Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews

Robertson, David – Bell Time

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Bell Time

Who out there has seen Peggy Sue Got Married? It’s a movie from the 80’s, and the premise involves Kathleen Turner going back in time into her teenage body because… reasons. I’ve never seen it, but it was David’s inspiration for this story (based on his afterward), and he hadn’t seen it either until he was doing research for this story. In other words, if you love complaining about trivial things and are a huge fan of the movie, there’s probably stuff in here to get you worked up. For us relatively normal folks, there’s a lot to like here. It’s a full 60ish page story, with a bit in the middle with school tales from what seems to be mostly family members. I’ll leave those alone so you’ll have a mysterious treat in the middle, but how about the main story? It’s all about Lenny, a boy in school who was recently bullied with an egg in the face. He saw that movie, had some thoughts about how that would work out in real life, and returned to school the next day. When he was there he heard bells (that only he could hear), followed them and suddenly found himself in his adult body. Adult Lenny ended up as the school librarian, which didn’t exactly lead to a lot of respect from his peers. To me this comic comes close to being a horror story, even if that doesn’t seem to be the intention; to get the chance to be an adult when you’re a bullied teen and then be trapped dealing with fights and mayhem from other teens while you’re trapped in an adult body is a nightmare. It’s interesting to watch his perspective change of the other teachers as well as how he sees the students. No spoilers, but his “I’m an adult and you’re not” mindset held quite a long time as a solid bluff. Overall this is another really solid comic from David, with funny bits and insightful bits mixed together. Unless you have a phobia about being trapped in a high school library, give this one a look.

Canini, Brian – Plastic People #1

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Plastic People #1

Is Brian the most prolific comic artist going today? Is there a contest for that sort of thing? There’s not (that I know of), but he’d have to be high up the list. Brian sent me a few new comics recently, as I’ve somehow missed him at the last couple of local comic conventions. He sent a few issues of this comic along, and when I went to link to his website I saw that he already has ten issues done. 10! Granted, these are 8 page minis, but that’s still a better pace than a lot of artists, and he’s also always working on other comics. Does it seem like I’m stalling a bit on the actual review? Yeah, that’s probably because I am. This one starts off with a perfume ad that morphs into two people having sex. They get interrupted when our hero (I’m assuming) has to leave because his ride for work has arrived. They get into a brief argument, as the woman thinks that his female ride was hitting on him, and that’s that. If that makes it seem like everything is simple and straightforward, it’s really not. Everybody in this town has gotten plastic surgery, meaning all the women look the same and so do all the men. I’m curious to dig into this and see where it goes from here, as I already have a lot of questions. Which means that a first issue did its job, and this is one of those rare first issues where you already know there’s plenty out that’s already completed. I’m assuming this one will have significantly less punching than his Ruffians series, but who knows? Check it out, maybe buy a few issues while you’re at it to see where this is headed. $2

Hooyman, Kevin – Elemental Stars

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Elemental Stars

Who’s up for a good quest story? As is often the case, the journey here is far more important than the destination. Then again, that’s when all the action happens here, so what do I know. This one starts out with Bird-Man having a dream about a crystal city. His friend (?) Alvum wakes him up, they chat briefly before Bird-Man decides that he has to tell everyone he knows about this dream so that they can all find it together. As he sets out on his journey we learn more about the other characters that are with him, along with which characters were not invited on this trip and why. I don’t know what these creatures had against Hedgie, but that little man seems very useful in a crisis. Oops, almost a spoiler! That was a close one. I almost told you about how Hedgie went full kaiju… darn, I did it again! Anyway, this is a delightful mini, where there’s somehow time to make each of these half dozen characters a fully realized being. Kevin did some really solid work here, so give it a shot! $6


Jackson, Rob – Meat Grinder

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Meat Grinder

More than once I’ve thought that I should gather up all my old Rob Jackson comics and read them again. The man has been doing this for quite a while now; I’m curious to see what’s changed. If you knew my (nonexistent) organizational system you’d know why that always up just being an idea, but today a second thought struck me: maybe I should go back and read just my reviews for his books. I have to have written at least a couple of dozen reviews of his work over the years, and I’d be astounded if I hadn’t repeated myself in that time, probably several times over. For example, one of the first things I thought while reading this was how impressive Rob’s ability was to create a fully formed world, then move onto something completely different in his next comic and do it all again. This one is filled with characters that bring up a lot of questions, but chances this is all we’ll ever see of them. I should probably get to the comic, right? Right. This is basically one long cooking contest, with the stakes being pretty damned high if our heroes end up as losers. There’s the glutinous ruler, the other contestants, the judges, our hero the clown and his two helpers. Then there’s the meat itself, which is a delightful source of suspicion all the way through the ending. As always with one of Rob’s comics, there was suspense, surprises and more than a few funny bits. Seriously, if you can get through that sample page without laughing, you might be dead inside. Check it out, give the man some money so he keeps making these things. Probably around $6, but I don’t know the exchange rate at the moment…

