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Nall, Alex – Teaching Comics Volume One

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Porcellino, John – King Cat #76

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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

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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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Jarvis, Mulele – Elbis and the Orphan Daughter of Time

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Elbis and the Orphan Daughter of Time

Note: all images have been taken from the Big Ugly Robot website due to my broken scanner. Please buy some of their comics to alleviate my guilt. Also because they have a ridiculously impressive record of publishing quality comics, so you could literally just blindly buy a few comics and be in for a treat. I’m a dummy so I started reading this book backwards (or forwards to America readers; at least you can see how I made that mistake), so I saw the dedication of this book before I started the story. It’s dedicated to suicidal people, both the ones who recovered and the ones who went through with it. Mulele himself was suicidal for years, and he’s clearly speaking from experience in here. Also connected to that story is the cat pictured on the cover, how it has been reincarnated and the human that it’s supposed to be helping. Along the way we get to see snippets of its former life, what it loved and how it managed to save its humans from a house fire. Personally, I’d be thrilled to see an entire comic dedicated to the philosophical discussion that the dead cats had in between lives, but I’m a weirdo like that. This is a heartfelt and moving comic, and we should all be so lucky as to have a reincarnated cat watching over us at our lowest moments. Or hell, maybe those of us with cats already do. I’ve always had the impression that my cat would start eating my face about three minutes after I died, but then again she is awfully comforting for those low moments. Anyway, if you’ve ever had any dark moments where suicide seemed like a genuine possibility, for one thing ALWAYS give it some time (there’s no taking back suicide), and this comic may genuinely do you some good. #6

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Crespo, Jaime – Tortilla #4

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Tortilla #4

See, here’s where my lack of a working scanner really hurts the review: Jaime doesn’t have a working website. So no free samples to be had there to help you make up your mind. Then again, how much convincing do you really need? Jaime has been making quality comics for 25ish years and he has a new issue out! What more do you need to know? And yes, it would be cheating if I bailed on the review right there. Jaime has had a rough few years (which accounts for the delay between issues), but he hasn’t lost a step with his comics skills. This one has four stories, and the subjects include observational evidence that the worst drivers all own gold cars (which is not something I’ve ever noticed, but it’s certainly going to be on my mind while driving from now on), an especially obnoxious local drunk who eventually motivates the town to pool their resources to get a one-way ticket to get him out of town (and what happens next), Jaime’s efforts (as a child) to help a friend sell some candy bars so they’d be free to play and their chance encounter of a celebrity, and Jaime’s history of skateboarding and surfing. Oh, and in regards to that celebrity, I’m not going to spoil it, but there story is set in the 70’s, so let your imagination run wild in your guesses. Jaime is also still working on a big old graphic novel that I can’t wait to see, and he’ll even be in Columbus for Sol-Con from October 13-16th (2016, in case you’re reading this in the future). That lineup of guests is ridiculously stacked, so come to Columbus for the show! In the meantime, buy this comic. You know that lack of a sample image is driving you nuts, and there’s only one way to learn what celebrity he ran into in the 70’s… $4

 

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Hendricks, Robert – Sinaloa Cowboys

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Sinaloa Cowboys

Huh, I can honestly say that I never thought I’d put “Bruce Springsteen” into the tags for any review. This is Robert’s adaptation of one of his songs, and he does take care to credit Bruce every step of the way in here. I’m assuming Bruce would be fine with something like this? I can’t see why not, but it’s not like I know the guy. This song is the story of two immigrant brothers who worked on farms for awhile before being given a chance to work with meth. They couldn’t pass up the money, but inevitably an accident happened that changed everything. Should I be worried about spoilers in a comic based on a song from 1995? Almost certainly not, but the habit is too ingrained in me to stop now. Robert also includes a history of the song, where it lands in Bruce’s discography and the inspiration for it. In other words, if you’ve ever had questions about this song specifically, or just how Bruce gets inspired in general, chances are that you’ll learn something from reading this. If you have no interest in either of those things, I guess you could still get something out of this as another cautionary tale about not cooking meth. Oh, and apologies to Robert for straight up lifting these images from his website, but my scanner is still broken, and aren’t reviews better with images? $4

