Category Archives: Reviews


Forker, Nick – Eyeland #2


Eyeland #2

I have got to find a way to review comics more quickly. Looking around the internet doesn’t reveal any available copies of this issue, and Nick himself doesn’t have anything available until #5. But what am I supposed to do, NOT read these in numerical order? Madness. So far in these Eyeland comics the title on the cover is a pretty big hint: the first issue was mostly funny, this issue is mostly introspective. Things start off with a fascinating color strip on the inside cover questioning what exactly moves people to make decisions. Experience, gut, or something yet undiscovered? Now that the possibility has been brought up, you’re thinking about it too, right? If that intrigues you, get ready for an issue of existential questions. From there we get a strip on the absurdities of modern life (with a special emphasis on doom rectangles) and a series of three panel strips on the basis of reality. The rest of the comic is presented as single or double page stories, but it’s really one continuing narrative about our hero wondering about how not doing anything frees him from having anything by which to judge his self worth, finding a way to accept himself, and building his own work on the work of others to make something new. Am I missing a meaning somewhere, or misinterpreting something? There’s a solid chance, as I find myself becoming less and less introspective as I get older. Which is maybe a bad sign, but it’s not the issue at hand. The rest of the issue depicts his philosophical journey as a physical trip, which does involve an actual wizard and ends with an extremely disquieting finale. I’m enjoying these comics, and I saw on his website that he made 10 of these issues in 2022, which is incredibly impressive. Give it a shot, and with these two issues you have a stark choice to make: do you want funny, or do you want philosophical? Keep in mind that neither issue is 100% of one or the other…

Hill Dan – The Fifty Flip Experiment #27


The Fifty Flip Experiment #27

Here it is, the exciting conclusion to his three part extravaganza! Does it matter that I’ve mostly forgotten the first two parts, since it’s been at least a couple of years since I read them? It does not, because Dan was nice enough to put a little recap in the inside front cover. And also because this issue basically stands just fine by itself anyway, except for all that lovely context you get from reading the whole story. Basically there’s an android (whose story was told in the second part) who’s trying to get to Captain Loopback (whose story was told in the first part). He (the android) has hijacked a space bus to reach her (Loopback), which is where things kick off. First we get a listing of the characters on the bus, who just so happen to be dangerous space criminals. Not ideal travel companions, to be sure, but they’re all wrapped up tightly in saran wrap, so he’ll probably be fine. Oh no! The android, who was trying to drive the bus, accidentally released them all from their wrappings! Do you think that a melee is coming? Well, it is, and it does, and it leads to a crash, with only our hero and the flight attendant lady surviving. If you’re wondering whether this leads to a love connection, well, it absolutely does. Still, our hero only has roughly half of an issue left, and he still has to get to Loopback! Can he make it, and what’s likely to happen to them both if he does? Eh, you’ll figure it out when you read it. I’d also invite everybody to read that panel in the spacebus sample image, as there are jokes all over that thing. Another bonus is his essay about one of those “50 games in 1” dealies where you get 50 crappy games for a very low price. He’s put more thought into the concept than I ever did, and while I’m not sure if he ever came up with a satisfying answer, it sure did raise a lot of questions about the creators of the games, who they’re for, the religious angle of them, etc. And that’s just a bonus to the comic itself. As always, you’ll be happy that you read one of his comics, if you have the guts to do it. C’mon, what’s stopping you? C’mon. $5 (with $2 for shipping)

Fikaris, Michael – SRY not Sorry


SRY not Sorry

Who’s in the mood for a nice, quiet little meditation on the ways we communicate, why we communicate and the virtue of time saved? Or the idea of making and maintaining human connections? If you’ve said no, so long! I reckon there are plenty of shoot ’em ups available for you to watch/read instead. This comic does start off with an assumption, and since I’m one of the people who disproves it I’d like to remind everybody again that it’s not true for everybody. Michael starts by saying that “they say” that your age can be determined by how you use your phone, but I know from my friend group (generally mid 40’s and above, with plenty of exceptions) that it’s all over the place. I was an early adopter of texting whenever possible, basically as soon as I figured out that my phone could do it. Other people my age still call. Was I going somewhere with all that? Be careful of assumptions, I suppose. From there this becomes a comic that I really can’t say much about, even more so than usual, as there’s very little text. More of a message throughout, of conflict and grabbing tightly onto someone for comfort, living through cycles, doing what you need to survive, and the question of whether or not a new contribution to the world is possible. It’s fascinating overall, and the sort of thing that’ll lead to all sorts of questions popping up in your mind on a lazy afternoon. Which is fine by me, since I generally write these on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Maybe don’t read this one on the bus, I guess is what I’m saying. But do give it a shot. $8 (or 22 for a bundle of the latest four issues)

