Archive for category Reviews

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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Kochalka, James – Elf Cat in Love

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Elf Cat in Love

Full disclosure time to new readers: I’ve been a fan of James Kochalka since the days of his mini comic and Little Mister Man in the 90’s. Eventually lost interest in the daily strip and he went in a direction of comics more geared towards kids (like the Johnny Boo series), so I’ve lost touch with his stuff over the years. Except for Superfuckers, which was great. Anyway, this isn’t about me, much as it might seem like it from that intro, it’s about Elf Cat in Love! Which is another of his “all ages” books, so again not one that’s geared towards adults, but it still retains that Kochalka charm. It’s broken down into three chapters and is basically the love story between Elf Cat (a magical (?) cat) who’s afraid of girls but thinks an awful lot of himself and a talking, flying tennis ball. Maybe I missed an origin story somewhere, but how much of an origin do you need for such a pairing? The first chapter deals with Elf Cat on a quest to save a princess that doesn’t go at all as planned, the second deals with his quest to heat up a hot dog, and the third is basically the two of them coming together. Even though they’ve been together for the whole book, but you know what I mean. Their mutual reluctance to admit any kind of attraction was fairly adorable, and their escape from the monster/princess in the first chapter was certainly memorable. Overall it fell a little too much on the kids side of all ages for me to think of it as great (but I’ll remind everybody again that that line is crazy subjective), but it was still a fun read, and I’d have to think that most kids would find it adorable. $15

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Moore, Anne Elizabeth & Various Artists – Threadbare: Clothes, Sex & Trafficking

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Threadbare: Clothes, Sex & Trafficking

There’s a long list of things I would do if I was a rich man, but high up on that list would be funding comics journalism, or graphic journalism. Whatever it is that Joe Sacco established roughly 20 years ago, anyway. This is a rare occasion where I’ll cite Wikipedia, but they list Emi Gennis, Jen Sorenson, Dar Archer, Matt Bors and Josh Neufeld (among others), and I’m constantly surprised that this isn’t more of an established thing by now. As Anne makes clear in the introduction, that’s mostly because funding is incredibly difficult to come by, especially with a project like this one that covers years of interviews, travel and multiple artists. I’m only going to briefly summarize these sections, as they’re chock full of details (and footnotes after the fact), so the only way to really do them justice is to read them yourself. The title gives you the basics of what’s covered in here, and it’s broken down into four sections. First up is The United States, which deals with fast fashion, the real life of a model, clothing stores, thrift stores, warehouses full of clothes to be recycled, and the trade agreements that “govern” this whole mess. The story of the model (and her description of the ones that were best able to adjust to the environment and the ones who weren’t) is heartbreaking, as is the general waste and pollution caused by the thrift industry (and how little of the profits actually make it to charities). The second section deals with Austria and the history of textiles and fashion, including stories from people who have lived their whole lives in the industry and are seeing it start to vanish due to competition from the larger clothing chains. The third section tells the story of Cambodia, the working conditions and wages of the factories, how that sometimes turns into sex work and how it can cycle back into garment work due to a lack of other options. The fourth section is The World, and it’s probably going to be the most surprising chapter for people who only have a passing knowledge of the sex trade industry and trafficking. The shocking bits (to me, anyway) detail how sex trafficking (slavery, basically) is treated the same in the US as voluntary sex work, and how funding for getting rid of sex slavery often gets tied up in ridiculous moral rules that come from the hyper-religious types. Fighting these moralistic scolds is incredibly difficult because they’re successfully blurred the lines for years, and money that could be more effectively put into housing and counseling for actual victims instead goes into advertising to convince people that their children will be sold into slavery if they leave their parents’ sight for a few minutes. It does conclude on a hopeful note, with some practical advice on how to change things for all of the various problems they’ve documented, but it’s daunting to say the least. Even if you think you’re an expert on this subject I guarantee that you’ll find new information in here, and the comics are drawn by the some of the best artists working today. If you know any millionaires please tell them to throw some money at people who are looking to do this type of graphic journalism, because the world needs more of it. $13.95

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Fryer, Hayden – Billy Demon Slayer: Complete Series 2 Collection

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Billy Demon Slayer: Complete Series 2 Collection