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McNinch, Carrie – You Don’t Get There From Here #36

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You Don’t Get There From Here #36

Ten years! That’s how long Carrie has been doing daily diary strips as of this comic. Which covers December of 2014 to March of 2015, so technically it’s more like 12 years that she’s been doing daily diary strips by now. Assuming that she didn’t take an extended break somewhere, as her website has images of her of the cover of #38 recently. But I think Carrie has a solid track record of doing this by now. If you have no idea what this is, shame on you a little bit, but it’s exactly what is sounds like: Carrie does mostly three panel strips detailing notable events from her day. At this point in her life she’s getting annoying hot flashes, dealing with a father with Alzheimer’s, babysitting the child of a friend (pictured on the cover, and clearly one of the great joys of Carrie’s life) and dealing with the sudden kidney problems of one of her cats. Her father seems to be what’s mostly on her mind, although her mother refuses all offers of help and Carrie isn’t dealing with it on a daily basis. Still, she has plenty of memories of her father when he was in his right mind, and they don’t seem to be all that happy, which complicates the recent illness even further. She also loves her cats dearly, and I can certainly relate to trying to research and figure out the best possible diet for a cat while also panicking about possibly making the wrong choice. It’s another solid issue from Carrie, and I’d say that 36 issues (plus however many other comics based on other subjects) makes for a pattern by now, wouldn’t you? She has a new book out with strips about various nonfiction books that she’s read that looks interesting, but you could pick just about any comic that she has available randomly and be in for a treat.

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Brubaker, Charles – A Witch Named Koko #1

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A Witch Named Koko #1

Yep, without a working scanner this is what I’ve been reduced to: pilfering scans off of the artist’s website. Even though it’s of the first three issues of a series where I’m only reviewing the first issue (today, anyway). Sigh. If anybody out there is independently wealthy and would like to send me a pile of money for a new scanner, please feel free to use that email address for some Paypal cash. Also, use the rest of your fortune for good, as most rich people are profoundly boring in how they spend their money. Oh hi, comic book I haven’t started talking about yet! It’s another funny book from Charles, and it’s another one that the kids could enjoy as much as the adults. This time around Koko finally hears of the witching hour (midnight on a full moon) and how that is when the power of witches is at their highest. Koko has never experienced this before, as she goes to bed early, so the rest of the issue deals with her trying to stay awake (with the “help” of her sister) and eventually dealing with her new power level. There’s also an important public service announcement on the back about skeletons and whether or not you have one, so don’t forget to flip the book over when you’re done. $2

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Robertson, David – Zero Sum Bubblegum

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Zero Sum Bubblegum

My bias is showing again, but I’m always delighted to get another comic from David. Mostly because I know that it’s most likely going to be a collection of short stories, and that it’s damned near a certainty that at least a few of those stories are going to amaze/amuse/befuddle me, and in the best possible way. The other way, in case you were curious, is the “what the hell did I just read and why did I read it?” reaction. Not a problem here! Anyway, this time around subjects include picking your best possible funeral song (which I would have used for the sample image if my scanner was still working), the history of “A Book With Death in the Title” and what happens to the people who read it, an attempted school assembly and the shenanigans going on, tiddlywinks, Bruce the Rat, the fact that nobody is going to keep track of whether or not you give up your seat on the bus for an old lady, trying to finish a comics page vs. trying to comprehend the new mandatory Windows upgrade, sexy Frankensteins, sexy cavemen, scanning for wedding rings on the ride home, that Iron dude in that one suit, having the conviction to play the scrabble words that you’re given, kitten brains vs. lady brains, getting it all out on the deathbed, Princess Leia’s troubles with men, intimidation in the testing room (with Pam Dye), the victory lap (with Paddy Johnston), a lack of comprehension on stamps (with Tim Kelly), the art of engaging in television (with Neil Paterson), looking for that lost thing (with Eileen Budd), taking the lack of a Facebook reply too personally (with Ludi Price), random cruelty on a carnival ride, a dedicated punker, and falling silently through space to your death. Well, not your death specifically, but you know what I mean. Once again this is a really solid collection of stories; that Princess Leia piece should lead off the next movie as far as I’m concerned. How she trusts any men at this point is beyond me. David also has an extensive afterward as usual, so any questions you might have about these stories have most likely been answered (I know they were for me). So yeah, once again you should buy his book. Sure, you could get a few samples for free, but rarely the whole story, and wouldn’t you rather have the whole story? Not to mention the very idea of supporting an artist whose work you enjoy with your money. You still do that, right? Because it’s easy to forget to do it. And it’s roughly $5, assuming I have the exchange rate right in my head, which I almost certainly do not.

