Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews

Booger, Olive – Nul

Website

Nul

Now that was one awkward love story. If I had known that I could have gotten to it a week ago and posted a Valentine’s review. This is a story that’s told as a series of diary entries by a lonely man who really thinks that he’s on the verge of getting a woman to go out with him. By the second diary entry the woman has mysteriously vanished, and after bugging her relatives for a few days he’s finally given a way to contact her. He does, they chat, and she manages to convince him to come work for the same company that just hired her. Hey look, they must live happily ever after! Yeah, not so much. He gets to the job and spends weeks without seeing the woman, surrounded by people who don’t speak his language, trying to understand what’s happening around him, and falling further and further down into a pit of despair, loneliness and confusion. That’s about the time when he gets promoted to be the guy who’s cutting off heads. That’s more information than I generally give away in a review, but this comic manages to be both mini and vast, so there’s plenty of story here yet to uncover. I’d almost say that this comic should be required reading for stalkers, but I doubt most of them could grasp the nuances here and understand that it’s a bad thing to fall too far down the rabbit hole of chasing a lady around. It’s alarming, occasionally grotesque, and a completely engrossing read. $6

Velard, Mark – Kay H & Zee

Website

Kay H & Zee

I am a sucker for these tiny, self-contained mini comics. I’m also a fan of longer series. Could it be that I just like comics? Huh, I might be onto something there. Anyway, this is one of those shorties that’s hard to talk about for long without giving the whole thing away. The basic setup is that two friends are hanging out and one of them (Zee) decides that he wants to show the other (Kay H) a secret. Once they find the tall, mysterious structure, they obviously have to climb it to see what’s going on. From there we get an epic stair climbing, followed by a peek at what’s on top of the structure. Sure, there are twists, and sure, there’s humor, but this is a short book and that’s the gist of it. I did have a slight technical issue with it, as it looks like the story was originally done in four panel strips, but now those strips are two on a page, making it look like one long story going across instead of two distinct sections being broken down into fourths. Eh, if you read the comic you’ll know what I mean, and at least Mark tried to make that clearer in places. Overall it’s just a fun little adventure comic, and the world could always use more of those.

Lacko, Martin – Call of Cthulhu

Website

Call of Cthulhu

Does this comic have the most adorable depiction of Cthulhu ever? Well, I’ve seen plushy dolls of Cthulhu, so no. But it comes pretty close! This comic is based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft; it’s been awhile since I’ve read it but I’m pretty sure that Martin uses direct quotes throughout. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, basically a group of sailors landed on a mysterious island. Everything is chaotic, to the extent that they can’t trust their senses, as some of them see a door as a flat trap door and some see it as a regular standing door. They finally manage to get the door open, are confronted with a horrible smell, and see Cthulhu rising from it. Cthulhu kills three of them before they even know what’s happening, and the rest of the book is a mad dash by the survivors to get away. More than anything this comic has me wanting to dig up my Lovecraft books to see if they hold up, but this comic is delightful and should be read by all potential fans and followers of Cthulhu. Or potential fans of Lovecraft, as the man had a florid quality with his writing that is often imitated but rarely duplicated.

Brubaker, Charles – Yet Another Ask a Cat

Website

Yet Another Ask a Cat

Charles has put out maybe a dozen comics over the last couple of years, so it’s not like he’s in need of any professional advice, but I’ll throw one out there anyway: if you have an open-ended series like this, and you plan on putting out an as-yet undetermined number of future issues, it’s time to give in and start using numbers for the issues. Unless this is the last issue of “Ask a Cat” ever, in which case never mind, but these comics are such a delight that I hope I’m wrong about that. And, as I’ve said before, you’re bound to get a lot more out of these comics if you’ve had cats as pets either currently or in the past, but there’s enough funny in these strips for anybody. Subjects this time around include the truth about their relationship to dogs, what cats would do if they had wings, how cats indicate that they want a divorce, what they think about snow, what cats think about mustard, whether or not they have strange dreams and (and this one hit home with me) why cats insist on poking you in the face while you’re sleeping. I’m pretty sure Charles came up with the actual answer on that one. There’s more, of course, but I’ll leave some surprises for you. I’ve noticed the questions got a lot more fantastical this time around, so maybe this series won’t last as long as I thought, but the man hasn’t run out of ideas yet, so enjoy! $2