It’s a little hilarious to go back through my old reviews of this series, note how many times I said I was going to go back and read the series in a chunk (as I reviewed the issues more or less when they came out and forgot a lot of the details between issues), and then somehow I never reviewed the final issue. Or I never got it? Nah, I’ll go ahead and blame me for dropping the ball on that one. Anyway, I was right: this series makes a whole lot more sense when it’s read all at once. Which is the nature of serialized comics, and most people don’t read as many comics as somebody who reviews them does, meaning that they have an easier time keeping all the little details straight. Anyway! For those of you who haven’t read this series (or those reviews when they came out a few years ago), this is the second series, meaning things start off with a recap of what happened in the first series. It was pretty comprehensive, and the only thing I really felt like I was missing out on was some of the more obscure cameos. In this complete volume we start off with a flashback to a couple of swords that are obviously going to be crucial later on, then jump back into life that has more or less gone back to normal after the events of the first series. But things don’t stay normal, as we get a killer hamster to start off with and it’s quickly followed by a mysterious (and, in a hilarious recurring gag, obviously stinky) fog envelops the town and turns almost everybody evil. We even lose our hero for a bit there in the middle, although I’m not going to spell out what that means exactly. Things get pretty dark in this series, but there are quips throughout and (from the afterward) it’s clear that the first series was much more lighthearted and this one ended up darker because that’s just where the story was naturally headed. Buffy and the Evil Dead series were obvious influences, but those are two pretty great influences to have. If you enjoyed those two universes, you’re going to find plenty to love in here. My only complaint is that the two friends of Billy were barely characters at all, which lessened some of their struggles, but again that’s most likely on me for not reading the first series. Other than that I pretty much loved this book. $25

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Baxter, Derek & Canini, Brian – Drawing Under the Influence

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Drawing Under the Influence

Is it possible for a really great collection of comics to be undermined by its premise? That might not make any sense, so let me try again: this comic collects a bunch of strips that Derek and Brian did for their website when they realized that it had been left without being updated for ages (I can relate). In the interests of getting a bunch of strips up quickly, they decided that Brian would do a number of simple stick figure drawings to keep things regularly updated. But by the time this plan came together they had more or less abandoned the stick figure idea and had come up with a few dozen mostly full color strips, sometimes one page long and sometimes longer. And those are almost universally great! But there’s a large chunk in the middle of this book called The Adventures of Bugman that looks awful and drags the rest of the book down. But (extra but) it’s the only chunk of the book that literally looks like it was drawn under the influence. So if you’re looking for authenticity, go straight to that story! If you’re looking for stories that will get you literally laughing out loud (and getting odd looks because you’re reading it at work, at least if you’re me) then I can highly recommend the rest of the book. Subjects include the origin of the Drunken Cat (and, in hindsight, it’s hilarious that they thought this origin would be an epic tale), recurring strips about the smartest caveman learning that it wasn’t a good time to be all that smart, recurring strips about a maggot giving advice to kids who didn’t understand his ulterior motives, recurring strips of Big Puff and his unwelcome advice about being better people, the tragic tale of peanut butter and jelly, Drunken Cat and his adventures (that rarely end well, although I would think all the booze would help him better tolerate a lady who says “like” all the time), the redshirts finally getting their revenge on Kirk, and a longer story about the importance of air, told in old timey special speak. Like I said, overall it’s pretty damned great, and it’s hard to bitch too much about the sloppiness of one long drunken comic in a book where that is literally in the title. $16.99

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Schulz, Gabby (aka Dahl, Ken) – Sick

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Sick

Once again I’m going to cheat a bit and quote directly from the disclaimer on the back of the book: “This book is not recommended for children or the self-satisfied.” That might seem to be a confusing description about a comic dealing with a sickness, but boy does it ever make sense after you read it. This starts off as the story of Gabby (aka Ken Dahl) as he deals with a sudden illness. He starts off with the same plan as everybody with no health insurance: wait it out, drink lots of fluids and hope for the best. But his illness keeps getting worse and worse, so he finally breaks down and heads to the local emergency room (despite that same emergency room being recently sued for letting somebody die in their waiting room after leaving them there for 24 hours). 22 hours into his stay he gets in to see a doctor… who doesn’t help him out even a little bit. From there he goes back to his original plan of waiting it out, even though it had clearly gotten pretty terrible for him to head to the hospital in the first place. But as the days went on and he didn’t get any better, he started pondering the reasons for living, and what was or wasn’t worth fighting for. From there he thought of all of human history and the delusions that we all must tell ourselves to enjoy our lives in a place of such rampant corruption, disease and hopelessness. He came away with a damned near irrefutable case against humanity in all its forms, unless you were willing to stick to that plan of willful ignorance, but you can read this yourself to see the case that he made. Granted, his mind was in a sick and dark place when he thought all this through, but I defy anybody to read this without agreeing with a good chunk of what he said. If you’re content in the bubble that you’ve made of your life and have no interest in seeing if anything could break through, stay away from this book at all costs. If you can accurately see your surroundings already and want to live as closely examined of a life as possible, there are few books better than this to help in that task. $21.95