Lay, Patrick – Screaming Mimi Kids Volume 1: Ghosted


Screaming Mimi Kids Volume 1: Ghosted

I have to confess, I’m still a little confused on that title. Screaming Mimi is (in the comic) a possible urban legend, a ghost who only shows up at a specific time at a specific bridge. So it’s in reference to the kids on the cover? Screw it, I’m overthinking this, and I don’t want to get bogged down in nonsense, as I did enjoy the book overall. This starts out at the aforementioned bridge with Lisa, her brother Seth and their mutual friend Christine. They have to honk the horns at midnight near the bridge to get the ghost to appear (so the legend goes), but they arrive a little early, so there’s time for shenanigans. Lisa has a crush on Christine, and she’s told her brother Seth about it, so imagine her disgust when she gets back from a trip to pee just in time to see the two of them making out. Furious, they all leave, but since they’re there anyway, she honks her horn as they’re going. Behind them a spectral figure appears, which does a wonderful job of making them all forget the previous drama. The next thing we see is Seth waking up, where he immediately learns that one of the two other people at the bridge has died overnight. From there we get a bit of high school drama (and the phoniness of people who hated this dead student crying about her in front of an assembly) before Seth decides to head back to the bridge, just in case. One thing that struck me reading this was that it was a damned confident comic, by which I mean that Patrick really takes his time to let the story open up. I got this at a convention, so I know that he has a few more issues out already; that kind of slow pace would be a bad look if it petered out after one issue. But he clearly has more in mind, and after this I’m curious to see what that could be. It’s an intriguing start, and it also fits squarely in the “all ages but that doesn’t have to mean simple” category of comics that’s perfect for younger readers, for any of you who want to get your kids into reading comics. You monsters! $6

Hill, Dan – The Fifty Flip Experiment #29


The Fifty Flip Experiment #29

I encourage every one of you to visit his website, as it’s the geocities-ing-est website around. That joke will make sense to very few of you, but I still think it’s worth it. Dan starts this one with his trademark wall of text, which starts off vaguely enough before breaking down into a detailed history of the characters we’re about to meet. He’s also back to doing single issue stories, if you’re warping here from my last review of his series (#26, another gap I have to fill some day). As always, I’d rather let his comic speak for itself, but it does concern the origins of the Jamboree. And frogs. A whole lot of frogs. Say, if I don’t want to talk about the comic, what am I going to mention in the review? Well, I’m going to go back on that statement immediately. Things start off with a positively joyful jamboree, then we learn about how the frogs took power based on their dominance of the three legged races. What does a pie eating contest have to do with this? Plenty! If you’ve ever wanted to go down the line in a pie eating contest to see what each contestant was thinking at that moment, Dan is your man. Do wooden arms help with pies? Unclear, but seemingly no. What about Landwhale Jeff, does he get the better of Skeleton Bear? As if I’d give something so important away here! That does it, I’m going back to not talking about specifics. There’s plenty more, including the cutest little sailor suit you ever did see on the back cover, but the next step in your journey is to buy your own copy to see what you make of all this. Dan also sent a very nice letter along with this comic (or possibly a later issue, as I’m reviewing more of these soon), but I did want to offer one gentle correction to him: this website is actually almost 22 years old, not 15. There have been a few crashes, so it’s kind of lost to history, but this all started in August of 2001. OK, go buy his comic. $7