Mihailova, Liana – Neverending Race

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Neverending Race

Dog shows! There’s a whole lot that goes into them, the care and feeding of the dogs specifically. This comic compares and contrasts the dog to their handler, tying a link between each of their ambitions and goals. Is there also a subtle dig at the treatment of these animals and what they get out of the process versus the handler? Eh, maybe, if you look at the last page. Or I’m putting my own biases into it, which is a constant problem. Liana does a masterful job of blending the dog and the handler into one, sometimes leaving the reader unable to tell where one ends and the other begins. The dog putting its handler through the paces, for example, is an image that’ll stick with me. This comic is at times adorable, haunting and seemingly inevitable. An odd mix, but it all blends together more seamlessly than you might think. Give it a shot and you might earn yourself a treat! $6

Cholst, Rachel & Boyle, Angela – Artema: The Beast #2

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Artema: The Beast #2

Here’s a questions for the pedants in the audience, since clearly this series is going places and I’m going to have to figure this out eventually: is it best to list this as “Artema #2: The Beast,” since each title is apparently going to have a different subtitle? After all, this isn’t “The Beast #2.” Oh, the worries you have when you’re running a small press comics review website! Yep, the struggle is real. Anyway, the subtitle is accurate this time around, as Artema goes full beast here. Her fighting skills make any sort of combat a joke for whoever she’s fighting (except for the fact that she’s killing whoever she’s fighting); towards the end of the issue she takes out 1000 soldiers more or less by herself. Along the way she meets a few more people that I assume are going to become more of a factor as time goes on, and ensures that she makes a lifelong enemy out of the enemy commander. Still more questions than answers for me, but since this is only the second issue that’s still the way things should be. Rachel and Angela are on a good pace here, seem to be getting the support they need from their Kickstarter (and hey, chip in if you like them; I’d link but they’re on Facebook, so just follow the link through the website for Artema). I’m especially intrigued by the title of the next one being “The Lover” after so much mayhem in this issue, so here’s hoping they don’t stop now! $5


Aushenker, Michael – The Brooklyner

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The Brooklyner

Here’s the thing about humor: it’s subjective. I know, pick your jaw up off the floor, but some people actually think Adam Sandler is still funny, or that those “Scary Movie” films are the height of hilarity. They’re wrong for me, but they’re not wrong for them. Even though I think they could do better, that part of what makes us better people is challenging ourselves to grow and expand our horizons, that garbage is still, to them, funny. I bring all this meandering nonsense up so I can seamlessly segue into talking about this comic, which is a collection of rejected strips that Michael sent to The New Yorker. Now, I haven’t read a New Yorker strip in years, outside of the few that run alongside other articles I’m reading online. It’s been ages since I’ve found them particularly funny, and Michael felt the same way, seeming to notice a dip in quality over recent years. So he thought something along the lines of “hey, I can at least be as funny as these strips,” and sent these along in 2018. They were all rejected, so now his question is this: are these rejected strips funnier than what’s currently running in their magazine and, if not, are they even funny at all? This is all from his afterword, by the way; I’m not the first successful mind reader in history. So, based on all that I said above, including my ignorance of the current New Yorker strips, are they that funny? Well, I never laughed out loud reading this, but I rarely do for their strips either, so I’ll give them a tie. But several of these strips wouldn’t feel out of place if I first saw them in their magazine, so in that sense I’d say these were successful. Read it for yourself to make up your own mind, you don’t need me to tell you what you think is funny. $3

