Archive for category Reviews

Luster, Joseph – Slime

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Slime

So, how would you handle it if you woke up a slime monster? Because if that does happen to you and you’re having a crisis, I’d recommend reading this book to get some good ideas. Assuming that you still have hands to grip the book, but it seems like this guy manages OK. Anyway, our hero wakes up with no memory of the night before and sees that he’s a slime monster. He takes all this in stride and decides to go out and face the day regardless. As his day progresses he notices that he’s seeing things a bit differently, noticing things that he never did before, and his body is going through some alarming (and occasionally disgusting) changes. The book is basically this slime guy coming to terms with things, even though he comes to terms with it on the first page. Huh, that doesn’t make any sense. Well, then let’s say that he’s really experiencing other people coming to terms with his new look and using his new “abilities” to impress the ladies. Although, seeing as how we don’t see the reaction from said lady, I do wonder how that trick with the beer went over. This comic is a fun little read with more than a little bit that may gross you out, but hey, toughen up! If you ever do see somebody pushing bits of glass into their slime face in real life, this comic will have you ready for it. $4

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Marshall, Scott – Doing the Dishes With Batman

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Doing the Dishes With Batman

OK, a quick test to see how well we would get along in real life. If you saw a comic on the shelf (or, more likely, the internet) named “Doing the Dishes With Batman,” would you immediately stop what you were doing to read it, or would you move along to other comics with barely a glance? If you picked the first option, we could possibly be friends! If you picked the second option, you are dead to me. So hey, about this comic. It turns out that a good chunk of it is actual instructions on how to do the dishes if you don’t have a dishwasher. It’s practical advice! Damned near unheard of in a comic, but if you have questions about the process, there’s a solid chance that this could help you out. Of course, that leaves out the Batman aspect of the comic, and that’s where it gets interesting. Batman, you see, has never really done the dishes, what with Alfred around all the time. And Batman doing the dishes opens up a whole new world to his mind, and it’s a new world with a pretty great payoff on the final page. So to sum up: this is an informative comic about washing dishes, an often funny comic with Batman in it, and it has a solid ending. I’d say it’s worth a look! Unless you own a dishwasher and hate Batman, in which case it might not do much for you, but who both owns a dishwasher AND hates Batman? It seems unlikely.

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Reed, Desmond – Troubled Teen

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Troubled Teen

This creepy world of Desmond’s is really starting to come together. Granted, I got a bunch of his comics all at once and have no idea what order they were supposed to be read in (if any), but this issue features an appearance by both Scumbag and the Uncles. But enough about them, this is all about our hero, Troubled Teen. This gentleman was discovered in a trash can (“like most folks”) when he was a baby by a group of Uncles. The Teen, in the manner of most characters in this universe, aged to maturity over a span of a few weeks. This would imply that his species tends to reproduce quickly, and this is confirmed when we get a close up look at one of the many zits on his face only to see a tiny Troubled Teen beginning to form. Our hero has his own unique form of population control, which shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody that knows any actual teenage boys. Scumbag is somehow his brother (best not to dig too deep into the logistics of that one), and Troubled Teen delights in tormenting Scumbag whenever possible. The rest of the story deals with a possible origin story (specifically who dumped him in that dumpster), but that’s all we get this time around. Assuming that there are more issues coming, which I have no information about one way or the other. In theory Desmond could build an even more expansive universe out of all this. If the only thing holding that back is an unwillingness to creep his audience out even further, I say bring on the creepiness!

