Archive for category Reviews
There are times when I’m not sure if something is meant to be funny or if I’m just taking it too seriously in general, and this is one of those times. This comic deals with a summer job that Matt had fixing wiring. There was a 50 mile drive every day to get to the jobs, and they were always driven by the same guy who seemed to have boundless energy. You may be able to see where this is going, but eventually the company mechanic discovered cocaine in a pack of cigarettes left in the van, but the guy who was asked about this was good friends with the driver, so they blamed some other poor schmuck, who seemed to have his life more or less ruined by his failing a drug test. I’m curious if the guy failed a test for cocaine too or some other drug, but that was never addressed. Anyway, overall this is a lighthearted story about working a summer job with a bunch of pranksters, but then I had to go and get all serious all over it. The art looks a little sloppier than the last issue of his that I reviewed (then again, I have no idea of the order in which he made these comics), with some odd blotches and scratches here and there. Like maybe the art being copied a few times? Hard to say. I just flipped through it and noticed that he copied a panel on two pages, which strikes me as a bad idea for an eight page comic. Anyway, I guess it’s clear that I was underwhelmed overall, but hey, I did like his other comic, so maybe you should check that one out instead.
Gag Rag #3
I’d like to start with a personal note to Jeff, just in case he reads this at some point: all those “do not bends” that you wrote on the envelope? Yeah, they don’t work. I wish they did, and I get why you’d put a bunch of them on the envelope, but my postal worker clearly sees those as more of a challenge than anything else. This could also be a note to other people who send me oversized comics, so there you go. Minis can fit in my mailbox easily, so no worries there. Now that I’ve dispensed with the utterly irrelevant portion of the review, how about the rest of this comic? There’s a lot to love, that’s for sure. Subjects include a running story dealing with God, his cat, Father Time and Baby New Year (in case you’re wondering, the name of God’s cat is “Cat”; the story deals with creation and time and all kinds of things), a dancing dog that leads into the title reveal, the farm (and some of the chickens on the farm), buying the lighthouse, dogs and their activities, and the golden egg. There’s also the highlight of the comic, but I say that because I’m biased: a story about the characters from “Friday Night Lights.” You may not know about the show, or you may not even have tried it because it’s about high school football, but you are wrong, and it really was one of the better shows of the last decade, and Jeff’s story of a night at the house of Coach Taylor was funny in all kinds of way. It also turns out that there is apparently an anthology in the world filled with stories like these, and it makes me sad that I don’t own it. Anyway, the thing I liked the most about this comic was the way that any one of the strips could pop up again later in some brief form. They were all mostly self-contained bits, but these characters are clearly trapped in a comic hell, and it’s delightful to read about it. You should read it too!
I really hope the $10 price tag doesn’t scare people away, as this is one hell of a comic. Actually it’s more like three mini comics bundled together (or four, but then the fourth would just be a regular old short story, which would be an odd format for a mini comic). See, there’s your value right there! Things start off with a table of contents that is brilliant because the comments in it can be appreciated before and after reading the stories in entirely different ways. Granted, you probably have to see that to know what I’m talking about, but that only places you at fault for not having the comic yet. The first story is about an awkward conversation on a bus, a misunderstanding of what constitutes a disability and the odd expectation that strangers on a bus will care what you’re talking about. It’s a little grotesque, and I mean that in the best possible sense. The next story answers the question of the origin of the universe, along with many of the questions that go along with it. Will everyone be satisfied? That is an impossibility, but I’m thinking about starting a religion based on this theory, purely so I can be tax-exempt too. The final comic story is a literal interpretation of the “square pegs can’t fit in a round hole” theory, and how the pegs that don’t fit can still make things better. I’m glossing over all the wonderfulness in those stories because only jerks reveal everything about stories where you’d be better off figuring them out for yourselves, but I thoroughly enjoyed all three of them, with the story about the origins of the universe winning the prize for best in the bunch, if such a prize existed. Finally there’s a short story about a beard growing a face by Jason Ciaccia. I go back and forth on short stories in comics, usually coming to the conclusion that they’d be better in zines or books, but there was a lot to love about this one. The central idea is sentient beards, so it’s hard to go wrong when you start with that premise. Check it out, there’s a lot to love here. $10