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McNee, Graeme – Shioya Neko

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Shioya Neko

Local comics often have a deeper meaning for the people in the area covered, and that is certainly the case in this book. This comic is the silent story of a cat on its travels through Shioya, which is a small town near Kobe, Japan. Several local stores and buildings are featured, and Graeme was nice enough to include a letter with his feelings on those locations to help me along a bit as a reviewer. It’s clear that they’re near and dear to him, but if you’re one of the people reading this who aren’t familiar with the location (and I’m guessing that’s most of you), you’re in luck! It’s also a completely adorable story about a cat wandering around the city and its interactions with the local animals and people. It starts with its casual escape from its home (it was unclear if it was escaping or just an outdoor cat), as it follows a bird, then a bug, and the stumbles across an ominous larger cat. Not to worry though, no violence here, as it then moves along to a charmed (and sleeping) construction worker, an indifferent smoker and a cranky old man who’s just trying to rake some leaves in peace. I’ll leave the rest of the journey for you to discover, but it’s never anything less than thoroughly charming throughout. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world I’d recommend taking this book and do a little walking tour, as it sure looks like Graeme did his research. I should also mention that this originally started out as an exhibition requested by the city, as they wanted a way to showcase the town, and he (wisely) added the cat (which is “Neko” in Japanese) to it. Hey look, you learned something today!

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Kenins, Laura – Alien Beings

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Alien Beings

Somewhere out there (assuming comics like these are still even sold in physical stores), somebody bought this thinking they were getting an alien abduction story. Too bad, suckers! Instead you got a comic about the slow dissolution of a marriage as experienced through the eyes of the young daughter of the couple. Oh, and some unexplained lights. Those lights were a really innovative way to start the book, as it was a typical ride home with the kids in the back seat and the parents in the front (singing along to the radio, so clearly they weren’t always unhappy). Suddenly they saw lights floating above the car, causing them to stop for about 10 minutes (as remembered by Laura, assuming this is autobiographical). From there things took a sharp turn at home, with the parents increasingly arguing with each other until they eventually take the kids aside and tell them that the father is going to rent an apartment alone. All along the way this is taking a toll on Laura at school, as she kind of likes a boy at school, but not as much as the music her parents were listening to would indicate. As the marriage falls apart she also concludes that all love is hopeless anyway, so there’s no point in liking that boy anyway. Laura develops a fascination with all things related to aliens and also tries to come up with a plan to get her parents back together, all while getting constant “helpful” books from other friends and family dealing with how to cope with divorce. Laura going back and asking her parents about those strange lights they saw before the divorce is the kicker, but you can find out how that went for yourself. It’s a perspective on divorce that you don’t usually see, and it was a story that was very well told.

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Brubaker, Charles – Cats and Witches #1

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Cats and Witches #1

OK, I guess technically this isn’t false advertising, but I was expecting a cat-heavy issue this time around. And sure, there several “ask a cat” strips, but the rest of it is all about witches with no cats involved. Yes, this is my fault for expecting such a thing, so there’s no reason to blame Charles. The bulk of this comic is about Koko and her brother Jodo and their various adventures. They crash land (with a funny bit about them trying to decide the softest thing to land on while they’re falling), end up sleeping in a “cave” (you might figure out this gag before they do), and head off into town to do some shopping. They then meet a frog who says he’s a prince that needs to be kissed by anybody willing to say that they’re a princess, so the rest of the story is their search for that person. Some funny bits for sure, but it’s obvious that I was hoping for more cats. Which makes me biased and therefore a terrible reviewer, but I never claimed objectivity. Subjects for the “ask a cat” strips include the reasons for their hatred of water, why they have so much attitude, why they ask for belly rubs when they clearly don’t want them, why Ben Franklin is considered one of the main sources of evil, the merits of long haired and short haired cats, whether or not a cat would make a good superhero and to please stop leaving dead mice in shoes. It’s another solid comic from Charles and this time around there’s even a full color cover, so give it a shot. Unless your heart is also set on an all-cat comic, in which case check his back catalog. $3