Hewitt, Joseph – Snow Cone City #2

Website

Snow Cone City #2

I’ve read all kinds of black and white comics over the years, and I’ve only rarely thought that the comic would be greatly improved if it was in color. This issue of Snow Cone City has our five heroes from the previous issue (basically Power Rangers but as penguins) meeting the Canadian super hero team with five members. Each of these teams wears uniforms with slight differences so that we can tell them apart. And it would be vastly easier to do so if they were all wearing uniforms of different colors. It’s an odd pet peeve for me to have, but there you go. It’s not a dealbreaker, as the comic itself was a lot of fun. And the Snowbirds (the Canadian team) is in full color on the back cover, so at least my curiosity is satisfied. So how about the story? In this issue the first penguin to make it to Mars comes back down to Earth. Instead of giving remarks he starts singing… and doesn’t stop. He’s also turning into a godzilla monster, there’s an American Idol parody (this did come out in 2012, after all), the super teams clash (as all super teams are required by law to do whenever they meet), and there’s even a Korean translation in the back. So if you want to learn to write Korean, this would be one place to start! Other than that, there’s a lot of punching and one giant singing space monster, so what’s not to love?

Herd, Andy – Skip Tobey Volume 1

Website

Skip Tobey Volume 1

Do you miss your comics being funny? Tired of angsty messes worrying about their problems instead of punching people? Well, have I got a comic for you! This is a hefty comic that has all seven (so far) stories of Skip Tobey and his adventures. And the chief who loves him. I don’t mention the sample image often, but I picked this one because it has the most pure, concentrated funny of the whole book, although it was damned tough to choose just one. This isn’t even a page from one of Skip’s adventures, but I used it anyway. So what’s all this about? Stories include Skip in space with a sandwich that’s also a gun, time travel and murder, Skip infiltrating a group of hackers, Skip on a coffee bender uncovering clues about the invading reptile people, the “natural causes” of death by meteor, an archenemy finally getting Skip where they want him (for the fifth) time, and the plot of the lizard people coming to fruition. And when I say “funny,” I mean that I laughed out loud at some point in damned near each story, and that’s not even mentioning the short bits between the stories, which were also uniformly hilarious. The “how to draw Skip” bit perfectly mirrored every attempt made by a human to ever follow those instructions, getting a peek into the daily life of the chief was mildly terrifying, good luck getting through those fake classified ads without laughing, and there’s even a functional crossword puzzle included. And I haven’t even mentioned Skip’s pining over his “missing” wife. Look, there are times when I can unreservedly say that everybody should read a book, and this is one of those happy times. Maybe you wouldn’t care for this if you have no sense of humor, but in that case you have bigger problems than deciding on which comic you should be reading. Everybody else, enjoy!

MacFarland, Matt – Dark Pants #3

Website

Dark Pants #3

I’ve been wondering what those pants were up to. In case you missed the last issue, this series is about a pair of pants and their effect on a person at a particularly important time in their life. This issue takes place in 1988, and it deals with Phil and his fumbling realization that he’s gay. For the younger readers with little context, let’s just say that it was a whole lot tougher to realize and accept that you were gay in 1988 than it is in 2017. Well, in America, anyway. Well, most parts of America. Well, some parts of America. So far. Unless this current administration criminalizes gay marriage again. Anyway! I’ve wandered off the point a bit, probably due to my constant low level dread of what a President Trump can do. We quickly see Phil fantasizing about making out with John Stamos, but he fights against the feeling. He’s hassled by a bully at school, has one true friend that he hangs out with, a counselor that’s trying to help him, and a girl that he’s desperately trying to convince himself that he likes. Then, during one creepy walk home, somebody (we know who from the last issue, of course) tosses their pants off the car window and they literally fall onto his head. He likes the style and notices how clean they are, then goes about his normal life until his friend suggests they go out to a place that Phil has heard is a gay hotspot (his friend doesn’t know this). So Phil dons the pants and approaches an older guy to buy them drinks. The guy responds a little too positively for a nervous Phil. This all finally leads to a momentous party where everything in Phil’s life collides, but I’m not going to tell you what happens there. I will say that the pants do move on, so we get to see what happens (theoretically) in the next issue to them. As for this issue, it’s one of the better coming out stories that I’ve read, even if he technically doesn’t even come out. $10, but again, this is one hefty comic.