Quick, I’m looking for a solution to an unsolvable problem. Bear with me, it does relate to this comic. Pam puts out these minis at a fairly rapid pace. They’re usually 8 pages, maybe a bit less if the cover doesn’t bleed over into the actual comic, or if the back cover doesn’t conclude the story. Pam also has a fairly vast collection of characters. Now, my memory could charitably be described as “hot garbage” on recognizing characters (and, more importantly, their relationships to other characters) under those conditions, and because I tend to read her books every 3-6 months. So how can this problem be solved? Obviously Pam can’t put a full list of characters (and how they relate to the other characters) in every comic, as she just doesn’t have enough room. But I know I remember that one character from that one mini, and it’s driving me nuts that I can’t place him. Somebody solve this please! As for the comic itself, it’s delightful. Things start off with a train conductor getting some tea at a coffee shop. I love the fact that the server has four arms; that he can both aimlessly scrub the counter and cross his arms with barely-concealed contempt for all customers, just like a real coffee shop worker! The conductor then sees a giant trophy and goes to congratulate the young man who has won it, but things aren’t as they seem, and once again there isn’t enough comic for me to walk you through the whole thing while still leaving enough for you to enjoy. But it involves science!
One tiny complaint to get things off on the wrong foot, as I liked the actual comic: more Dusty-isms, please! Dusty Rhodes was (and probably still is) a quote machine, and you can’t use a title like that and then only include three quotes. Oh, and if you don’t know who Dusty Rhodes is (old school wrestling legend) and are thinking that Matt draws him like a monster, well, the guy kind of looks like a monster. Which he played up back in the day by wearing a skin tight black and yellow polka dot outfit, and the guy wasn’t exactly svelte. Anyway, the three quotes are golden, so I’ll just leave those for you to discover. Other stories include a very long trip in a very short period of time (featuring much drinking, and as a guy who is careening through his late 30′s I would have loved to have seen an age group that pulled off the drinking feats depicted here), how an office environment compares to the world of pro wrestling (it’s closer than you’d think), and a surprisingly insightful tale of how little and how much things have changed over the last 60 years or so. It’s a little heavy on the wrestling references, but that shouldn’t be enough to scare you away, as Matt went to great lengths to make them relatable to everyday life. Give it a look, eh?
Sunnyville Stories #7
OK, this one is going to be a little tricky to review. Kids, do you know who Abbot and Costello were? No? Hm. Well, they had this joke about baseball players with different names and the comedic possibilities that came from those names. Their names were things like what, who, why, that sort of thing. So when somebody asked “Who’s on first?”, the joke was something like the fact that “Who” was the second basemen, while “What” was the first basemen, and this is a perfect representation of why anybody who attempts to describe humor is a fool. Objectively, as somebody who grew up in the 80′s, the skit didn’t do a lot for me, although it did help to see the original sketch, as their comedic performances saved the bit (to my modern day tastes, anyway). So what’s the point of my bringing all this up? This comic deals with a celebration at the house of a very rich lady, but it was put together at short notice and all of the servants have the day off. A trio of brothers (Who, What and Why) overhear this and offer to help out. The rest of the comic deals with guests having all kinds of trouble figuring out what exactly is happening and the names of these servants. Max ends up making it funnier than I expected, although your tolerance for this kind of humor is going to make or break whether or not you want to give this a shot. I liked how he tied it all together with the thieves who were attempting to rob this celebration, as all that information probably would stop anybody dead in their tracks. So maybe check it out, depending on your sense of humor and/or willingness to expose yourself to a new version of “funny” if you think this might not be for you.