Atoms, Ivy – Pinky & Pepper Forever

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Pinky & Pepper Forever

Where to even begin talking about this comic? It’s amazing, sure, but I’m not nearly as talented as Ivy, so how do I convey that on this page? This is the story of Pinky and Pepper (duh), two lesbian art students who end up in hell. See, that already feels like a spoiler! But it’s also in the synopsis on the back cover, so maybe it’s not a bad thing to mention. Anyway, Pepper is open about using Pinky as her muse for most of the projects, but Pinky is trying to forge her own path, which eventually leads to her final art project that ends up with her in hell. Pepper tries to live her life without her, but eventually she realizes she cannot and ends up in hell too. She thought she might end up in the other place, but alas. Naturally she tries to find Pinky, but when she does manage that things don’t exactly go as she expected. There are all kinds of clever touches here about art school life, conversations with the parents when you’re living with your same sex partner (“Again, she’s my girlfriend, not my roommate”), how they’re each seen by their peers, digging into their past sexual histories to examine what they’re currently doing… there’s a lot here, and that’s in the half of the book where they’re still in the real world. I’m leaving the entire section of them in hell for you to discover, and wow is there a lot to discover. Ivy won a grant at Cartoon Crossroads for this book (reports differed but one thing I heard was that she got $5000? I hope that’s true) and, as this is my early winner of “best book in show,” she earned it. Check it out, get in on the ground floor with this one, as she’s going to be a big comics star if she keeps this up. $12

Lindell, Lawrence – Couldn’t Afford Therapy So I Made This

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Couldn’t Afford Therapy So I Made This

Sometimes at comic conventions there are titles that stand out from everything else, even at a show like Cartoon Crossroads where there were amazing books everywhere I looked. This title? I’m not sure if I even slowed down. The money was in my hand as I said hello to Lawrence, and the comic lived up to the title. This comic is a list of his mental health disorders, how he navigates the world on a daily basis (and a few tips for friends and family to keep in mind if he’s running late or behaving “oddly”), the manic and depressive phases, personal space concerns, how he constantly relives the night he got robbed (whether he should have tried to stop them, the order he could have attacked them, how he would have fought back if he was alone but he had others to consider), and the PTSD that comes with it. He’s in a near constant state of hypervigilance, which sounds absolutely exhausting. It also reminds me that I had a long conversation with Jaime Crespo, who had a table right near him, after buying his book, and how the average con must be a very different place for him than it is for me. Still feels like I’m just scratching the surface of everything he talks about in here, so the only obvious solution is for you to get a copy for yourself. If you have any mental health issues (and doesn’t everybody, to some degree?), you’ll find some useful information in here. If you’re the picture of mental health, you’re not reading a website with reviews about comics dealing with mental health problems anyway, so I’ll just let this sentence implode in on itself now. $7

Stang, Audra – The Audra Show #1

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The Audra Show #1

There’s more than you might think that goes into buying comics at conventions. For example, this particular comic. It looked intriguing, Audra couldn’t have been nicer at her table (she even chased me down to get me a better copy after I was oblivious and purchased her display copy of the first issue), but it was early in the show. Do you get all three comics on display for $10, or check out one issue for $4? I went with the cheaper option, and here I am, a couple of weeks later, regretting it. Gah, I’m a dummy. Oh well, I still have one issue to review. Obviously I liked it, so let’s remove all suspense on that front right away. This is another case where I’m not sure how far I should dig down into spoilers (especially since that cover and title make a lot more sense about 2/3 of the way through), so I’ll try to tiptoe around them. This is the story of three servers at a restaurant, helpfully listed on the back cover: Owen, Bea and Jonah. Owen seems like a nice guy, Bea is an oddball, and Jonah so far seems like a straight up creep. Owen get hassled by some customers, he and Bea have a chat about scars as he tries to determine whether or not he’s getting hit on, and Jonah annoys him by badgering Owen about his hitting on Bea. Then the shift is over and they go about their evenings, leading to Bea seeing Owen alone on a pier. Just as she’s approaching him to say hello, he jumps into the water. And doesn’t come up for air for a distressingly long amount of time. Which is as far as I can get without spoilers! I will say that this particular problem was resolved by the end of the issue, but now I can’t wait to see what happens next, and I was too shortsighted to get all three issues at the con. Use me as a cautionary tale, comic readers! If you have the cash to check out the first few issues of a series… do it! $4 (or $10 for issues #1-3)

