comics artists working who’ve put out the amount of quality work that this guy has over the last decade. And he has a consistent track record of being nice enough to finish his comics series, meaning that you shouldn’t be afraid of future disappointment with that “#1” in the title. Believe me, he knows where he’s going with this. This, by the way, being the story of a new kid at a school who’s given the instructions that he can’t get in any trouble for fighting. This immediately puts the new kid in a tough spot, as the school is run by a bully named King Penguin. Who looks like a weird human/bird hybrid. Yes, this is mentioned almost immediately by one of the characters, and other characters include a pirate (complete with peg leg), a student in full armor, a teacher who throws hot soup on unruly students and a headmaster in wizard robes. This issue sets up this world nicely, as our hero has all kinds of trouble fitting in without causing any sort of problems that would attract the attention of his father while navigating a world with that bully after him. And the several other school factions that could theoretically protect him from this bully, assuming he can figure out what they want instead. His mother is a mystery; she’s bedridden behind some curtains at home but we never see her. So yeah, this is a nice solid bit of world building, with a varied cast of characters that could go in a number of directions moving forward.

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Bravo, Kyle – Forever and Everything

Posted in Reviews with tags , on September 14, 2016 by admin

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Forever and Everything

I do very much love it when artists don’t get offended by a past criticism of mine. It doesn’t happen often; the most common reaction when I get a response to something critical I’ve said is thanks, that at the very least maybe I’ve made them think about things in a different way. And sure, sometimes people get mad, as it’s not like I’m going to be right in every thing that I think, and there are even times when I’m having a shitty day and I say something awful in a review as a result. Very rarely, and I’ve gotten better at that over the years, but I am only human. Anyway, long and pointless intro short, I mentioned in the review of Kyle’s last comic that his early drawings “looked like garbage.” Instead of taking this personally, or even giving up because one guy on the internet said something bad about an aspect of his comic, Kyle thought it was funny and even mentioned it in his intro. To be clear, the rest of my review mentioned how much better the book got as he went along, and that sloppiness was an inherent danger of daily diary strips… eh, that’s why I keep an archive here. Read it yourself for the whole story. My point being: artists, never take critics all that seriously. Me, I’m just in it for the free comics. So how about this comic? Kyle has decided to keep going with his strips, but instead of continuing to do them daily (with a small child that’s a dicey proposition anyway) now he just draws them when possible and “as funny or interesting things occur.” That right there should be the motto of all daily diary artists, but then I guess that would take the “daily” out of the equation. Kyle also makes the interesting choice to really maximize space, as strips fill out each page, with them being continued on the next page until they stop. Meaning a strip can be four panels and done or 12 panels and done; once that happens he puts up a title card to signify the start of the next strip to move you along. Environmentalists, shouldn’t you have figured this out years ago? Think of all the paper just this one guy is saving. Subjects in here include the ongoing development of Jamie, having chickens, not having chickens, making a mural, injuring himself, being away from the family, the personal woe of headaches, accidentally getting a faux hawk, and jury duty. It’s some pretty solid storytelling, but the only complaint I have is that after ten minutes of looking around online I’m still not sure where exactly people can buy a copy of this book. The only thing I’ve seen is an Etsy listing that has this for 69.93 SEK, which sounds totally made up. That should always be easy to find for anybody looking for your name. But hey, send the guy an email, that should do the trick too.

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Davis, Eleanor – Libby’s Dad

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on September 12, 2016 by admin

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Libby’s Dad

So the thing about kids is that it’s easy for them to be assholes. Which isn’t a judgment; assholes make the world go around. But when there’s a rumor about the father of a girl in a group of friends, and when said father holds a slumber party for this group at his house (a new house from the ongoing divorce that comes with a pool), that rumor is going to get talked about eventually. Things start off with five girls at this pool party, but a sixth member of the group is missing. It turns out that this girl is missing because the mother of this girl heard about the rumor too, and she didn’t to take any chances. The rumor? That Libby’s father, during an argument in the divorce proceedings, threatened to shoot Libby’s mother. There were no independent witnesses to this comment, and the story came from Libby’s mother, but nobody knew quite what to believe, especially teenage girls with no frame of reference. The girls manage to have fun anyway (well, Libby seems a bit withdrawn), until one of them accidentally knocks over a bottle of nail polish and realizes that they’re going to have to get Libby’s father to help. And who knows what his reaction will be? This is another gorgeous comic from Eleanor and she does some amazing things in this full color format. Artists don’t always get credit for utilizing colors well, but they should and she does. I was going to say that she should stick to color comics from now on, but then I went back through some of her older reviews on this website and she does amazing work in black and white too, so never mind. It seems to be the whole “making comics” thing that she’s good at. So yeah, it’s well worth a look. $8

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Hart, Tom – She’s Not Into Poetry