Red Right Hand #1
Quick, a show of hands: how many of you know who David Yow is? OK, I can’t see you through the screen, so the show of hands isn’t going to help me. I’m guessing the number is shockingly low. Would it help if I told you he was the lead singer for The Jesus Lizard? Unless you’re roughly my age, that’s probably not much help either. The man is a force of nature, and I’ll just leave it at that. Anyway, this comic starts off with a couple of people sitting at a bar, listening to the inane chatter all around them and getting increasingly upset at the general state of humanity. One of them recognizes David Yow (shirtless, as always), but is surprised to see the guy wearing an eye patch. This is because this David Yow is from the future, and he’s come back to the past to kill the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Oh, if only this comic was based on a true story. Anyway, mayhem ensues, a master plan is hinted at, and we’re well set up for the rest of this series. My only complaint was that (spoiler alert, I suppose) that awful band gets taken care of off-panel, which is a horrible punishment to the right thinking people of the world who would have liked to have seen them get taken apart in graphic detail. Other than that this is a solid first issue with a great premise, and I can’t wait to see who they go after next. $3
If you’re keeping track of the chronology of the life of Bernie, read DemonTears before this one. And hey, a little bit of trivia: DemonDust was initially called DemonGun, for reasons that he explains in this collection. This collection contains issues #1-11 of that series (the name change happened with #8), which nicely coincides with when I started reviewing this series at #11. I missed quite a bit of backstory coming in at that point, but now I’m caught up and know the whole story. Well, I know the parts he chose to put in his comics, as he’s pretty open about the fact that there are plenty of details of his life that he’s not going to be sharing with the readers. Which is fine! Anyway, this one starts at a time when Bernie’s recovery from alcoholism was still a new and shaky thing, and the early issues of his series very much reflect on this state, as he wonders whether his no longer drinking is what’s contributing to his writer’s block on his other series (An Army of Lovers Will Be Beaten, and don’t make me tell you to read that one again). This is very much a book where you’re rewarded for keeping up with his other projects, as characters from current and future series show up with a bit of regularity. He mentions who they are each time, but you’d get more out of it if you’ve also read their stories in their proper series. Other subjects in here include splitting himself in two over and over again, getting to know his addiction, the slow death of his grandmother, keeping up with his puppets, zen buddhism, bacon, coming to terms with the reality of his sobriety, dreams, and everything else that came with this time in his life. This collection includes everything from those comics, covers and epilogues and everything, so don’t worry if you missed them while they were coming out. This book along with DemonTears will tell you lots about these years of Bernie’s life. Not everything, and lots of it is dreamy and abstract enough to be left open to interpretation, but this is a fantastic collection of his thoughts over about a year and a half. $10
Lost Kisses #25
Hm, that is one scattered listing of reviews for this series. I reviewed #5-10, #21 and now this one. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to read this entire series to get plenty out of individual issues, although I’m guessing that it wouldn’t hurt to have the whole picture. Ah well, maybe I can get caught up at SPACE this year. So this one is all about fictional Brian waking up next to a dead girl that he doesn’t recognize and eventually realizing this is because he has taken a drug to release himself from linear time. The sad part comes in when he realizes that he can’t change the future any more than he could change the past, so this girl will always be dead and will always have died. Other topics include his feelings on anonymous sex, whether or not it would be worth it to save the world (which is a question that doesn’t get asked in popular culture nearly enough), and how living forever would be fine if he didn’t have to feel anything. For most of his series I’d highly recommend getting the issues in order, but for this one it sure seems like you’d be OK grabbing whichever random issues he has available when you see him at a con. Or you could go nuts and throw a pile of money at him, as I don’t think anybody else is offering as many comics for your dollars as he is. $1