Van Gheluwe, Mathilde – Spectacular Vermacular

Website

Spectacular Vermacular

Hey everybody, mini kus comics now have better binding! Yeah, don’t think you can sneak improvements by me. I occasionally notice things. I will give you one spoiler right off the bat: nothing in this comic will help you discover whether or not “Vermacular” is a typo. Maybe it’s the last name of the witch? But I’m getting ahead of myself. This one starts off with a very fancy talking cat on a late night talk show. They chat with the usual talk show banalities, then the host shows Vlad (the cat) an “embarrassing” old photo of him with a witch. The photo is meant to poke some light fun, but it triggers a nostalgia overload in the cat, who loses himself in the memory of his time with this witch. The rest of the comic shows Verma (the witch) gradually getting sick of taking orders from the citizens and deciding to make a name for herself with her talking cat. There’s a lot to ponder here, as the story avoids giving the reader a whole bunch of easy answers. It’s not the first time that I’ve wished for a second issue after reading a self-contained mini kus comic and it probably won’t be the last, but I’m genuinely curious about the time in between the witch and this cat getting famous. If that’s not the sign of a damned good comic then I don’t know what is.

Jep – That’s Me in the Corner Part One

Website

That’s Me in the Corner Part One

What, you thought that Jep only had funny stories in him? I don’t know why you would assume that, but we’re dealing with your hypothetical illusions here, and you’re wrong, imaginary construct in my mind. This comic is made up of strips that Jep made weekly (ish) on his website. The idea was that he was going to tell the story of his introduction to religion and how he eventually fell away from it, including the event in particular that pushed him completely away from religion. But as he worked on the story things went off into different directions for him, and his memory proved to be far less certain than he originally thought. There’s a fine line in comics of relying too much on the “inside baseball” vein of comic strip. For those of you who hate all sports allegories, basically that just means that the artist is wallowing in telling stories about how hard it is to tell stories. That can sometimes cause a spiral where no stories get told, but Jep avoids that trap here and ends up making those strips essential to the story that he’s telling. For example, the event that pushes him away (spoilers here if you don’t want to know a thing about this book, which I’d recommend) is his witnessing the molestation of his friend by a priest. But it’s clear that he doesn’t remember exactly what happened, or how long it happened, or what he said to the guy to prevent himself from getting molested initially. The only way Jep could clear this up would be to contact the guy who was potentially molested, but he sees no reason to upend his life just so he (Jep) can get a little piece of mind. Even basic stuff like how many churches they visited before his mom settled on Catholicism proves unreliable, as his brother contradicts bits of his story. It’s a fascinating peek into a mind as it’s deep in the creative process, taking sometimes reluctant detours down unintended paths to tell this story. He was also nice enough to send along the second part of this story, so I get to see how it “ends” soon, as much as the story of his life can end when he’s still alive. This particular part of it, anyway, but he also mentions never being sure how far to dig in these stories. It was a damned great read, and I’m not just saying that because my own religious experience more or less mirrors his own.