Wynbrandt, Gina – You’re the Center of Attention


You’re the Center of Attention

Thanks once again to mini kus, as they have introduced me to an artist I clearly should have already heard of by now. I desperately need to get back to Chicago one of these days to ransack Quimby and/or Chicago Comics. Assuming they both survived the pandemic, and I don’t even want to think of a world where that’s not the case. Anyway! This is the story of a fictionalized version of Gina (can’t really say how close it is to the real her, as this is the first comic of hers I’ve read) and she’s competing on a game show to win some money and become famous. The money is clearly an afterthought to becoming famous, which drives everything she does in the comic. Things start off with her fantasies of what famous life would be like before the actual show begins. She also meets a bug named George who encourages her, and yes, this is relevant information later, because we wouldn’t have one of the great comics finales of all time without him. Getting ahead of myself, I guess. The game show itself is a series of escalating embarrassments for Gina, seemingly designed to get people to give up. But she does the chicken dance, runs around on all fours and sings (poorly), all in good spirits. Still, things are just getting started. Will she have the willpower to read her most recent internet searches aloud in front of the studio audience and the world? What about… eh, that’s enough specifics. Let’s just say that she’s tested personally and professionally. It’s a hilarious peek into somebody who’s obsessed with fame without having the sense of shame that might tell them to slow things down before they do something that’ll haunt their lives forever. So it looks amazing, has more than a few funny bits and an all-time great final panel. What more do you need? $7.95 (or you could always get this in a set with the other three most recent mini kus issues)

Hamil, Brett – Slight Return


Slight Return

I figured going into this that this is one of those comics that had the potential to end up going very wrong for me, or maybe I’d end up kind of liking it. Turns out that I loved it! Just another reminder in a lifetime full of them that it’s best not to assume anything based on an intentionally vague description. I was afraid that this was going to be one of those “aged punk and/or hippie returns to their hometown, wanders around aimlessly until the book eventually ends” kind of things, but I was wrong. There are elements of that, sure, but for good reason, and there’s a whole lot more going on with it. It’s a slow build, but things start off with our hero (Kevin) having sex with an old acquaintance after returning to his hometown. We gradually learn that he had had some success as a musician (enough that a large number of people recognize him when he’s walking around town) and that some great calamity has befallen society as a whole. Not bad enough to derail civilization entirely, but there’s no internet or phones, getting food is expensive and you have to “know somebody,” there was an incident where people were butchering a cow in the field right next to the other cows, etc. This is all an undercurrent to a fairly simple story, as Kevin really did come back to town to get away from everything and basically just wants to sleep, ride his skateboard, have sex and read comics. Armed fascists are also a constant underlying threat, so not too far off from our reality now, I guess. I loved the pacing of this book, as there’s no rush to do much of anything and nothing feels all that important, and the absence of constant cell phones and internet is always welcome in stories; it almost always feels like it opens up possibilities other than what you’re used to. The underlying story here, such as it is, is that Kevin gets talked into performing at an outdoor concert, but even that ends up being a very minor event. The ending shocked me, but it was one of those endings where you can’t really see things going any other way if you think about it. It’s a book that I wasn’t expecting to captivate me, but here I sit, captivated, and still thinking about various scenes hours after finishing it. If that’s not a solid endorsement, I don’t know what is. $15

Lehmann, Brandon – Womp Womp #3


Womp Womp #3

If you’re wondering why so few comics are laugh-out-loud funny these days, I’d suggest that maybe Brandon has stolen all of the laughs and placed them into his comics. My usual plan of putting the funniest/most representative page in the review as the sample image took a real beating this week, as I could have chosen several of the single page strips. Hell, the three panel gag on the back cover might have gotten the biggest laugh out of me of the whole book. You probably have to be of a certain age for the sampled strip to hit, but for those lucky few (or most, I have no idea of the demographics of people who read this website), enjoy. So now I’ll get to the part of the review where I try not to spoil the jokes while still giving you little hints about what to expect in here. If you’re already a fan of Brandon’s work, this is maybe my favorite comic of his yet, so just leave this review entirely and get yourself a copy. If you need a bit more convincing, read on! Subjects in this issue include a spectacularly suspicious time traveler from the future, the inevitable narcissism of the Caterpillar Man, parents being a little too prescient in their warnings to their child against having parties while they’re gone, coming a long way for a joke, nobody knows the weather they’ve seen, an innocent question leading to a justified fit of rage, coming a long way up a mountain to meet a wise man, and the turtle room. There’s more, but if you’re not convinced I don’t know what to tell you. Actually, flipping through this again I’m leaving out two of my favorite stories (about the vampire and the house of the future, if you’re reading this after reading the book), but doing so just makes it easier for them to become YOUR favorite stories. I’m helping! $10