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Yamamoto, Tetsuya – The Rule

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The Rule

OK, this one is going to be exceptionally tricky to talk about without giving away any spoilers, as the last 10 pages or so are fantastic. But hey, that’s out of a 30 page book, so technically that still gives me 2/3 of the book to talk about! That’s right, I’m breaking out some math to stall a little bit. This is all about this one guy who finds “It” on a beach. What this thing actually is is never firmly established, and we never do get a good look at it, but it’s clearly an object of great importance to the world. Or at least to the creatures that he meets. Anyway, this guy takes “It” to the oldest museum in the world and the woman at the desk is able to take a picture and pass along the image to undefined specialists. One of them responds (it’s not one that has ever responded before), and our hero is sent down into a dark and foreboding cave. It’s not clear whether or not he tries to get away to avoid going down, but the door slams shut as soon as he gets inside and it’s a moot point. Down there he runs into…. I don’t know what to call those things. They reminded me of gingerbread men, but less expressive. Basically they just unfolded themselves from the cave wall to talk. They tell our hero some cryptic hints about “It,” but all the while the “Director” of this museum has been running towards our hero, and that confrontation is where the last 10 pages or so of the book come into play. Basically the title of the comic refers to “It” being able to establish any rules for a confrontation with this director, and our hero sets those rules up magnificently. This one is a lot of fun, and clearly I loved that ending, so you should give it a shot. And I just caught something from the image on the back cover that I didn’t notice before, and it all makes even more sense to me now. Check it out, is what I say. $5

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Moreton, Simon – Smoo #8

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Smoo #8

Smoo has either been on a break or I just haven’t been getting the comics, but this is the first new issue I’ve seen in a while. And it is just about as stripped down as a comic could be and still be considered a comic. This is (if I have the gist of it correct) about Simon’s time both with and without a girlfriend, or possibly just a very good friend. Everything is told in a few lines, and you can tell from that cover that the title figure barely qualifies as a stick figure. It still somehow works, as the bare bones of what he went through during that time are more than enough to carry the story. The relationship talk in particular is an explosion of a conversation that quite literally shatters his view of the world, and there are a lot of quiet moments following this before the eventual reconciliation. All of this is told with as few words as possible, but most of us have been in positions like this before and can see what’s going on even in the most simplified terms possible. It’s another solid issue, and it proves that you can identify with characters that barely even look human if the content is universal enough.

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Michel, Doug – Monkey Squad One #13

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Monkey Squad One #13

How about that cover, huh? It looks like a big mess of nothing, and it’s not possible to make out the one tiny thing that might be a landmark. Until you actually open the book, where you see that it’s the tombstone for Doug, and it all makes sense. In case I haven’t mentioned this in reviews for this series before (it all tends to blend together after awhile and it’s not like I go back and read old reviews which, come to think of it, might not be a bad idea every now and then), Doug has really improved in his pacing of these stories. Human Doug, that is, not the U.N.C.L.E. Doug who died in the last issue. This issue is downright somber by MSO standards. It’s been one year since Doug died, and Brendan and Connor are both dealing with their grief (and their being trapped on an all-girl planet) in different ways. Connor has kept up his training, even though he still seems to be getting his butt kicked on a regular basis. And Brendan has been spending his time mastering a game called Unicorn Picnic, which I desperately wish was a real thing, but I seem to be stuck in this reality. It’s a little odd that Brendan doesn’t spend more time with the ladies, but I can’t remember how old he’s supposed to be, so maybe it’s for the best to avoid awkwardness. Anyway, we see a bit more of this world, Connor gets his braces taken off (mostly), Brendan discovers something that might help them get home, and that’s the end of the main story. Spoilers, kind of, in the most technical sense of the term. This is the first part of a six part series, so Doug has time to let things breathe, and he’s done a wonderful job of it with this issue. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he keeps up a fairly regular publication schedule, as this pace might get annoying on a book that only puts out new issues every couple of years. The backup story involves the fake future earth from 2039 and a prolonged gunfight (including robots!), with a pretty great surprise ending that I’m not going to talk about even a little. This book has gradually turned into one of the books that I most enjoy getting, which is something I didn’t entirely expect when I first started reading it, so kudos to Doug. If you’re not reading this, you really should be, and it looks like Doug has most of the issues up for free at his website so you can get caught up.