Damn, now that’s how you put together a fantastic anthology. The stories in here are of various lengths, but it gets going with a 20 page story by Eric Orner dealing with his coming to terms with his sexuality, dating a woman in college, having a right wing nut of a father and generally not having much of a source to educate himself about being gay. The social progress this country has gone through in the last five years on this front has been staggering (it’s like the majority of the country realized all at once that they were being homophobic assholes and all decided to stop and pretend like it never happened), but it’s stories like Eric’s that remind the youngsters that there were very few options when you were growing up gay in the 70′s and 80′s. The closet was a lifesaver back in those days. Anyway, I’m rambling, and I haven’t even gotten to the other 32 (!) creators in here. Highlights include (and I don’t think there’s a single actively bad story in here, for the record) Annie Murphy’s story about her elderly closeted relatives and wondering what their lives were like, Marinaomi’s first time being an awkward threesome, Ed Nuce and the rules of survival at death metal shows, Dylan Edwards and his childhood friend who referred to his Transformers toys with headlights in robot form as women to try to even out the gender imbalance, Justin Hall’s story about dating a man with (unbeknownst to him) serious mental issues while Justin just thought the guy was trying to work out his life, Jennifer Camper’s hardboiled detective story, Terrance Griep’s most painful wrestling injury, Edie Fake’s hilarious two pages of jokes told by somebody trying to pay to get into a sex show, Steve MacIsaac’s coming face to face with his childhood bully and the unlikely way the conversation ended up going, Andy Hartzell’s story of Pvt. Manning (in his own words) talking about his potential gender reassignment surgery on top of trying to come to terms with his conscience about all of the awful things he knew that the U.S. was doing around the world, Carrie McNinch’s first summer love, and Sasha Steinberg’s triumphant tale of a drag queen buying panty hose. That’s right, I somehow didn’t mention Howard Cruse (who’s been at this for decades and who at least partially started gay comics in general), Craig Bostick, L. Nichols or Rob Kirby, all favorites of mine. So that should tell you the level of quality you’re going to be getting here, right? Oh, and since I’ve been cranky about it in past anthologies, I should mention that Rob does everything right in editing this thing. Creator names at the top of every page? Brilliant! Check it out and enjoy, but set aside an afternoon for it, as this here is a hefty pile of stories. $29.99
The Casebook of Elijah Snugs #3
Don’t be alarmed at the condition of that cover; my postman doesn’t seem to care for comics. If you can’t tell that there’s anything odd about that cover scan, please ignore these two sentences or pretend that they were just a figment of your imagination. Oh hi there! This issue nicely wraps up this particular Elijah Snugs mystery, but as pretty much any aspect of the book would be considered a spoiler, I’m at a bit of a loss. I should mention that I love in comics/movies/anything where a detective who is clearly smarter than the police officer gets sarcastic with them, because that has a tendency to take me right out of the story. One smart-ass remark from Sherlock Holmes or just about anybody would result in that person getting beaten, either during the conversation or later on when there would be less suspicion. Or am I just too cynical about police officers? In most cases, yes. Anyway, the last issue ended with Winston finding the missing egg that was at the heart of this case, and getting caught holding the egg by said police officer in a seemingly compromising position. Then Elijah Snugs comes into the picture, and we get to learn what has really been happening over the last couple of issues. I thought it was all tied up rather neatly, although I don’t know if it was possible for the reader to figure out the identity of the thief before the detective. That’s not a requirement, but it’s always satisfying to follow the clues and come to the solution before the detective. Or maybe my memory is just hazy about this being set up earlier on and this is all bunk. Either way this turned out to be a pretty solid mystery, with another one starting off with the next issue. Oh, and the extra story in the back is a recipe for what seems like some pretty delicious cookies, so even if you disagree with me completely on the content at least you’ll be able to make cookies after you read this.