Petre, Fake and Greg – Santos Sisters #2


Santos Sisters #2

Huzzah, the “#1” on the first issue not being a cruel trick! #3 is also here waiting for review, and #4 is coming out in June. They’re unstoppable! If you didn’t read my review for the first issue, get to it; that’ll clue you in on the basic concept here. Now that you’re all caught up, there’s just so damned much to like about this series that I hardly know where to start. It’s all printed on newsprint, and it’s the size of “regular” comic books, which really contributes to the feel of the book. This issue also has more than a few ads, and while it would fit right in with the aesthetic to have fake funny ads throughout, that wasn’t the deal here. All of the ads are legit (unless they snuck a few in on the page full of tiny ads), and they’re all for other small press comics, publishers, shops or other things that might actually be useful to the type of person reading this. Just excellent work on the overall look of this comic. Oh, and they were also nice enough to send me a small poster of the centerfold, featuring all of the characters and a few that haven’t been introduced yet. Yep, I am easily bribed! So the comic looks great, which is nice I guess, but what about the stories? Oh no, it’s more excellent work! The first story deals with Weird A.I. Ankhovic (congrats to the people who get it) sending a couple of his minions (Spit and Shine, and I am very curious to see their origin story) out to infect as many people as possible. This will enable him to take over the town, and the people are infected by being shot by the villains and turned into what are basically purple zombies. No munching on brains in this one, just steadily increasing infections. An excellent touch is that Spit and Shine used to date but have since broken up, so they’re both being very mature in their interactions with each other. Their dynamic gradually falling apart was one of the highlights of the book, as was the use of poor Todd by our heroes. The other story deals with a baby dragon suddenly appearing in front of an old lady, which eventually terrorizes an anthropomorphic duck (think Howard, basically) and his pal. Our heroes have to fly to the rescue while being very drunk, which is the type of thing that should happen in more comics. I’m completely sold on this series (this is one of those reviews where I’m barely scratching the surface on all the small details that make it great) and might even review the next issue next week, even though they’re designed to be stand-alone issues. We’ll see! $4.20, but it seems to be selling out fast, so don’t dawdle!

Canini, Brian – Glimpses of Life #8


Glimpses of Life #8

In this issue, Brian reveals the secret of how he’s been able to stay so productive while working a day job and having two kids (three by the time this issue is done. Spoilers!). I’ve got some bad news for the procrastinators out there who think it simply can’t be done: his secret is to work on comics whenever he can, panel by panel when necessary. So if you were hoping for the one neat trick to make it all simple, my apologies. This is a collection of autobio strips for February 2021, so two years ago as of this writing. Brian and his wife Amy are awaiting the imminent arrival of their third child, so this issue is mostly all about the few complications that came up and the general effect on their lives. Stories specifically deal with Brian driving a practice run to the hospital (to make things less stressful when she’s in labor), trying to have quiet time at home to work on comics, reckoning with the knowledge that the new baby is going to take up most of his free time and trying to plan accordingly, fun with their cat and dog, a few scares with early contractions, having a baby shower basically online because of covid, sending the kids and the pets to their assigned destinations when the moment came (this all seemed spectacularly organized to me, so kudos to them), and drama with his parents not contacting them for months up until just about the single most inconvenient moment. Everything went fine with the baby, so don’t worry about him sneaking a tragedy into this comic. Unrelated, but since his baby was born a few months before I adopted my cat Miles, technically it’s a human name that I stole for use as a cat name. Unintentional, but linear time remains hard to beat. I keep wanting to say “pregnant pause” but it seems so cliche, but screw it: this comic is the pregnant pause in his life while waiting for the inevitable to happen. They’re both a little on edge throughout, for good reason, but it’s a tenser read than I’m used to with his autobio stuff. Still worth a look, obviously, so give it a shot why don’t you? Especially if you have small children or have a kid on the way. Lots of good tips/lived experiences in here for people in that position. $6