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Brown, Robert – Killjoy #3

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Killjoy #3

See, this is why all small press comics (that are part of a continuing series) should have notes on at least one of the inside covers. Right away I learned that these stories were taken from a project called Catch A Fairy, which is all stories from “formative years prior to secondary education.” So before high school? That seems to be the case for all of these stories so far. I also learned that these are stories of Robert as a child, as he called upon the memory of the girl involved in this story to fill in a lot of details. It’s called “Valentine,” so you can probably guess where it’s going, and he includes many delightfully awkward moments that brought up a wave of memories. There’s the valentine snuck into his desk, which he shoved back into said desk in a panic, and which the girl who had a crush on him had to basically drag out into the open. There was Robert’s utter cluelessness about the term “going out,” which I could relate to in far too many details, but he managed to figure it out relatively quickly. From there we see all the gory details of a boy in middle school trying to figure out the rules of dating while also being far more interested in hanging out with his boy friends than he was with anything involved with dating. He was remarkably callous and more than a little cruel to Amanda (although he was nice enough to apologize in the forward), which is exactly what most “relationships” are like at that time of life. It’s another really great issue, and I’d say that three in a row makes a pattern. These books are unlike most other “when I was a kid” stories and you should really check them out. I guess if you were the perfect kid you might not find anything to relate to, but if that’s the case then why are you reading reviews of small press comics? $5

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Steiner, Steve – Satan Cat #1

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Satan Cat #1

Aw, look at the cute little cat mini comic! This is a shortie with a very simple premise: a cat thinks that it is Satan. Or maybe the cat is Satan? There’s at least a second issue of this series, so maybe we’ll find out later! Although it’s most likely just a regular cat. Anyway, this issue deals with the cat (named, according to the food bowl, Muffin) trying to order a bug around as his minion. The bug is skeptical but follows along, mostly because the cat is very much larger than the bug. This goes on for a bit, the cat convinces its owner to give it fish bits, which then annoys it because its mouth is too small to eat as many fish bits as quickly as it would like. Things are resolved (no, I won’t spoil even this), and that’s that. Like I said, this is a very short story, but it’s cute and there’s always at least a little bit of ambiguity about whether or not any one cat is actually Satan. Check it out if you like cats or Satan!

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Ristaino, Andy – Night of the Living Vidiots

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Night of the Living Vidiots

Full disclosure: Andy works for Adventure Time (he was, according to Wikipedia, instrumental in their getting their only Emmy so far), which means that this book automatically just went up a few notches in my mind. And if you haven’t watched that show because you’re an adult and think that it’s only for kids, you’re wrong. Pendleton Ward, Tom Herpich and Jesse Moyhihan were all mini comics people before making that show, so their hearts clearly come from the right place. Says I, even if I am biased. Anyway, I’ll take a calm step back and evaluate this book purely on the merits. This is a collection of short stories from Andy, done between 2004 and 2013, put together with the invaluable financial assistance of Kickstarter. Stories in here include the title story (about humans who are consumed by literal televisions and end up spouting inane advertisting/self help lingo as they convert everybody they come into contact with), a wolf man and his hot rod (and the law on his tail), an anime extravaganza featuring smaller ships that form a larger robot against nature, Dr. Mario Bandini and his unintentional (and often horrific) heroism, the continuation of that wolf man story (also featuring a vampire lady and a giant squid), and the high price of winning a race to impress the ladies. That anime story was probably the best of that really solid bunch, as the idea of two giant robots playing poker with cars (with card symbols painted on the hoods) to go with the stakes of said game was a thing of beauty, and there’s no getting away from the sheer joy involved in that ending. Recurring characters play a big part of this book too, and it never hurts to break up a collection like this with short single page strips. These are mostly the Death Shirt and Frosty Beveraged Man, who is just like the Kool-Aid Man but full of beer. He gets into all sorts of ethically questionable adventures and, again, Andy really stuck the landing with that character. Oh, and there’s Mangfish, who deals with all of the problems that a man-eating monster would deal with while taking his date to the prom. It’s a really solid collection of stories, many of them are in full and glorious color, and I’m of the continuing opinion that everybody involved with Adventure Time should be as rich as humanly possible, which doesn’t leave you very many reasons not to buy this. Unless people misusing “your” sticks in your craw, that is, as he gets that wrong an alarming number of times. But he gets it consistently wrong, which is oddly comforting to me. Anyway, I highly recommend this, and don’t let my nitpicking at the end here scare you off. $20