Does this actually not say “#2″ on the cover? No, I guess not. I had a few questions about various things in this one before I started (that cover, the abrupt ending of the Dump story) but David covered all that in his afterward, so never mind. This one starts with the second part (of three) of the “Dump” story, this time focusing on our hero as he gets more and more miserable at work, but he does finally meet somebody he can talk to and commiserate with. I love the little touch of the Garvo-Munchers, little horror shows of eyeballs and tentacles, amidst the generally mundane tone of the rest of the story. I’m looking forward to the finale of this one in the next issue, although he might want to put the whole story in one comic when it’s finished, considering the average attention span in this day and age (myself sadly included in that). The short pieces in here dealt with trying to remember the name of that one actor guy, a bicycle ride with a nice ending, overthinking things at a party, trying to come up with a good argument in favor of voting, coleslaw, appreciating what you have and an informal history of e-mail and the internet. Read that last part and feel old! Or bitter at the youngsters because they’ve always had the answer to every question in the world at their fingertips. The other big story in this one (it’s a pretty hefty comic) is David’s 24 hour comic. He starts with a brief history of the 24 hour comics, mentions how one of the rules is to go into such things without a plan, and ends up with a pretty damned compelling comic. He goes into detail about his own history, how he always wanted to do comics but ended up trying a bunch of different things because he couldn’t see a way for comics to be taken seriously. This is where the internet comes in, as the message board for The Comic’s Journal helped all kinds of people from all over the world (David is in Scotland) come together. 24 hour comics can be a bit of a mess, so it’s always nice to see one put together as well as this, especially considering the conditions involved in making such a thing. Read it and enjoy, as there’s plenty to like in here. Don’t let that innocuous cover scare you off!
Monday Saddies #2
There’s no way that the “Locker Junk” story should have worked, but it ended up being pretty damned funny. I love it when comics end up working out like that, and in a perfect world it would make a great cartoon. Oh hi, did I start in the middle of the comic? Yeah, kind of. This one starts off with new characters from the last issue, so don’t be alarmed if you missed the first one. First up is the pair featured on the cover, as a bored young man suddenly has a ghost pop into his life. His immediate assumption that this ghost must be a member of the KKK was hilarious, and the revelation that this ghost died in 1983 and missed all kinds of important events could be fodder for many comics to come. Or the story could have come to an end in this issue, as the main problem seemed to be all the movies that the ghost never got a chance to watch. Anyway, there’s that initial “origin story” and another shorter piece where they try to watch the movie that the ghost never got to watch when he was alive, and they’re split up by the story of the locker objects. Ordinarily in stories like this (food items coming to life), there’s a certain uniformity to the proceedings. Either everybody can talk or nobody can, or maybe just the food items, or the inanimate objects, whatever. This time around none of that holds, as the main characters are a sandwich in plastic, a can of peanuts (?), a rubber band and a banana. Their only contact with “god” comes when he/she puts items into the locker or takes them out, and the items have a wild range of intelligence. There’s the horrific dirty gym bag that can relate on the level of watching a video of a farting donkey with the can of peanuts, the “elders” (who aren’t very smart, just old) and a couple of items that had clearly lost their mind from being neglected for so long. Again, it shouldn’t work as a story, but Steve pulled it off beautifully. Oh, and that last image of god may or may not haunt you, depending on your religious upbringing. $5
I made it clear in the last review for this series that unless you an utterly joyless human being that you should be reading this, but it looks like that last review was from a few years ago, so just to make it perfectly clear: if you have any interest in the history of shaolin monks in China in the 1600′s, or martial arts, or Chinese history, or just good story-telling, you should be reading this series. I’ll get my only complaint out of the way early: this could have used a brief recap of the last book. A little “previously on” would have done wonders, but Ben does a good job of getting the reader caught up to speed pretty quickly. This one starts off with Pang remembering the very early days of his training (which comes up in a big way later on), and from there we spend a little time with Pang wandering around the countryside, trying to find a sign of a temple that he knows is nearby. The next scene is something that is probably going to haunt me, and something that was unexpected (to Pang and to me as a reader): a fight with a tiger. Pang stumbles across a couple of tiger cubs, the mother attacks to defend them, and Pang has to decide whether he is like a true Buddha, somebody