Fawkes, Glynnis – Persephone’s Garden

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Persephone’s Garden

When I get a comic or graphic novel to review and it takes me several weeks to review it, one of a few things happened. Maybe I lost track of it and found it later. Maybe I just had a backlog of things to review and got to it as soon as I could. And, once in a great while, I’ve been sitting with a book, keeping it around so I can check on things when they pop into my brain, because I just can’t get the book out of my head. For Persephone’s Garden (which arrived months ago), that last one is the answer. I kept thinking I knew what I wanted to say, then I’d think of some story or strip from the book, go back and read it and completely lose what I wanted to say. But since I can either do that forever or say something about this remarkable book, it’s time to ramble! This is, on a basic level, the story of Glynnis, her kids, husband and parents. This book is packed with adorable stories about kids, about the crazy things they say and do, and about their perpetual suffering through vacations and meals that would awe most adults. It’s also about dealing with her mother, who has had alzheimer’s for the last few years, and how the mother/parent roles have been reversed. Her mother made tapestries for years, using incredibly elaborate patterns, and watching as her skills gradually left her was devastating. There’s also stories about Glynnis and her job, which is to travel to different locations and make illustration of different pieces of pottery so they’re not lost to history. All of these things would make for a complex and vast graphic novel, but it’s the way that she ties them all together that’s truly brilliant. It all comes together in the most natural and amazing way by the end, and once again I feel compelled to leave it the reader to find out what that means. You can read this on a surface level and get plenty out of it; by that criteria alone this should be considered one of the best books of the year. But when you get down into how it all ties together, it’s possible this book should be elevated even higher than that. Read it, in other words. Now I’m going to go back to contemplating various bits of it, possibly forever. $21.95

Powerpaola – I Couldn’t Stop

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I Couldn’t Stop

Could this be the most straightforward of the mini kus comics? Nah, the ending alone blows that idea out of the water, but it’s bad form to talk about the ending of a book, so I won’t do that. But the bulk of it is a narrative that’s easy to follow, so maybe this is the mini kus book you should keep on your coffee table to get people hooked when they come over and thumb through the random comics you leave out. Anyway, the story here is about our hero, as she just wants a night out after a rough week of working on a comic about sexual abuse. She meets up with a friend, they get a drink, move on to another location and meet up with a couple of guys (it’s not clear if they were waiting for the ladies to show up or were just friendly strangers; it also doesn’t matter a whole lot). After they’re seated they have a fascinating conversation that’s interrupted by some cops with their guns drawn, looking for a burglar. Finally the evening comes to a close and the three other people take an Uber together, while Paola heads home on her bike. This is where the mildly confusing ending happens, but I think I’ve figured it out while I was writing this. Maybe. Give this one a look, if you’re bothered by how open to interpretation some of these mini kus books can be, this one should ease your worries. $6

Cherry, Tom/Martin, Dale – Double Dip #2

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Double Dip #2

When I saw in the intro for this book that it had been 8 years since the last issue, my first thought was simple. Did I review the first issue 8 years ago? Yep, I sure did! OK, so did I like it? Yes again! OK, so what do I remember about it? Um… not much. Hey, you try remembering every comic you’ve ever read when you write at least a few reviews a week (and five a week for several years). Anyway, one thing I mentioned in the last review was that I had no idea how to follow Dale’s Watusi story, as he referenced several things that were clearly part of a past series. Well, this time around he uses footnotes to explain exactly when the past action happened, so at least it’s a mystery that can be solved now. The man has 39 issues of his Watusi series out (not to mention his other comics), so it’s easy to see why things get hard to keep track of. His story picks up directly from #1 and deals with the shape shifting creature, how he got here, what he did on previous trips to visit, and a demonstration of his skills. Next issue we get his full origin, so here’s hoping it’s not another 8 years before that happens. There’s also Tom’s story, which is a self-contained story about a boy who invents his own curse word to avoid getting into trouble. Throw in a giant robot that’s out to destroy the world and things end up coming together quite nicely. It’s a measly $2, give it a shot you cheapskates!

Romano Diehl, Sarah & Lehmann, Brandon – I Like Totally Know What You Did Last Summer

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Brandon’s Website

I Like Totally Know What You Did Last Summer

Is this still a movie that can be parodied in 2019? I’m genuinely curious if the kids today remember a movie that came out in, what, 1995? It just occurred to me that I’m connected to the internet, so it turns out it was 1997, with one sequel. Eh, who knows. I thought it was terrible when I saw it (full disclosure: in the theaters; yes, I’m ancient), but it’s not like that’s enough to stop a movie from becoming a cult classic. Anyway, you’ll get more out of this comic if you’ve seen the movie, but either way it’s a fun little romp of teenage panic, unsupported assumptions and mistaken identity. I can’t say much more about that without giving the whole plot away, but I will say it’s not just a retelling of the film, this comic has its own thing to say. I laughed a few times, I didn’t see the ending coming, what more can you ask for? I am curious about what exactly happened to Tom, but it’s irrelevant really, and me finding out would have ruined the surprise a bit earlier. Give it a shot, especially if you’re as amazed as I am to find out that that movie has any kind of staying power. $6.90