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Brown, Robert – Killjoy #2

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Killjoy #2

Ah, childhood. Last time around we got one long tale about camp, this time around we get several smaller tales of some of the more traumatic moments possible for a kid. Stories in here include the secret of Robert’s crush getting back to the source (I’m just assuming that the character is based on Robert because his name is “Robert,” but I have no idea if these are all things that actually happened to him. In some cases I very much hope that they’re fictional), getting in trouble for pushing down a kid that was making fun of him, the urban legend of concentrating hard enough to leave your body behind but then never managing to get back to your body, the forbidden thrill of watching something that you’re not supposed to be watching after your parents have gone to bed (and the way that the cartoon in question undercut their argument at a critical moment was priceless) and getting lost in a crowded space. That last one happened to me as a kid and let me tell you, it’s terrifying. All you can see is a tall, endless sea of people who aren’t your parents, and Robert nailed that image. Two issues in and this series is still delightful. The only way I could see anybody hating it is if they wanted to pretend that they were never a kid, but for everybody else you’re bound to find at least one story that you can relate to in a big way. $5

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Reed, Desmond – The Littlest Pervert

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The Littlest Pervert

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read a children’s story based on the life of a pervert? Well, wonder no more! Maybe this isn’t technically a children’s book (no “maybe” about it, really), but that’s how this comic reads, which makes it extra creepy. As the title would suggest, this is the story of the littlest pervert. His tiny size makes him the butt of jokes amongst the other perverts, and it also makes him really stand out in police lineups, so eventually the perverts gang up on him and chase him out of town. From there our “hero” goes on a quest in the forest, and I have rarely been more tempted to spoil an ending. I’ll just say that I wasn’t sure if it was possible for an ending to be deeply creepy and somehow still a happy ending, but Desmond has managed it here. There are plenty of times when I wish a comic I was reading was a continuing series, but Desmond has put together a bundle of one shot comics that could only work in that format, and he has done it beautifully. I hate to think what would actually happen to this character after the end of this issue, but as a single issue it’s funny and unnerving, which is exactly what it should be.

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Cosse, Antoine – Harold

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Harold

What an absolutely fascinating book. I don’t think this is any part of a larger universe, which is a shame, as all kinds of themes/characters in here could be expanded upon pretty easily. This is ostensibly the story of a famous man, his bodyguard and them hiding in their vehicle when the princess is getting ready to leave her hotel to avoid the swarm of paparazzi. Leading up to that we see a pack of wild dogs roaming, suggesting that civilization doesn’t stretch far in this world, and the bodyguard is wearing a square covering over his mouth… assuming that is his mouth. From there the bodyguard tries to tell the story of the princess to his client, but the client falls asleep on him before we get to see the ending. What we do see shows a pampered young lady who remained in her apartment, cut off from the world below, as society crumbled. As for the princess leaving her hotel, things are not as they seem, and a trick is pulled on the assembled paparazzi. And a secret is revealed about the nature of the bodyguards, as you may be able to guess from their picture on that cover. Antoine does a fantastic job of letting the images speak for themselves and having quiet images serve to build up the world and the status of certain objects in that world. The slow build to the apartment of the princess took many pages, but it was the perfect way to show exactly how cut off she was from any kind of reality outside of that apartment. I said earlier that this series could go on, but don’t get me wrong: this book works really well as a self-contained story. I’m left with more questions than answers, but there’s no law that says that that has to be a bad thing. $6

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Herman, Willard – The Escape Plan