Kirby, Robert (editor) – The Shirley Jackson Project

Website

The Shirley Jackson Project

Every so often life reminds me that I’ve been meaning to reread all of Shirley Jackson’s work, especially since I mostly read her stuff way back in high school. She holds a unique place in the literary world for a variety of reasons, and it seems like a character flaw on my part that I’m not more familiar with all of her work. Sure, I know The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House (and the first movie adaption of it, The Haunting), but other than that I’ve just read a few scattered short stories. Well, if you’re a better person than me and are already familiar with her works, this book is for you. And if you’re like me and are a bit lacking in your Shirley Jackson knowledge, this book is also for you. If you’re an incurious dullard on this subject, you’re off the hook, I guess. So! Like the title implies, this is an anthology with various artists writing adaptations of her works, with a few of them showing various times of her actual life. Annie Murphy starts things off by showing various quotes from Shirley about her life and her beliefs. Colleen Frakes then has a tale about her own childhood and how her experiences with critics resembles the reaction Shirley got when The Lottery first came out (if you haven’t read any Shirley Jackson stories at all, at least read that one). Oh, and I almost forget to mention the introduction by Robert Kirby, which is especially helpful to people with only a passing familiarity to her work (like me). In other words there’s a lot to like here, and I don’t want to go through it piece by piece (because of my undying belief that being surprised by the stories is half the fun of anthologies), but highlights include Asher & Lillie Craw’s examination of places and food in her stories, the various Shirley Jackson archetypes by Robert Kirby and Michael Fahy, W. Woods with an adaption of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Ivan Velez Jr. with his experiences with oddities and real life and how they connected to his experiences with Shirley’s work, Eric Orner’s tale of the death of a friend and how it related to the Shirley Jackson book he was reading at the time, Rob Kirby with a story of how Shirley once freaked herself out when a red liquid started dripping from the cabinet, and Dan Mazur’s combo adaption of a few of her stories starring Shirley as the witch. So yeah, there are a whole lot of great stories in here, and that’s with me only having a passing knowledge of her work. Imagine how much more you could get out of this is you already knew and loved her! $16.95

Heisler, Matthew – Zoar

Website

IMG_20170116_0001

Zoar

To all of the people out there complaining about a lack of original ideas, or how everything is a sequel or clearly designed to be adapted into a movie, I give you… Zoar. Seriously, I am going to have a hard time explaining this in a way that makes even a little bit of sense to you, but I’ll do what I can. I will say right away that it was a delight from start to finish, and that the page I sampled below will give you a solid look into how perfect the dialogue of everybody involved is. This is the story of… huh. How about I tell you where I thought this was going? Things start off with a castle on top of a large hill. We see a princess (?) with plumbing problems, followed immediately by a little man who looks a lot like Mario from the games coming to help her out. Oh, I thought. A Mario Brothers parody. Well, those can be good or not, so I’ll keep an open mind! By the end of the page I discovered that the cause of the blockage was a little boy who has the Earth for a head (complete with an orbiting, talking moon) and I knew right then to throw any preconceived notions I had out the window. We meet the three women who basically run all or most of creation (the virgin, the earth mother and the seducer), get the origin story for the little boy and finally get a glimpse of the inevitable future of the planet (in one of the more haunting two page spreads you’re ever going to see). And that’s all in the first half of the book! From there we get a peek at some of the people on this planet and deal with some parental problems with the father. This whole book is hilarious and unlike anything you’re else you’re likely to see, so support it, yeah? We’re going to need this kind of escape from reality to stay sane over the next four years.

IMG_20170116_0002

Robertson, David – Berserkotron

Website

IMG_20170116_0003

Berserkotron

Berserkotron! It’s a great name, and one that has stuck with me throughout the years of my reviewing comics here. But when I went to link to my previous reviews of this series, it turns out that I hadn’t reviewed the first issue. Maybe because it came out in 2002 and I was just getting started back then? Well, whatever the case, the entire series has been collected in one volume, so now I get to see what I was missing. And… it’s pretty OK with some slow and repetitive parts! Eh, this is one of the first stories David did, and he’s since gone on to make significantly better comics, so it’s not like that’s a total shock. This is the complete story of a few friends getting involved in a fighting robots contest (that alone should date this story a bit), how one of them is very involved with the planning while the other is mostly taking advantage of his friend, the “magic paint” that will help their inferior robot survive, and the state of their lives as this is all going on. Oh, and a few different robots along with a few robot fights. When I was reading this in bits, in comics that were released months or years apart, I didn’t notice how repetitive some of the story beats became. Bert gets tricked into painting the robot early on, and his resentment of this fact is really beaten into the ground when you can read it all in one place. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked lots of the dialogue and the robot fights, but overall this doesn’t hold up as well as I had hoped. Which David acknowledges in his notes after the story, so I’m guessing this opinion won’t come as too much of a shock. Here’s my review to Berserkotron #2 (I still agree with it), and the extra material is fascinating from a creative perspective. If you’re already a fan of his work, there’s a lot to like about this collection. If you’re just now giving the guy a shot for whatever reason, maybe start with Dump #3 or some of his later work.