Quadri, Marco – You Feed Fire Like It’s A Horse


You Feed Fire Like It’s A Horse

Fellow worker drones, I’m sure most of you have some experience with some sort of “productivity expert” being called in by your office to walk you through a tedious, simplistic and dehumanizing formula geared towards increasing your productivity and/or decreasing the amount of time management has to spend checking your work. Well, this comic delves into that terrible world, as things start out with the dude on the cover being called in to an airport to teach them all “the five S’s,” which I’d like you all to make up in your head rather than me typing them in here. If you’ve been to enough of these classes, your guesses will end up being pretty close. He teaches his (mandatory, obviously) class, the management is thrilled, and they all end up taking a field trip to the forest. While they’re out there the other workers “accidentally” leave him behind, but how do you survive all alone in the forest if you see all of life through the prism of your formula to increase work productivity? You try to make the entire forest fit into that box and get to work on the problem. This was an inspired idea by Marco, and the corporate trainer taking a walk through the workspace of several employees and berating them was more than enough motivation for them to leave him in the forest. His time in the forest was like watching an A.I. in the movies confront one of those logic puzzles that causes them to short circuit, but there’s still time for one final visitor to stop by his campsite. I’m not spoiling a thing about that, so I’ll just say that it was completely unexpected, and a nice way to work the title of the comic into things. The whole thing was wonderfully done, and the only reason I didn’t use the page of his conversation with the snail as the sample was because I thought it was too good to give away for free. It’s mini kus, so you know it’s quality, but I’d say this one is even a step above their usual. Give it a try! $7.95 (or $22 for four issues including this one)

Harkness, M.S. – Desperate Measures


Desperate Measures or here

Well, the bad news is that I may have waited too long after CXC in Columbus for M.S. to still have copies of this book on her website. But it is still out there, and for a few bucks more it even comes with a signed print. That was probably supposed to go at the end of the review, but I am just never going to get my end of this thing right. She’s also not making my pledge to go out and check out her older comics easy, as everything on her website is sold out right now (February 2023). Oh, the troubles I’ve seen! Maybe I should talk about the graphic novel, huh? It’s a riveting autobiographical look at her past, how it shapes her present and makes it extremely difficult to have a future. When it comes to love and dating anyway, but it’s a long story, so I prefer the ambiguity on my end. Things start off with a vivid memory she’s having of waiting for her father to come back ashore from his boating job. My early impression was that she was looking forward to this, but there’s reason to doubt that reaction fairly quickly. From there we spend the bulk of the book seeing the intimate details of her life, and M.S. is not the type to hold anything back. We read plenty about her dating habits, a couple of methods she uses to get extra cash, her troubles at starting a relationship and her (at times) indifference to even trying. Her main serious romantic focus here is split between two guys: one a longer term friend/partner, and one a newer guy who makes an immediate impression by treating her differently than usual to start things off. She seems to have more potential with the long term dude (make no mistake, she’s well aware of that), but the baggage of the past is a tricky thing to escape. There’s a lengthy, mostly silent section towards the middle dealing with more specific memories of her childhood, what her mother must have dealt with and a desperate attempt at change. There are lighter bits in here too, like her training her brother on weightlifting, in case you were worried about it getting too dark. Still, things are grim for her quite a bit in this book and, like I said, she’s not one to shy away from showing all the gory details. One thing that struck me reading this (it’s my first since Tinderella, so it’s been several years) is how much she’s matured as a writer. It’s not like she was a dullard before, but there were so many clever, insightful or devastating turns of phrase here that it’s impossible to pick one to highlight. I tried to find a solid sample page for examples, but just looking at it makes me think of a dozen others I could have used. All of this rambling feels like me just scratching the surface. I haven’t even mentioned her brilliant fake standup routine and the entirely too real reactions of the audience, or the adderal extravaganza, or pointing out the danger of the textured wall while having sex. Or the quiet moments and how they add layers onto an already complex story. Ah well, since I can’t mention everything, I might as well call it a day. After all, I already mentioned that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and that you should find yourself a copy, right? It also looks like she has a new book coming out this year, so now’s your chance to get caught up before that happens. $17 (ish)