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The Escape Plan

Well, it’s official: I don’t have anything to add to this one. Granted, I have blustered my way through a few reviews in my day with nothing to really say about a comic, but I thought I’d try to be up front about that fact this time around. This comic is about… hm. See, there’s this guy… nope, for all I know it’s possible that it’s a lady. OK, there’s this character who starts off with two giant pupils in their eyeballs. After a shake of the head and a heavy blink, this character only has one giant pupil. This pupil moves from side to side as the character shakes their head and/or blinks heavily. And then… well, that’s the gist of the comic right there. I hate to do this because this is undoubtedly going to come across like me not liking the comic, which could not be further from the truth. I was absolutely riveted for the minute or so that it took me to read this (it’s wordless), and what else could you ask for out of a comic? If you’re looking for an utterly unique experience, this one certainly fits the bill. $1

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Brown, Robert – Killjoy #1

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Killjoy #1

Who out there went to camp when they were a kid? If so, you may get some a serious blast of nostalgia from reading this. I went to a couple, but nothing that was an much fun as this one looks, and that’s even with the awkward social interactions. I’m mostly basing that on the abseiling (basically repelling yourself on a rope from a tall structure, although I think I’m thinking of a word other than “repelling.” Whatever the word is for “bounce down a wall like Batman did in the old tv show while holding a rope, which is also being held by an adult to prevent injuries”) and the construction of shelters. Anyway, that wasn’t the theme of the comic, that was just a taste of the nostalgic blast I got from it. This is about a young boy (of around 8 maybe?) being dropped off at camp and not really knowing anybody. There’s an embarrassing moment when he doesn’t know the slang being used for going to the bathroom, a moment of pure panic before he starts abseiling, being falsely accused of wrecking the structure of some other kids, and coming across the instructions for condoms in the woods. But lest you think that this was all about camp drama, I should point out that Robert was much more interested in showing the camp experience itself, and he does a fantastic job of laying that out, all the way down to the look on his face as he gets in the car to go home. His introduction was also damned entertaining, as he detailed the very few reasons why somebody would get their hands on a copy of his book, and I’m just going to flat out copy and paste his explanation for why he hasn’t been too productive with making more comics over the last five years: “…intent is frequently nullified by a toxic compound of doubt and indolence.” Yep, that nailed procrastination for sure. There are two more issues of this to review so I’m curious to see where it goes from here, but this issue was thoroughly entertaining.

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Warner, Andy – When We Were Kids

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When We Were Kids

I wonder sometimes how many stories from artists I really like are scattered around in anthologies that are long out of print, never again to see the light of day. Granted, I’m wondering this because the three stories in this book are from the Irene series, which are all (as of now) still in print. And sure, lots of people eventually put these “lost” stories into a collection of some kind. But when I think about the mid 90’s, back when I was getting started on good comics instead of Marvel crap, all kinds of those mini comics artists would put stories into anthologies for friends, often with print run in the dozens. Anyway, tying this back into the comic, this walk down memory lane was inspired by the theme of this book. Which, as you may have guessed from that title, deals with stories (real or imagined) from childhood. Andy picks three big moments here, and they’re moments that might not seem like that big of deal while they were happening. The first story is about a young man and woman who take acid and hike up a dune. The guy has never done it before while the lady has, and the story is delightfully thin on the stereotypically “trippy” visuals that often mar stories like this. No, more often than not these kinds of experiences are all about the conversations, and the revelations that come out of them. The second story deals with two young brothers who are trying to adapt to a new stepfather, and the moment we see here is set before a snowmobile race, after all kinds of beers are drank all around. The final story is between two girls who are on different paths after graduating high school, with one of them leaving and the other sticking around. This isn’t written as an ending for the two of them, but you can see the hints of it in the pauses and quiet moments. It’s a damn fine comic book, and I’m glad that all of these stories are gathered together here, even if what I’ve seen of Irene has been pretty great too. $5