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Mendes, Melissa (editor) – Can’t Lose: A Friday Night Lights Fanzine

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Can’t Lose

I’ve read plenty of anthologies over the years that I’ve been writing reviews here, but very few of them could qualify as a love letter. This comic here? That’s exactly what it is. This is 20 of some of the best artists going right now, and they all have one thing in common: an obvious love of the tv show Friday Night Lights. If you’ve never heard of this show, or if you dismissed it out of hand because “it’s about high school football,” all I can say is that you missed out. There’s still time to fix your mistake, as it’s still on Netflix as of May 2016; just watch the first few episodes and try not to get hooked. Or maybe the fact that so many great artists came together for this project will clue you in to how great of a show it was, I don’t know. Does it seem like I’m not reviewing the stories? Yeah, I’ll get to that. I’m just trying to convert the last few decent people in the world who haven’t already seen this show. Frankly, I remember most of the stories as giant hearts on the page, so it’s tough to write anything mildly intelligent about that. OK, I’ll flip through this again. Highlights include the Tim Riggins cut-out doll as the centerfold (comes with different outfits!), Tim Riggins in the year 2050, a story about young Billy Riggins, the conversion of a skeptic into a fan of the show, how the team playbook got leaked to a rival, a growing rage of somebody trying to convert friends as they get increasingly sleepy while watching the show, and Coach Taylor sitting on the Iron Throne. Seriously, if nothing else, just look at that list of artists and give it a shot for that reason alone. Or do it the right way: watch the series, then go back and enjoy this fanzine. I’m not going to close with the team motto right here, but know that I am thinking it.

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Sakugawa, Yumi – Ikebana

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Ikebana

If you’re wondering if you have difficulties connecting to things emotionally, read this comic. If that ending doesn’t effect you in some way then I have some bad news for you. This is the story of Cassie, a young art student whose senior project involves an “organized bio-painting/ritualized movement piece.” It starts off with her standing in a small dish of water, naked except for flowers over her breasts and a pair of underwear. She also requests complete meditative silence for the piece, which is almost immediately disrupted when one of the students starts to criticize one of her choices. From there she leaves the bowl of water and walks out of the classroom, leaving the students confused as to what to do next. They finally follow her as she walks through the city and tries to ignore the stares and catcalls she gets from people on the streets. Eventually all of them, even the teacher, give up on her project and leave her on her own… except for one other student who is fascinated by what’s going on. This could have turned into a gimmick fairly easily, or it could have been played for laughs, or it could have even ended up salacious. It ended up being none of those things and instead is one of the better cases for the purity of artistic expression that I’ve ever seen. It looks like Yumi has a few other books available, and after reading this I am very curious to see what else she’s done. Artists of the world and anybody who has ever been ridiculed for sticking to their guns, this is required reading. $5

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Cass, Caitlin – The Index #5: The Scrolls

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The Index #5: The Scrolls

Don’t mind the weird discoloration in the upper corner; that happened on my end somehow and not from Caitlin. This one ended up in a random corner of my apartment, so I apologize for the lateness of the review. But since this series is amazing I thought a review was still a good idea, and it’s not like a bunch of the reviews on this website are all that topical anyway. Caitlin does an amazing job with the recap in this issue, as she somehow sums up the madness of the past four issues on a single page of text. Yes, you should still read the other issues, but the recap can get you by if you haven’t. This time around John has gone off to look for food and/or an exit, while Susan has realized that they’re in a psychological landscape and that she can eat whenever she wants. As she’s eating she chats further with Diogenes, discusses what exactly he is and learns that the many scrolls in the library are all books that she’s already read. And, as nobody remembers books word for word, they’re only the most important bits of those books, or the parts that she studied and underlined in school. Meanwhile John is freaking out and looking for help from the scrolls, but the only help there is in the form of literature. There’s still obviously more of this story to come, but it doesn’t look like it’s gone on past this book according to her website (unless her website hasn’t been updated in awhile). Maybe she’s putting it together into the first volume of a graphic novel? Here’s hoping, as this needs to be seen by book lovers everywhere.