IMG_20170116_0004

Davidson, Anya – Lovers in the Garden

Website

img_20170108_0005

Lovers in the Garden

OK, there are an awful lot of moving parts to this graphic novel, so I’ll do my best to tell you the basics without giving anything away. As always, there’s a solid chance that I’ll fail, so my capsule review is that this was riveting and that you should give it a shot. It’s a story set in New York in 1975 (as you can probably guess from the amazing fashions depicted on the cover), and it features hit men who regret what they’re doing (each for different reasons) but are in too deep to get out now, their boss and how he handles the very idea of either of them retiring, an undercover cop who’s been working this case for ages now and is just about to break it wide open, the lady who has been working for the big boss for years but hates her inability to move up in the ranks, and the latest target for the hitmen. Oh, it also shows the sister of the undercover cop (so we get a solid look at her home life), deciding between sandwiches and relationship talk between people who should really call it a day but who are unable to because of their job. And yes, gunplay is very much involved in the ending. That’s my only problem with this, really: that ending had me thinking I got a copy that was missing a few pages at the end. Maybe it’ll grow on me, but my initial reaction was that it was a bit abrupt. But that’s a far cry from a dealbreaker, and the rest of the book is so engrossing that it more than makes up for it. Go on, give it a shot. Who doesn’t love 70’s cop dramas/undercover busts? $10

img_20170108_0006

McNinch, Carrie – Excerpts

Website

img_20170108_0003

Excerpts

As if Carrie wasn’t already the hardest working woman in comics (go ahead, challenge me on that one; she’s also one of the hardest working artists in comic period), now she’s doing comics with excerpts from various non-fiction books that she’s read and enjoyed. As the cover says, there are seven books covered in here, 6 of them being two pages long and the last one being only one page. Which is a shame, as it’s the one I was most interested in (Kim Gordon’s “Girl in a Band), but I digress. Other excerpts deal with addiction and the benefits/cost of calling for help when you know it’ll get you in trouble (but might end up with a dead friend if you don’t), having a buddy in a strange country and the social status that comes with the “right” kind of ramen, the odd dichotomy of the Ramones playing at a historical location, meeting Sid Vicious on the street and ending up in a band with his friend, the hilarious moralizing that apparently goes on at the Playboy mansion when one of the ladies turns out to have done hardcore porn in her past instead of just getting naked and/or having sex with a 70+ year old creep who’s incapable of wearing pants, how the Hollywood (which was originally Hollywoodland, just in case you needed that for a trivia question) sign first got up that hill and the awful lights that initially came with it, and Kim Gordon starting to talk about why she produced Hole’s first album and what she thought of Courtney Love. None of these excerpts were enough to give you a sense of the overall story, but that’s why they’re just excerpts. I’m curious to read at least three of these books now, and the existence of this comic makes me wonder why I don’t use the amazing local library system for more than graphic novels. Time to change that, and now I have solid list of non-fiction books to start with.