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Chandler, Richy; Dare, Francesca; Inko; Kutsuwada, Chie; Liew, Zarina; Sarson, Jade – Rosie and Jacinda: Demon Cloud

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Rosie and Jacinda: Demon Cloud

Can I be cranky curmudgeon reviewer guy for a minute? Why am I asking, I can’t hear anything that you’re saying. I just wanted to establish the fact that I have a complaint that isn’t entirely fair or relevant, but it bugs me nonetheless: if you’re going to have a continuing series, please either number all of them or give them all a distinct title. Preferably the numbering, as it feels like I missed an issue before this one, but either way works. Granted, at least part of this is because of the labeling system that I use here, which is not a problem that many other humans have. Now that I have that ridiculous digression out of the way, how about that comic? This time around Rosie decides to tell Jacinda her true nature, the true identity of a teacher at school is revealed, and there’s a nice swerve involving _____ at the end that I did not see coming. Oh, and there’s a demon on the loose, and he’s hunting for someone. All this and the usual high school drama, where the leader of the cool girls clique finds somebody “worthy” to be with her, and where Rosie’s story is overheard, which leads to all sorts of issues for her at school. This time around the art chores have been divided among a few new people, and it’s a testament of the skills of the whole bunch of them that nothing jarred me out of the story. Richy is building a world bit by bit and I’m intrigued to see where he goes from here. He certainly set it up so that it can go in a number of ways, and this issue went a long way to fleshing out the characters of just about everybody. Well, except for maybe the potential love interest of Jacinda, who got short shrift this time around, but he wasn’t a relevant part of the story for this issue. The next issue might be an entirely different story. It’s a really solid issue and well worth checking out, unless you hate all stories involving high schools. Even if that’s the case there’s something to love in here for damned near everyone. Once again I’m going to guess on the price and, inflation being what it is, this time I’m guessing $8 (it is quite a large comic).

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Reed, Desmond – Scumbag

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Scumbag

Now that was one viscerally creepy comic. It takes a lot to get my skin to crawl after being desensitized over the years by horror movies and video games. but this thing grossed me out. I mean that in the best possible sense, of course. So! This one is all about a Scumbag who was born to two other Scumbags, but they didn’t want him so they left him in a dumpster. You can’t see the entire glorious picture from that cover, but this creature was also born wearing tighty whitey underwear. Anyway, he was taken in by “a pack of wild uncles,” and we’re treated to one of said uncles nursing the Scumbag. They all lived a happy life together until one day our hero felt a sharp pain in his stomach and was astonished to see a tiny Scumbag pop out of his stomach, fully formed. This then started happening every day, and the rest of the comic deals with his attempts to keep his offspring alive against a variety of enemies/nature. And then there’s the babysitter that will haunt your soul. It’s a thoroughly entertaining story, and a good peek into where Scumbags might come from. It does make a certain kind of sense that they would enter this world fully formed, that’s for sure…

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Brubaker, Charles – Ask A Cat

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Ask A Cat

This is one of those cases where your tolerance level for the subject matter is going to be key to your enjoyment. I have a cat and she means the world to me, so I’m much more tolerant of most forms of cat humor than people who don’t have cats (probably). So the idea of a fictional cat answering fictional (?) letters had me intrigued from the start, and Charles also nailed it with the execution. This is a collection of single page answers to these questions, and subjects include whether or not humans landed on the moon, what should they do with a drunken sailor, what are their favorite places to puke around the house (I loved how they had an intricate process in place to determine the best places to puke to maximize the chances of their human stepping/sitting in it before seeing it), how to properly pet a cat, what they see when they appear to be staring off into space, why they’re so obsessed with that little red dot from laser pointers, what is the deal with those strange seasonal trees that are brought into the house, and where do cats go when they die. A solid chunk of these made me laugh out loud, which is always the goal for funny books like this, and a few of them might have even incidentally made me understand cats a bit better. So yeah, I’d say that this book is worth checking out. Unless you’re hopelessly cynical, and even if that’s the case this might make you thaw out a little and see a little bit of joy in the world. $2