Baylis, Jonathan & Various Artists – So Buttons: Slice of Cake

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So Buttons: Slice of Cake

It’s a convention compilation! What that means is that a number of these stories appeared in previous issues. Maybe all of them, although at least a couple of the artist names were new to me. This is all just a warning to say I’ve reviewed several of these stories already, and if my opinion has changed in the meantime, it should be a good reminder that you’re reading reviews from a mush brain. I thought they would all be about food, but it about the CAKE convention in Chicago, not literally cake. Still, about 2/3 of the stories are about food. Most of the rest of it is the various stories (drawn by Marvel legend Fred Hembeck) dealing with his time as a Marvel intern, the time he met Joe Simon, and his time working for Valiant comics. The food stories deal with his struggles with pork (I definitely reviewed that story very recently), his OCD M & M habits, the grey roast beef, the secret to the brisket, and finding the perfect coffee blend. But wait, there are still two more stories! One deals with Jonathan coming up with the perfect comeback after it’s too late to matter, and the other is his vague connection to the greeting card work of Robert Crumb. So if you have all of his comics already, maybe these are all in other comics? Unclear. But if you’re looking to get all your Hembeck stories in one place, or all of his food stories, this is a really solid collection of tales. $10

Allan, Von – Wolf’s Head #2

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Wolf’s Head #2

When I get a couple of issues of a series to review, there’s a system I like to use when reviewing them. I try to get the first issue reviewed quickly, to help get the word out in whatever tiny way it happens around here. Then I give it several months before getting to the next review. Not always! If I’m completely out of books to review, or if I’m really into the series, I’ll be quicker. But that’s the general idea, and it’s for one simple reason: that’ll give time for the creator to get another issue out, which is a good sign for me to take a series seriously. And sometimes I just lose a comic in the general chaos of my life, but let’s ignore that possibility. Anyway, Von has 2 new issues ready as of this review, so he’s very clearly taking this all seriously. Read the last review if you don’t want to get completely lost here, although why you’d only read the review for a second issue of a comic is beyond me. Or just the second issue of a comic. This time around that rich scientist is still trying to get his AI back, Lauren’s mom is still hiding it and having health problems, Lauren is dealing with her terrible job and the consequences of her actions in the last issue, and Sanko is still looking for belly rubs. There’s a lot going on here, which is why I’m being mostly vague. Damn near anything I could mention would be a spoiler, so why don’t I make things simple. I’m all in on the mystery here; I’m even starting to like some of the side characters who are supposed to be assholes, and Von clearly has a master plan here, even if the big surprise towards the end seemed to even take him by surprise (according to his notes in the back). I’m hooked, is the point, and I think most people who are willing to give this a shot would find themselves similarly hooked. $9

Kostecka, Chris & The Yuan Twins – Hippo Ocracy

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Hippo Ocracy

Sometimes I get books to review that are perfectly fine books, they’re just not for me. Where I’m at in my life, the mood I’m in at the time, it just happens sometimes. For example, this is a book that’s about 2/3 giant fight scene between an army of hippos and an army of crocodiles. Right away I’m guessing a good chunk of you either really want to see what it’s all about, while the rest of you just have no interest in such a fight. I’m in the latter camp. The fight scene felt like it went on WAY too long, and if you’re just coming along for a wide variety of gore, most of the kills were pretty basic. So what’s the story? Things start off with our heroes (the king, his wife and his son) meeting up with another clan that’s having a harder time. We also meet the squirrels who are living in the king’s hair and the king of the sea, who appears to be a puffer fish who also uses a cane. Underwater. While also having no legs. Is it odd to fixate on that one aspect of the book? Because it strikes me as something that never got past the “looks kind of cool” stage. Not necessarily a bad stage, but if your fish king uses a cane, at some point you should probably explain that. Anyway, from there we learn that the king hippo (Khipo) literally shits chimichangas and burritos. Yes, and we see this happen in great detail, along with the vomit that comes from a reaction, along with the slipping and sliding on said vomit… yeah, it’s a gross book. Next they’re building a wall to keep all the “illegals” out, and I was expecting some social commentary here, either for or against, it being 2019 and all, but nope, it’s just a wall. Most of the rest of the book is that very long fight scene, meaning it’s time to wrap this up. Despite my overall indifference, there are people reading this who are intrigued by the story or concept, and you people, you’ll probably love this! I could take it or leave it, but I’m also well into the “getting too old to be reviewing comics” stage. Why are you taking comics advice from a curmudgeon? $16