Cherry, Ben – Supplement



It’s a grab bag of comics from Ben, with a title that lets you know exactly what’s going on here. So if you’ve been holding off on checking out his work because you’re not sure if one specific title is going to do it for you, you’re in luck! Ben mentions in his intro that some of this work has never been released, so everybody is sure to see something new. So what’s going on in here? There are two stories about Dog Head Hoodie Guy, who looks exactly like you’d think, and his attempts to go through life. All he really wants is for somebody to acknowledge the fact that he looks odd with his dog head, but can he find satisfaction? Other stories include a bird raising its chick and watching the inevitable happen, a “what if” story about what would happen if Batman couldn’t take a punch and instead put his money to more practical use, the sad and lonely final hours of a dude dying of radiation poisoning in space and his attempts to have it mean something, what happens if there really is a monster under the bed, and a series of full page images of various subjects. Yep, leaving it as a surprise. There’s also a fairly hefty story about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (although they’re never called that, so I don’t think anybody will sue) and their attempts to navigate middle age. Surprisingly poignant, considering the characters, but maybe that’s me reading into it as I’m going through the same thing minus the ninja skills. It’s a nice mix of stories, and I remain dazzled by his artistic skills. The man can draw a comic, is what I’m saying. Check it out! $4

Porcellino, John – King Cat #82


King Cat #82

A new issue of King Cat is out, go buy it now! Best to get that out of the way early, because unless we ever hit the point that John is putting out “King Cat sponsored by Wal Mart” or some shit I doubt very much that I won’t like an issue of King Cat. And is it my imagination or is the paper on slightly thicker stock? Since I still have #81 in the “reviewed comics” pile on my desk (seriously, send help, I’m going to end up buried alive under this pile one day), it looks like the answer is “eh, maybe”! So what’s in this issue, just in case you’re new to John’s work and need a little convincing? I’d say the fact that he made it to #82 of a mini comic should be all the convincing you need, but I’m again showing my bias. Things start off gently enough, with strips about the chain of watchers (him watching his cat, his cat watching a squirrel, etc.), watching a friend play an arcade game (this comes up later in a longer story), some nature observations, and a dire late night thought that maybe wasn’t all that dire after all. After that things get rough for a bit. I was afraid of this when he dedicated the issue to Michi, one of his cats, and I was sadly correct: she passed away recently. No comic for this, he instead wrote a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to her, filled with the little things she did and some of their interactions. The bit about how she would see him coming home from one of the windows and would then rush over to the glass door and put her paws on it, eager to greet him, just about broke me. This is unrelated, sort of, but as somebody who lost two cats fairly recently, I’d recommend writing down your favorite things about them somewhere. Pictures and videos are great, granted, but about a month after Sassafrasquatch passed away I found myself starting to forget the little things, so I wrote a few pages worth of my favorite things about her. They don’t live nearly long enough, so just something to keep in mind after the grief briefly stops pounding away at you. OK, there’s no way for this to be anything other than an awkward transition, so back to King Cat! From there we go to three pages of letters, including a very welcome check-in from Jeff Zenick, a long time zinester. There’s a top 40 list, and then we hit a few comic stories, dealing with all the time he spent in 7-11 stores as a kid, his attempt to get up at 3am to watch Yellow Submarine, watching the rain come down and thinking about the time before the internet, and counting poops. And more, of course, but the random surprises are maybe the best part of an issue of King Cat, even for new people, who I assume are the only ones reading this, as everybody else closed this tab and bought a copy of it after reading the first sentence. Yes, it’s still an amazing, peaceful, thoughtful, questioning yet settled comic. In case you were wondering. $5

Berry, Brandon – Cat #4


Cat #4 (not available for sale as of 1/29/23, but it’ll most likely be here soon)