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Purins, Ansis – Zombre #3

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Zombre #3

It’s always a good sign when my main complaint about an artist is that their comics are too short/come out too infrequently, as it’s clear that I just want to see more of their stuff. That problem is taken care of in this masterpiece, as it’s gigantic. And yeah, I did just call it a masterpiece. This comic is damned near perfect while still telling an epic story, often without using words. Shall I try to sum this up? It’s a hopeless task, but I’ll at least mention some highlights. If you’ve never heard of Zombre, you might want to at least look through some old reviews (or, better yet, read previous issues in this series, although it’s not required to enjoy this one). Basically Zombre is one of the more harmless representations of a zombie that I’ve seen, as he is basically a friend to small woodland creatures and doesn’t seem interested in hurting anybody. This time around, as Ansis has room to wander, we start off with a small hungry dog who’s having a tough time of it. This dog has been separated from his human, but he detects a scent and sets off in pursuit. As his human is a forest ranger (not that the dog knows this yet), this leads the dog through some dangerous woodland territory, until he is eventually saved by Zombre in one of the more cute and heroic acts that I’ve seen. From there we check in with the ranger, learn how he became a ranger, see his co-workers, and meet a horrific actual zombie from the forest. This zombie is also wrapped up with some creepy bugs that have a disturbing tendency to form into one giant bug or dog, and things get intense from there. But! Some comics like this just veer into weirdness and stay there, content to leave things as ambiguous as possible. This issue of Zombre, on the other hand, wraps everything up fairly neatly, while also still leaving some mystery and plenty of other questions to be explored. It’s my favorite issue of the series, and I was delighted to see (in the note that Ansis sent along with the comic) that he’s drawing for 3-4 hours a day. The man deserves to be rich and famous, and I absolutely believe that if I’m reviewing #6 a year from now, he’ll be well on his way. Not that the act of my reviewing his comics has anything to do with it; I’m talking about the places he can go if he sticks to the comics and keeps up a consistent schedule. The only possible complaint I could see anybody having is that this issue is $20 but, like I said, it’s gigantic, and it’s that rare occasion where a $20 comic is worth every penny. Buy it and enjoy, you will absolutely not be disappointed. $20

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Chandler, Richy – Lucy the Octopus #3: Any Less The Freak

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Lucy the Octopus #3: Any Less The Freak

OK, any lingering doubts I may have had about this series are now officially over. Is it OK to call this a series if these books are collections of webcomics? Eh, we’ll leave it to the historians. Who will probably be entirely online, and will have no idea that these books even existed. Assuming that civilization survives long enough to have historians, that is. Wow, have I gone off on a tangent. This is the third volume of this series, and Richy has smoothed out whatever bumps may have existed in the early days and put together a compelling collection of characters. He’s even managed to put together some fairly compelling pets of these characters, which is no small feat. Putting the cast of the characters on the first page was an essential step, as they are all basically blobby sea creatures. Stories in here include Lucy (in disguise) and her ongoing attempts to stay in a popular band (and not get her identity discovered), the life of the new girl who lost all her cool after hanging out with Lucy in past strips, the ongoing attempts of large chunks of Lucy’s family and friends to mess with her in various ways, and a few brief glimpses by the popular kids into what it must be like to be Lucy. The bulk of the issue is taken up by a field trip, that giant monster on the front cover and Lucy and a popular kid getting separated from the group and meeting up with a new bunch of underwater creatures. Who see Lucy as the cool one, much to the chagrin of the “actual” popular kid who’s stuck with Lucy. There’s some nice character development all around this time, and all while Richy still keeps this safely in the “kid friendly” zone. This is what “all ages” entertainment should always be: full of lessons and laughs for the kids, with more than enough of the same for adults. And all without seeming cloying or overbearing. It can be a tough line to walk, but Richy seems to have it nailed.

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