Aulisio, Pat – Survive 300,000,000 Volume 1

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Survive 300,000,000 Volume 1

Is this the most narratively straightforward comic that Pat has ever done? Eh, probably not. The dude has made all kinds of comics over the years! Still, if you’re looking for an entry point into his very odd and unique world, this is a pretty solid place to start. It’s the year 300,000,000, and things are rough. Humans killed themselves off millions of years ago, reptilians came around and took over but they’re gone now too, and it looks like it’s down to just some scattered groups of creatures here and there. And there’s the boy and his dad, trying to (as the title implies) survive in this harsh world. Right away they’re accosted by a group of green… people? Probably not. They choose not to engage them, and later this group is attacked by a large bear. The bear kills one of them, the boy and his dad kill the bear from a distance, and follow that up by killing the survivors of the group that was attacked. That’s your introduction to this world, so it’s clear what it takes to make it there. A lot of the rest of the book is them traveling through various landscapes, dealing with whatever dangers they find along the way. Things end on quite the cliffhanger, but this is Pat Aulisio we’re talking about; he already has the next part available on his website. I’m still not entirely sure where the whole thing is going, but there’s nothing wrong with that after only reading the first part. It’s definitely worth a look, and as of August 2019 he was selling both parts for $16 altogether. If you just want this part it’s $12, so I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the better deal.

Hewitt, Joseph – Voles of the Dusk: Scum Hive

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Voles of the Dusk: Scum Hive

Since this book came out in 2012, has this really been lost among the comic stacks here for 7 years, or did Joseph include it with some more recent review comics? A peek behind the curtain, just in case anybody still somehow had the idea that I was organized. I think he sent it fairly recently, but who knows? The archivist is imaginary, which makes it hard to keep track of such things. Anyway, this is the story of The Vole with No Name breaking into the Scum Hive to steal a priceless sword. The first half of the book has exactly three spoken words and it does an excellent job of showing our hero sneaking into this place and the various pitfalls he encounters along the way. The rest of the is a desperate attempt to escape, primarily from a very large sentient jar full of brains. It’s more nimble than you’d think! There’s also a brief story in the back of the book dealing with a vole and his son picking berries. They discover a human skull (from ages ago when all the humans were killed; haven’t you been reading his comics?) and get into a discussion about what happened to them and death in general. It’s a thoroughly engaging comic all around, give it a shot why don’t you? $3

Froh, Kelly – Walking Uphill

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Walking Uphill

Is this really Kelly’s first graphic novel? Looking over her comics here and on her website, it sure looks that way. Well, if you’re one of those weirdos who only reads graphic novels and turns your nose up at mini comics, you’re in for a treat here, as Kelly has been doing her thing for over a decade now, honing her craft. Yes, you should also check out her mini comics too, and not reading mini comics is just damned odd, straw person I made up in my head. There’s a lot going on here, so much so that I started the book over after finishing it. If you have a short attention span, that’s all the review you need right there: I read most of this book again right away. Obviously I loved it! Things start off with Kelly and her friend Missie (name possibly changed) in Portland in 1994, living in a hostel, barely getting by and not at all sure that they made the right call in coming to Portland. Next we get to see what brought her to that moment, how she became friends with Missie in Wisconsin, their experiences with drugs and parties, how they already seemed to start veering off into different personal directions before they left town. There’s a whole lot more to the chapter than that, but why spoil all the surprises? The last chapter shows them moving to Seattle, the trouble they had again settling in (better than Portland, but barely) and how the reality of them drifting apart became unavoidable. Nothing is belabored here; it’s all subtle enough that I read it again when I was done, after all. The awkward moments at parties, how her friend saved her at least once from creeps, that devastating moment at a party when some guy said horrible things to her while she was on acid (having been there, very few things can more quickly strip you down to a blubbering mess, existentially at least)… there’s a whole lot to love here. It doesn’t hurt that Kelly was born in the same year as me, so I can personally relate to the atmosphere and music, but don’t be afraid, kiddos! Not knowing what the fuck you’re doing with your life in your early 20’s is a universal condition. Buy this book, and know that once you realize how much you like it, there’s a whole library of her past comics just waiting for you to discover. $14