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Forsyth, Kaeleigh & Pizzo, Alabaster – Hellbound Lifestyle

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Website for Alabaster

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Hellbound Lifestyle

A couple of points before I start rambling about this comic:

1. It’s still the writer first and then the artist in terms of the order on the cover, right? Or am I the only one who even thinks about such things? and

2. It took entirely too long for Google to think I was typing anything other than “Alabaster Pizza Hut.” That’s not a real thing, right? I refuse to do even the minimal research required to find out if that’s a thing.

So hey, this comic? It’s hilarious. It’s insightful, it’s unsettling, it’s occasionally baffling (in the best possible way) but the most important fact is that it’s hilarious. Which is an impressive fact when you consider than at least a few of these stories are just pages of verbatim conversations taken from Kaeleigh’s phone. This is yet another one of those cases where I don’t want to ruin anything about this book while reviewing it, which increasingly makes me wonder why I’m still doing this, but since all of humanity isn’t going to buy every book that I say they should buy (even though that sample image should reel everybody in), I’ll slightly describe a few things. Fair enough? Subjects include problems in her life that she’s learned to live with, text typos changing meaning, ideas for rebranding herself, the new shoes for the people in Heaven’s Gate, her baffling habit of staring into an empty fridge, all the red flags in her co-worker’s recent engagement, all the dark places her mind goes while working on an edit test for sunglasses, her existential crisis while waiting for people to “like” a photo, the pro (s) and cons of sex, and Siri getting passive aggressive on her. That’s only bits of the first half of the book, the rest is up to you. Kaeleigh also has lots of sample images at her page, including conversations she had after the book came out a few months ago, so convince yourself if you have to, but find $10 and buy this comic. You need it. $10

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Panetta, Kevin & Morgan, Jared – Mutant Punks Fuck Off #1

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Mutant Punks Fuck Off #1

Call me an old timey punk if you want (or maybe just old), but doesn’t it undermine your case of being a punk book when you cross off “fuck” from the title? Yeah, it’s an odd thing to be cranky about, and the book itself is chock full o’ fucks, but it struck me as odd. Anyway, how about that comic? It’s basically an excuse for an extended fight scene, but it was a pretty great fight scene. The Vomit Lords are leaving a punk show when they go to the local fish market. One of the shopkeepers is despondent because the fish are mutating and he’s barely able to make a living, which is when The Nimrods come onto the scene with an ultimatum: that whole area belongs to the same people who are polluting the river, and the market has to get out of town in a hurry. The Vomit Lords disagree, and the rest of the comic is the aforementioned fight scene. And what sets off the fight scene? Just the most awful word for any punk band to ever hear. It’s a fun comic overall, and my quibble about that title is a very minor thing indeed. If you like mayhem and/or punks you’ll have a lot of fun reading this. $3

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Steiner, Steve – Satan Cat #2

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Satan Cat #2

Cat people, gather round! Dog people and weirdos who don’t like any pets at all, this one probably isn’t for you. Or maybe it is, if you’re intrigued by the concept of a cat literally thinking that it’s Satan. But is it actually Satan, or is the cat crazy? That’s the premise of this unexpectedly complex issue. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all still easy enough to grasp, but the bulk of this comic is a conversation between the cat and a mouse toy, with the mouse toy playing the role of the sane one of the two. This toy also points out the absurdity of it being the rational one and that the cat should think about that, at which point the comic almost collapses in on itself. It’s another funny issue but, as is often the case with a mini this small, there’s not a whole lot for a reviewer to talk about outside of the basic “yea or nay” issue. So… yea! It’s always fun to watch one of the most smug creatures on the planet question its own sanity.

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