img_20170108_0004

Mister V – Mile High Book Two

Website

img_20170108_0001

Mile High Book Two

You know what has long been missing from any conversation about legalizing marijuana? Nuance. That’s a societal (human?) failing on many issues, like gun control, abortion, climate change, etc. For most of these subjects there’s SOME middle ground to be had, but because of the political environment in this country honest conversations about these topics are impossible. And by “political environment” I mostly mean “Republicans;” let’s be real here. Anyway, this comic is about marijuana and I’m drifting into a political rant, so don’t mind me. What Mister V has done such a wonderful job conveying in these two volumes has been the nuances of the debate. In the first volume V (or do I call him Mister for short?), desperate for some relief from his irritable bowel syndrome, finally went with medical marijuana and dipped his toes into his options for staying supplied. Frankly, he could have used a “previously in volume one” summary somewhere; it’s never a good idea to count on the long term memory of stoners to stay fresh on all the details from a previous volume. Stereotype alert, I know, but it’s a good idea for all comics series. Anyway, in this volume we get to see our hero as he tells the parents of his wife about his pot use (always fascinating to see former hippies become moral scolds on the subject now), his misadventures in trying to get medical marijuana, the hoops he had to jump through to renew his license, and his journey to finally becoming more or less a pot connoisseur. Most stories I’ve seen about legalized weed tend to end right about when it gets legalized (at least for medical purposes), but V shows that that is not remotely where the story ends. He also tells the tale about a former co-worker who worked for her company for 20 years (and was demonstrably one of the best people on staff) and was unceremoniously fired after a different co-worker complained about this lady smoking pot. For her own medical situation. In a state where such a thing is legal. So yeah, there’s a long way to go before we can claim to be remotely civilized about this subject as a society, and we just elected the most famous con man in the country as president, so it seems likely that things will get worse before they get better. In so, so many ways; maybe this is why I’m on the constant verge of a political rant these days. Still, leaving all that aside, this is a thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking tale of a guy who is just trying to get some relief in his life and the various ways that his life throws up roadblocks to keep that from being remotely easy to do. He even managed to end this volume (the second of three) on a cliffhanger, one that leaves more questions than answers, so I’m very curious to see how he wraps all this up. Even if you’re not a fan of weed you could learn a lot from these books, and if you’re one of the moral scolds in question there is really a lot you could learn from these books. $10

img_20170108_0002

Velard, Mark – Future Space

Website

img_20170101_0005

Future Space

Ever get the sense that you’ve already and reviewed a book despite a complete lack of evidence that this ever happened? No? Just me then. I guess it’s an occupational hazard of 15+ years rambling about comics. The weird thing is that this is a thoroughly unique book, and I still get that sense. My own mental issues aside, this is a mostly silent comic about a guy just trying to have a good time/lose himself for a bit. He has already had a lousy day, as he burned his food and couldn’t get his elevator to work properly, when he sat down by the futuristic equivalent to the television, scrolled through his choices and decided to take a virtual trip to the moon. Even this only seemed to slightly improve the mood of our hero, but then he decides to read the history of the place and discovers what’s coming right at him. Yep, I’m leaving out the conflict for you to discover. You all know my policy on spoilers, even for comics that I’ve already reviewed in an alternate reality. This comic was a treat, and Mark was nice enough to send me a few of his books, so we all get to see more of his stuff over the coming weeks. And I think this was his oldest comic, for what it’s worth. No price listed, but $2 maybe?

img_20170101_0006

Brown, Tim – New Flyer

Website

img_20170101_0003

New Flyer

Technically this one is more of a zine than a comic, as Tim tells this story by using drawings he’s done of bus passengers over the years while telling a text story alongside them. Which makes me think, yet again, that I don’t spend nearly as much time here on zines as I should, but there’s not enough time in the world to deal with all the mini comics in the world AND all the zines. Anyway! This is basically the story of Tim’s history with buses. As a child he rarely had to use them, so only knew what they were in the abstract and that was mostly because of one neighbor who waited for the bus every morning. As he got older Tim found more reasons to use them, and he gradually grew to appreciate their beauty. Or, if that’s not the right word, at least their uniqueness and the peace that he (usually) got to experience on the bus. He also goes into detail about a few types of people to ride the bus, the reaction he would sometimes get from people who realized they were being sketched, and how the bus ride in Austin changed after the refugees from Katrina hit Texas. I almost said “flooded into,” but that seemed like poor taste. So yeah, this is a nice, quiet, observational book, telling the story of a group of people that can be completely invisible to you if you never ride the bus. $9