who is willing to give his life to feed the tigress and her cubs, or whether he is willing to fight dirty to survive. You can probably guess which way he decides based on the fact that his name is in the title and this fight happens early on, and in hindsight what he does is probably the only way that anybody could have a hope of surviving a tiger attack, but I wasn’t prepared for the brutality of it, or the way that Pang is essentially consigning three tigers to death with his act. This act also breaks Pang, leaving him utterly unsure of the rightness of his actions for a long time afterward. From there Pang meets up with a drunken monk, hears the story of how another temple was destroyed, learns some pieces as to why all of this is happening to the monks, and meets a very skilled bounty hunter on the road. Yeah, that’s all vague, because it’s fantastic and you should just read it for yourself. Ben says on his website that he taking a break before starting the third and final volume of this series, and although “taking a break” always makes me nervous with comics, he does seem dedicated to finishing the story. I really hope he does, as this could end up being on the list of great comics achievements when it’s finished. Which, again, is why you should be reading this now. $19.95
And here I thought comics about a post-apocalyptic hellscape had already been done pretty much every way humanly possible. I had failed to consider the possibility that there was still a story out there about a walrus who played the blues on street corners and how he would get by after society ended. Not to give anything away, but he did pretty well, all things considered. This seems to be one of Brian’s series that are one and done, not one of his many ongoing series, so I don’t want to give too much away. But if you’ve ever had questions about how a musician would maintain his artistic integrity in a lawless society, or whether or not a walrus would still have trouble finding clothes that fit in such a world, you’re in luck. Jared Catherine does a great job drawing this material, although I am curious whether Jared drew this because of his walrus drawing skills or whether Brian had a long search to find somebody who could handle it. It’s well worth checking out, and as always if you’re going to check out his stuff, my advice is to just send him $5 to get a wide sampling of what he has available. Because believe you me, he has a lot of comics available, and damned near all of them are worth checking out. $2, and I just checked his website, where he has an ongoing offer to give out the next ten mini comics he releases for $10 ($15 for you international folks), which would have saved you money on this one if you knew about it, so maybe you should start it up now.
Star Pilot #10
Has there ever been a leading man named “Chest” before? Because “Chest Palmero” is one of the better names for a boxer that I’ve ever heard. This comic is unconnected from past issues, so don’t worry about being lost by that “#10″ on the cover. Things start out with Chest stealing some food as a little kid in 1932. He’s chased down by the robot police (suggesting that maybe this is not quite the 1932 that we were thinking of) and, given the chance to surrender or fight, he fights. We don’t see what happens in that fight but instead are moved forwards to 1955 as Chest is defeated by a robot for his boxing championship. From there we get to learn a bit more about these robots and Chest’s plan to take them all down. I love how damned near every panel that Frank draws has such a manic energy to it. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen biting into an apple done as an action panel, and there’s a constant sense of forward motion to go along with all the general weirdness. The perspective is a little bit off here and there (when Chest chokes the homeless guy I’d swear the guy’s head shrinks quite a bit), but that’s a minor quibble for such a fun story. Buy some of his books, the guy deserves a reward for making it to double digits. $2
It’s odd to start a review with the back cover of a comic, but the back issue of this one has a hilarious image of a frazzled Jamie Vayda promising that a new issue of this anthology will come out every two months. That’s ambitious as hell and I wish him all the best, but it seems like an impossible deadline to meet. Six issues of this series in 2014? I hope that I’m wrong, but that seems impossible. As for the stories, they’re another solid bunch, all illustrated by Jamie, and I have to say that I’d like their odds better of getting six issues out next year if another artist or two illustrated a story here and there. Stories in here include one of the more unique scenarios I’ve ever seen for a zombie outbreak from Darin Martinez, Lester the Porn Fairy by Erika Lane (which is either exactly what you’re expecting or nothing like what you’re expecting, depending on what’s in your head), an attempt to one-up that guy who jumped from space back down to earth last year by Christian Maes, a song about Electric Frankenstein by Sal Conzonieri, a night at the Apollo that doesn’t go all that well by Eric Todd (but it is funny as hell), and the finale of that story from last issue by Alan King. If you don’t remember that one the big question was how the guy ended up with a fake leg, and I could not have been happier with the answer. I think people should be lining up to support this effort, as a regular anthology series with a rotating cast of writers sounds like a great thing to me, so give this and/or the first issue a shot. $6 seems a little steep to me for a mini comic, but in a time where the popular Marvel stuff is going for $4 I don’t see how anybody could be expected to ask much less than $6 for a self-produced comic. Those old timey mini comic prices that are still in my head are a thing of the past, so don’t mind my nostalgia for an age of cheap things. $6