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Meuse, Adam – Drawing is Hard

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Drawing is Hard

At this point you could almost call “comics about how hard it is to draw comics” a genre of its own. Did the daily diary strip start that trend or is that just where they tend to show up the most often due to deadline pressures? Either way, this is one of the better examples of the genre that I’ve seen. Things start off with Adam’s brain pulling up a chair so that he can have an honest conversation with Adam about art, the futile pursuit of perfection even with constantly increasing skills and how it’s easier to thrive on potential than it is to risk that potential on actual art. It’s a fascinating conversation, with both sides making some really great points. Adam is still unconvinced by the wisdom of the brain, which is when his heart comes into the picture to share his opinion. It doesn’t say much, but what it does is devastating (which is what makes that ending so much more perfect). If you’re an artist who has ever doubted him or herself (or, in other words, an artist), this comic will speak to you in a big way. Any doubts you have about leaving a mark, or making a great work of art, or just being good at your craft are addressed here. If you’re not artistically inclined, it’s always fun to step into their heads for a few minutes, right? $5

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Tervo, Cailey – The House in the Wood Part One

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The House in the Wood Part One

This will be an odd review to write, because it’s for an interactive comic. Granted, comics are printed, so it’s hard to interact with them, but these were all originally panels on Cailey’s website and readers were invited on the path that the character should take. Which is a great idea; I’ve seen “choose your own adventure” comics, but for this comic it looks like the other possible path that could have been taken for each panel was simply never written and drawn. Or maybe they were, which would be an interesting comparison if a collected edition was ever put together. Anyway, this is the story of somebody who arrives to a creepy house around midnight. Oh, and each page is told in the form of a rhyme, which I should mention. From there our heroine sees a staircase heading up and also hears whispering off to the side. The readers chose the whispers, which led down a hallway filled with mirrors. The option was then either to respond to the whispers or follow a set of footprints, and the readers then chose the footprints. See what I mean? Three pages in and it could have already veered off into a few different directions. This book collects the first 19 installments, and it looks like that was the last of them according to her Tumblr page. Or she’s taking a break? She clearly is juggling a few different projects, so it might be a good idea to check in on this later. Either way, this is a fascinating concept that was done really well, so check it out and think about what you would have picked!

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Bayer, Josh – Theth

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Theth

I rarely outsource my reviews, but the comparison by Robert Clough Gary Panter and the Kirbyesque energy of the comic on the back cover blurb was too good not to pass along. Succinct too, but I’m going to go ahead and write a bunch of words about this comic regardless. This is set in 1980, right when John Lennon was assassinated. On a surface level it’s about a kid (who is always in a full spacesuit) who sneaks out to the corner store to read comics when he says he’s going to the library, but is mostly forced to read them in the store because he doesn’t have the money to buy them. Along the way we see him in school, trying desperately to entertain himself while he’s bored, using a unique method of knocking on the inside of his desk while his head is laid down on top of it. His mom can’t seem to stand him, most of his classmates make fun of him (his name is actually Seth but they all call him Theth, hence the title), and the store owners are growing increasingly impatient with him doing nothing but reading in their store all the time. But under the surface there’s all kinds of stuff going on, and it’s damned near impossible to encapsulate here, which is where the Kirby/Panter comparisons become helpful. Every panel is packed with detail, but it’s a dirty, immediate kind of detail, which lends everything a slightly grimy tone. You can read this as a straight up tale of some awkward family and school days, all leading up to ______ (no spoilers as always), but this is one of those comics where it’s worth your time to go back through it again and just look at the artwork. I’m doing that now and catching more than a few things in the background that I missed initially. Josh got an impressive list of people to write blurbs on the back of this book, and it’s easy to see why they love his work so much. If you’ve never heard of him until now, you should absolutely fix that and check out some of his books. $10

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Franz, Sophie – The Experts #1

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The Experts #1

If there was an emoticon for a repulsed shudder, I think I’d leave that as the review for this comic. But that would be lazy, and my thoughts on it are a bit more complicated than that. And really, it would be be hard to look at that cover and not come away with that impression. As for the comic, this is either the first issue in a series or an act of cruelty, as it’s mostly questions with very few answers. We see things from the perspective of one of those creatures on the very first page, as it’s look at a dog on a pier. The dog seems calm enough until the creature makes a gesture, at which point it starts freaking out and scares the creature away. From there we meet the three inhabitants (outside of the dog) of what appears to be an underwater science facility of some kind. I don’t think that’s ever explicitly stated, it’s just the impression I came away with. See, mysteries everywhere. Anyway, Frankie has the head of a fish, Cheron recently had a finger bitten off by one of those creatures (and is dealing with the side effects of it), and an unnamed redhead. They’re researchers of some kind but have been without contact from any kind of leadership for a long time. They’re also starting to question what they’re doing there and dealing with odd lapses in memory. An incident towards the end of the book changes the fundamental dynamic, things change even further, and yeah I’m leaving all that vague on purpose. It’s intriguing, that’s for sure, and I very much look forward to finding some answers to all the questions that were raised in this issue. Unless this is the only issue that’s planned which, again, would be cruel. Those creatures are creepy on a visceral level, but they seem to make every effort to be friendly. At least outwardly. Agh, clearly this one is going to be in my head for a bit. Hard to think of a better recommendation than that. $5