img_20170101_0004

Brubaker, Charles – The Fuzzy Princess #3

Website

img_20170101_0001

The Fuzzy Princess #3

Does Charles have a regular newspaper comic strip gig yet? If not it seems like it’s only a matter of time, as the guy has the perfect sense of timing for it and is more than prolific enough to keep up on the grueling schedule. This time around we have Jackson and the Princess looking for a gift. They go into a bookstore, we see the differences in reality for the Princess in how she refers to comics, and we end up back in the Princess’ room where Jackson goes through her dolls, looking for the perfect gift. One of the dolls has a surprise inside, which leads to the conflict that we get for the rest of the comic, so I should probably leave it a mystery. There are also a few single page strips at the end of the book, because Charles clearly abhors blank page, so we get to learn how cars mark their territory (it’s not what you’re thinking), the bureaucracy of the tooth fairy and a master class in blowing bubbles. It’s another pile of funny from one of the hardest working guys in comics today. I mean, unless you don’t like the humor, I guess. Which is what websites are for, as you can just go to his, look at the samples and find out for yourself. You guys already know all that though, so I’ll shut up now. $5

img_20170101_0002

Hewitt, Joseph – Snow Cone City #1

Website

img_20161226_0006

Snow Cone City #1

Sometimes, over the course of running this website, a comics artist sends me their entire back catalog of comics. Usually it’s like in this case, where there’s roughly half a dozen comics to read. Some might suggest to start with the most recent comic, as that’s the best representation of what kind of work they’re doing right now. But me? I’m a super nerd; this should be obvious because I’ve been running this site for 15 years. As such, I go back to the beginning and work my way forward. The point of all this rambling is that if this particular comic is not representative of what Joseph is doing right now in late 2016, well… oops. This also sounds like I’m leading up to crapping all over this book, and that is not my intention. This is the story of Pokemon (or the generic pocket monsters of your choosing) existing in the real world. Or at least a version of the real world that has Power Rangers/Voltron pilots keeping the peace. The monsters have been getting loose and disturbing the peace, so the crew investigates and finds the source of these monsters. Along the way Joseph gets really inventive with the odd background monsters that the nerdier among you will delight in identifying, which helps to elevate the fairly standard story about good guys coming together to beat the bad guy. It’s a fun book, is what I’m trying to say, and I’m looking forward to reading through the other comics that he sent my way to see how he’s evolving as an artist/writer. And the three books in this series are a measly $1 each!

img_20161226_0007

Hausauer, Marie – Raccoon

Website

img_20161226_0003

Raccoon

Is it sad that I find it odd that Marie only has an Instagram page (that I can find) and nothing else for an online presence? Isn’t that plenty? I guess I’ve gotten used to having three or four websites to link for contact information for every artist. Says the guy who doesn’t even keep up a Facebook page or any other sort of website outside of this one. Ahem! This is the story of a dead raccoon. Well, mostly it’s the story of the reactions of different people and groups of people to said raccoon. We don’t get to see how it died (one person said it died snarling, but death does funny things to faces) and are left to confront how other people handle a dead raccoon body. There’s an older couple who is mostly baffled that “somebody” hasn’t done something about it yet, there’s a group of young kids who pressure the outsider of their group into sticking his hand into the gaping hole in its belly, and finally there’s a lady who uses it as a backdrop for her poetry on her social media page. I found the reaction of the kids to be the most sympathetic, as each of them reacted in genuine ways to the body and what happened when they upset the body. Maybe it’s too close to the election of Trump (future people, assuming the printouts from this website survive, yes, we did know how bad he was), but the old people wishing somebody else would fix the problem mirrored reality a little too well for me at the moment. And yes, this is reading something into this that isn’t there, but you can’t tell me how to read/interpret comics. And you? How would you react to seeing a dead raccoon in the woods? Would you walk on by? Poke it with a stick? Post it to your social media page of choice? Or would you go in a completely different direction with it?

img_20161226_0005