I can’t help it, it’s just been beaten into me over the years: I get nervous whenever somebody puts the first part of a continuing story in an anthology. I’ve been proven wrong to be nervous about this before, but I’ve also been proven right plenty of times. Which is to say that Rob Jackson has a fascinating first part of a story in here, and I’d really rather the rest of the story wasn’t lost forever because there was never a second issue of this series. Eh, don’t mind me, I’m working on being less pessimistic in the new year. The other stories are all self-contained, so no worries there. These other stories include Max Mose’s tale of a civilization wandering the stars in search of more of the nuclear weapons that destroyed their homeworld, Kyle Baddeley-Read and his piece on the benefits of child slavery (to the children), John Robbins with his story of a man who discovers a giant hole in his stomach and his conversations with his therapist about it, and Pete Batchelor’s tale of a man who thought that he had outsmarted the apocalypse by freezing himself and thawing himself out in 2130. Pretty great stuff all around, and it all added up to a really odd and fantastic vibe for the book as a whole. Oh, and Rob’s story, as I mentioned, won me over completely. It’s all about a man who’s annoyed at getting his new job while also happy because he desperately needed the money. Which wouldn’t be that odd of a story, but this man goes into his first day and finds another man there who has his name and who kind of looks like him. This is more than just a simple coincidence or there’d be no story here, obviously, but the direction that it seems to be taking has me really curious to see what happens next. So check it out, is what I’m saying. Even if future parts of Rob’s story disappear completely (and he has a pretty good track record of finishing his stories so far), then this works perfectly well all by itself.
Lucy the Octopus: I’ll Take What I Can Get
See? It couldn’t stay all bad for Lucy forever! Oh sorry, spoiler alert. Sort of. It’s complicated! This second collection of Lucy strips does a great job of expanding the cast of characters and giving a few of them more screen time, which is going to go a long way towards building a big universe for this crew. Assuming that Richy is going to keep going with this, which is never a sure thing, but judging from the response from readers that he got offering Lucy life advice it looks like he already has quite a fan base built up. Anyway, the main story in this collection deals with Lucy going to a concert for her favorite band, said band breaking up right after the show and Lucy auditioning for the vacant job of guitarist with the band. Her uncoolness shines through to the band even though they enjoyed her playing, so she doesn’t get the job initially, but things change a bit when she goes back to audition again wearing a disguise. Other subjects in here include her siblings trying to make her more presentable for the audition, another sibling getting the mistaken impression that Lucy is the favorite (with a hilarious strip featuring her father trying to correct the record in that regard, which is only seen as more proof of favoritism), checking in with Sandra from the last issue to find that she’s currently stuck holding the bags for the cool kids (or, as she puts it, climbing the social ladder), and the social pecking order of the school all in one strip. There are two odd artistic choices in here, although I’d hesitate to call either of them “bad” (mostly because I’m not the creator of the strips and cannot judge such things). He runs out of time on one strip, and instead of delaying it for a week he puts out the one finished panel, two black and white pencil drawings and one final panel apologizing for just not having the time to get the strip done. It ended up serving as a nice cliffhanger for the next strip, so no harm done, it’s just that I don’t recall ever seeing a late strip handled quite that way. The other oddity was the final three strips, as they each show a conversation from three different points of view. There’s Lucy recommending a theme for a class project that the other two students liked a lot, but they couldn’t say they liked it without publicly agreeing with Lucy, which is social death. It’s interesting to see how they each processed this contradiction, but this also means that Richy got to use the same strip three weeks in a row and just change the words, so I guess your level of cynicism will determine how you view this. There are a few bonus bits in the back, including Richy briefly drawing another strip, another artist drawing his and Lucy as a human. It’s a solid pile of strips and the concept as a whole is steadily improving, so check it out. And, as it’s a web series, there are plenty of free samples up at his website…