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2016 by admin

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She’s Not Into Poetry

Do you ever feel like you’ve wished something into existence? Well, that’s this graphic novel. I’ve been hoping for a collection of all of Tom’s early mini comics basically since a few of them went out of print in the 90’s, and here they are. All the titles are in the tags and sure, I have copies of about 2/3 of them, but that’s still 1/3 that I previously had no access to. And since I have some of the original comics, that means that I have 20 year old belly lint by Tom Hart, because he taped that to two of his minis. Um, yay? Does that mean I can clone him once the technology is perfected? I have to think through the ethical implications of that responsibility. Oh, am I not talking about the comics yet? How about this: these comics were a solid chunk of the reason why I fell in love with small press comics, and the fact that these had mostly disappeared down the memory hole in the early 00’s was a solid chunk of the reason why I started a small press comics review site where books like these could all be lumped together. So yeah, you could say that the guy influenced my life just a bit. Oh, here’s one valid question I could answer with this review: do these comics hold up as more than nostalgia? Yes. Yes, they do. Want specifics? Wodaabe Comics is the earliest (and rawest) and it still made me laugh several times. Love Looks Left, if there is any justice in this world, is being taught in all these various cartoonists schools as the perfect mini comic. Maria mixes some casual background horror with a quiet day with the ducks with an obsessed stalker seemlessly. New Hat and Ramadan are both basically prequel comics for Hutch Owens, even though I’m pretty sure Hutch Owens was done at roughly the same time. Vital supplementary comics, the both of them. This comic does make me miss the days when I could occasionally come across a new Tom Hart mini comic in Quimby’s or Chicago Comics, and it looks like those days are gone for good. But it does fill me with hope to know that a guy with this brain is helping to teach the next generation of cartoonists. Just in case you are the only person on earth who has every single comic here, this volume does contain a new introduction, afterward, and a list of his favorite things/influences/people, then and now. $14.95
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Henderson, Sam & Various Artists – Magic Whistle 3.0 #1

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on September 4, 2016 by admin

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Magic Whistle 3.0 #1

We can all agree that the world would be a better place with more Magic Whistle in it, but Sam Henderson is just one man with other demands on his attention. What’s the solution to this problem? Bring in more funny artists! That’s the general idea with this latest version of Magic Whistle, and it’s a fantastic idea that works splendidly in this first issue. Sam does his thing better than most funny people so you know going in that that’s going to be good (check the handy chart to see what gum is called in your state; Ohio is “Pennsylvania asparagus”). But what about the newbies? Well, to start with, I think they’re all oldbies (i.e. people who have been making comics for years now), so no worries on that front either. John Brodowski (if you’re a regular around here that should be a familiar name) has a series of strips involving Sid and Sid (basically a carnival barker and a mute ghoul, although it’s probably best not to know for sure exactly what they are) spreading knowledge and horror wherever they go. Manuel Gomez Burns picks apart the traditional gag comic, spending a lot of time with the character in the last panel who always plops over in horror/outrage/hilarity and exactly what might make this character tick outside of the frame. Leah Wishnia devises the ingredients necessary to create the perfect spitball and show the devastating effects of such an object. Jesse McManus’s comic might require some knowledge of older Magic Whistle strips (mostly the ones where the bear and the human exchange body parts with each other with joy and hilarity), but he injects some unsettling realism into that hypothetical situation. Finally there’s Ansis Purins, another familiar name to regulars around here, with an oddly sweet tale of brothers with little in common who go out to plant a tree. And because it’s Ansis, some version of zombres are of course involved. Here’s hoping that increasing the pool of funny means more Magic Whistles in the world, because we’re all going to need something to laugh about over the next few months, he said, injecting a slight political note into an otherwise non-partisan review. Don’t vote Trump, you dummies. But do buy this comic, because it’s funny. $5.99

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Brown, Bryan G. – Slump

Posted in Reviews with tags , on August 8, 2016 by admin

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Slump

(Images were taken from Bryan’s website due to my still-busted scanner)

After spending the last few years reading Bryan’s tales of becoming an MMA fighter, I had a pretty clear guess on what a comic of his called “Slump” would be all about. And, as is usually the case when I make guesses like this, I was completely wrong. This is the story of the death of Bryan’s mother and how he coped with it. The answer, which should be obvious to anybody with human emotions: not well. He was guilty about perceived faults along the way, about not taking her earlier illness seriously enough, and about not spending enough time with her. And he makes a very important point in here, which is why I used the sample image that I did. The “five stages of grief” that everybody talks about are always discussed like they’re linear, that once you get through the last one that you’re free and clear. But anybody who has lived through the death of a close family member knows that any one of those stages can come up again at almost any time. Bryan, for instance, spent weeks reaching for his phone to call his mother about some mundane aspect of his life or a question he had for her, only to realize all over again that this just wasn’t possible any longer. This is a heartbreaking book, but it’s also hopeful, and it doesn’t take any shortcuts to get there. Time helps, a little, and so does input from family and friends. I could see this being a very helpful book for somebody who is struggling with their own grief. And, if nothing else, you could always buy his comic about monsters fighting each other to go along with this one. Two very different ways of dealing with grief, but any relief is good relief, right?