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Fuller, Tim & Collins, Daryll (and original artists) – Scam Comics #1

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Sham Comics #1

I somehow ended up with two different comics from SPACE 2016 that featured old artwork from the 40’s or 50’s with new dialogue written over bits of it. The other one was mostly the same dialogue (and terrible, terrible artwork) with a few random “fucks” thrown in, meaning that it was more or less awful, so I didn’t bother to review it. Yes, i do sometimes follow the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” edict. Does that make me useless as a critic? Eh, probably. Anyway, this one was mostly a lot more inventive than that, meaning that it made me chuckle a few times with some really inventive substitutions. There were about a half a dozen satirized examples of those old full page ads from back in the day, including the famous one about the muscled dude telling you how to get muscled too and some real talk about how you get to be a comic book artist. Other stories featured the giant robot featured on the cover (in two stories; I’m guessing he was originally meant to be a hero but these two turned him into a sadistic murder machine without needing to change any artwork), how the comic came to be (told using old artwork, of course), a quick and fairly pointless werewolf story (which was readily acknowledged by the new authors) and the story of a horny astronaut who discovers a woman tied to a cactus and won’t take no for an answer. That last one was probably the funniest, as it did a great job of showing how she was playing sex games and not nearly as helpless as she appeared, leading the human to go on a rampage to “save” her. Oh, and there was a story with a crime-fighting duo where the kid member farted a lot, but there’s not much more to be said for that one. The face that they still managed to get a laugh or two out of me on that story says a lot. I guess whether or not this comic is right for you depends on how much you’d like to see older pulpy artwork made funny. Like I said, it can go horribly wrong, but this one got it mostly right. $5

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Jep – The True Adventures of JepComix #5

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The True Adventures of JepComix #5

I’m going to post the letter that came with this as a sample image because it’s perfect and more humans should see it. As for the comic itself, yeah, that was pretty great too. Stories include an overheard conversation at a beach in Cuba (always a good sign when at least one of the overheard parties is drunk), coming up with a motto for keeping your nose clean, debating whether or not “Indian summer” is an offensive term, an adorable page of the way he sees his love (or the fictional character sees his or her love), and Jesus having an honest conversation with is Dad in between stanzas of “Jesus Christ Superstar” on exactly what good it would do for him to get crucified in practical terms. The biggest story in here is about the librarian of the forest, a creature that he gets to follow him and learning things about humans, food, and what guards their food. It also has a fairly ingenious way to steal bread if you’re trying to do that while keeping your hands free, so bread thieves, take note! This is a funny and charming mix of stories, and you’d have to be a real curmudgeon to not at least get a laugh or two out of this. Check it out!

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Enos, David – Batman Is Lost In A Woods

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batmanislost1

Batman Is Lost In A Woods

Is it “the woods” or “a woods”? And why does it bother me either way? These questions have nothing to do with the content of the comic, but there they are anyway. This is the story of Batman, lost in the… “a” woods. He’s gone off in search of his missing wife, but eventually ditched most of his expensive gear and had to make due by himself, just some guy alone and roughing it. We get some brief recaps of how he got there, what the other people in his life were thinking about his disappearance, and his obviously unhappy home life. As we dig deeper into the whole thing it’s obvious that nothing is quite what it seemed, and I am once again trapped by my rule of no spoilers. The descent into confusion and/or madness was fascinating the whole way through, some familiar (and close to familiar) faces show up, and some haunting truths about relationships and the thought of dating as you get older come out. I hope DC has better things to do than to sue this guy, because this story would have made a much better movie than the last crappy one they put out. Future people, this review was written in 5/16, so you figure out which crappy movie I mean, because I’m sure there are more to come! I don’t know if I’d recommend this to anybody who takes Batman seriously, but I would recommend it to anybody who it looking to see life through the lens of a guy clinging to a failing relationship long after he should have given up. Also he’s Batman.

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