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Brubaker, Charles – A Witch Named Koko #2

Posted in Reviews with tags , on August 4, 2016 by admin

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A Witch Named Koko #2

Sorry once again for the lack of sample images, but Charles’ website has you covered if you’re curious. You can also see sample images on past reviews of his comics, but you already knew that. This issue is mostly all about getting to a train station and taking a train ride, so naturally you’re going to get a scene where a damsel in distress is tied to some train tracks. Charles had an innovative solution for getting her free with the least amount of fuss, I’ll give him that. I’ll also be honest here and admit that I didn’t really get the ending, as it seemed like things just petered out after the train got it their destination, but maybe I missed something. There were a few funny bits to this one, as always, but overall it felt more scattered that most issues. Still worth taking a look, but there are funnier issues of his out there to check out. His pace is ridiculous, so when I say that there are other issues out there, I mean that there are lots of other issues out there. Go on, check out his website, see if I’m wrong… $2

Porcellino, John – King Cat #76

Posted in Reviews with tags , on August 2, 2016 by admin

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King Cat #76

IMAGES WERE TAKEN FROM JOHN’S WEBSITE DUE TO MY BROKEN SCANNER. Sorry about the shouting, but I wanted to make that perfectly clear. In the future there will probably be some way to ID him just through the picture of his hand, which is one of the many reasons I don’t want it to look like I’m trying to pull one over on the guy. That and my 20+ years of the utmost respect for his work. OK, maybe it’s mostly that one. Anyway, look everybody, it’s a new issue of King Cat! I always feel like I should end the reviews there, because what else do you need to know, but that would be cheating. This comes out at a time after when John was dealing with a few serious health issues and had to cancel a few conventions to give himself a chance to heal up a bit. Fun trivia fact for just about nobody: if John had gone to SPACE this year, I would have been his table neighbor, as I was there registering voters for the local Board of Elections. Which would have been a ton of fun on my end, but I’ll take him getting healthy and making comics for another few decades over that any time. Going along with his mood and troubles, this issue is maybe even more contemplative than most, which is saying a lot. Subjects include sketching while waiting for car repairs, seeing an old couple eating from his car, memories of his old and constantly freezing apartment, and several short pieces that are his trademark illustrated poems. There are also quite a few letters, with several familiar names checking in (just in case you’ve been reading comics for as long as I have and wonder what people like Jeff Zenick, Ariel Bordeaux and Jenny Zervakis are up to). He also got a few responses to his Maisie tribute issue in #75, so if you thought you had no more tears left after reading that one, trust me, you’ll find a few more after reading some of these letters. I just reminded my 15 year old cat that she’s immortal, so I’ll stay in denial about that one for as long as is humanly possible. So yeah, obviously you should get this issue. You should get every issue of King Cat. That’s clear by now, right? If nothing else comes from 15 years of this website, I hope that sticks. John is also hurting a bit for money and has set up a Patreon page to try to help with his monthly expenses. Looks like he’s up to 224 people as of this writing, so why not help him out? You can even think of it selfishly if that helps, as if you donate over $6 a month that gets you physical copies of any comics/zines he makes. Help the guy out! Screw giving him just enough to get by every month, we should try to make him filthy rich. $5

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Wilson, Sean Michael & Stromberg, Hanna – Once Upon a Time in Morningside

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on August 1, 2016 by admin

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Once Upon a Time in Morningside

How much would you get out of returning to your childhood home 25 years after you left? Or did you ever leave? Let’s assume for the sake of this theoretical conversation that you did. What would pop back into your mind when you returned? This comic deals with Sean going back to his childhood home (I assume it’s Sean, as it’s described as being “his most intimate book so far,” but I don’t know whether or not every single thing in here really happened to him) and immediately getting looked at suspiciously because he lingered too long outside of his childhood home (the new owner seems like the suspicious sort). From there Sean goes to a quiet place and lets his mind wander, where he remembers about a half dozen things that happened to/around him as a kid. Nothing terribly traumatic, just little snippets of his life that stuck with him over the years. There’s his chance encounter with a kid from the local boy’s home, coming across a pretty great hut in the woods and smashing it to bits (and what came from that), being so proud of building a small brick wall and the reaction of his grandfather, scaring himself with a friend in the woods after watching a movie about Bigfoot (I think?) and the consequences of running face first into barbed wire, getting an unfortunate present at their fort and how little it did to ruin their day, and trying to hang with the big kids on a rope swing. Each of these tales is punctuated by his current thoughts about it, what he learned from it and questions about whatever happened to the other kids in the story, whether or not any of them still thought about that day. There’s also a pretty great outro that ties the whole story together, but I’ll leave that one a complete mystery. Hanna does a fantastic job conveying subtle emotions, meaning that Sean doesn’t have to write a point into the ground when Hanna can show the same point without a word. I’m curious to see more from both of them now, and this is yet another amazing comic from the Big Ugly Robot people. $6.50

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