What, did you think that the Hound was just going to give up? Does that sound like a proper hound to you? We catch up with the hunter this time around, as he shakes down a bartender for information. But he does not do this unnoticed, so our “hero” (seriously, for all I know the hound is the one with a good and true reason for finding Cat, not the other way around) has a little advance warning. He’s also impatient, so his flying right through a space checkpoint without stopping looks like it’s going to get him into a whole heap of trouble. This one feels longer than the previous issues (and I mean that in the best possible sense), probably because Brandon packs a lot of details in here while also going nuts (again, best possible sense) with his signature visual style. The confrontation in the bar and <event redacted because spoiler> at the end were impressive as hell. I’m looking forward to seeing where it all goes from here, and if you’ve been following along on these weekly reviews, you’re in luck! This is the last issue he sent me, so now’s your chance to get them all as a clump to catch up. Then you’ll be ready for the next issue, whenever that happens. Just like me! $5

Cass, Caitlin – Postal Constituent Volume 12 #2


Postal Constituent Volume 12 #2

Here it is, the unscannable comic! Granted, that’s not a concern of an artist, and if I just took a picture and uploaded it you’d never notice. But I’m set in my scanning ways, so you get a portion of one of the four pages for the “cover” image, and nothing else. This is also a snippet of a larger project, one that I’m fascinated to see, because it’s been a subject on my mind lately too: hope. Does anybody have it? Are there ways to foster it? Those are hypothetical questions from me, unrelated to the comic. But maybe they’ll be in the completed version, who knows? Caitlin joined an artist’s working group early last year where they had a series of conversations, all set outside in different parts of nature. She noted a few tragedies that were happening literally while she was drawing the comic (a mass shooting here, a massive wildfire there; the real tragedy is that it would be hard for anybody a year later to specifically know which event she was referencing in either case), but she also noted signs of beauty. There was the 240 year old tree, proving resilience in seemingly hopeless environmental times, along with a few day to day signs that certain parts of nature were still working just fine. Like I said, this is a sample comic, so there’s not much more for me to say, but I’m looking forward to the finished version. And if you can’t find this comic on her store website, get something else! She’s one of the more reliably informative/entertaining comic artists working today. No price listed, maybe $5?

Berry, Brandon – Cat #3


Cat #3

It’s dangerous for me to say something like this considering how long I’ve been reviewing comics, but I’ll say it anyway: this is the closest I’ve come to just putting up an image of the cover, a link to the comic and using the sample image for the review. Because really, what could be more perfect than that? But hey, that’s not why you pay the big bucks (I’m talking to you, future millionaire who buys the website and lets me devote more of my spare time to comics). Our hero is still trapped on a strange planet, but he lucks out and has somebody named Xen come by and offer him a ride. Is it luck or a nefarious plan? Still unclear! As they’re traveling through the cosmos they run into a space whale, which gives Cat a better understanding of the universe (and raises a few questions about his place in it and what happens to him after he dies). After that we get an object lesson in the wisdom of questioning the phrase “do you mind if we get to know each other better,” then a few more brief bits that I shouldn’t mention to avoid too many spoilers. I will say that I maybe jumped the gun on reviewing these weekly, because I only have one more issue left and it sure doesn’t look like this story is going to be wrapping any time soon. Ah well. Maybe the clamor from the hordes of people who love the weekly reviews will motivate Brandon to start cranking these out. What’s that you say? Rushing works of art is a terrible idea that more often than not leads to mediocre (at best) results? OK, fair enough. Either way, it’s still a fascinating series and you should still be reading it. $5

Neal, Andrew – Nexus of Exes


Nexus of Exes

So here’s how big of a dummy I am. Since there have been so many breakup and partner swaps in the Meeting Comics universe, I assumed that this would be a convergence of all of them based on the title alone. Now, if I had looked at that cover a few seconds longer, maybe I wouldn’t have assumed, since it’s all Val all the time. Just a peek into this brain of mine, on the off chance that anybody thinks I’m infallible just because I’ve been reviewing comics for 21 years. So yeah, this one is all about Val. She’s getting older, and she’s finally starting to wonder if she’s made the right choices in her love life and should maybe start to think about settling down. Still, even in a Val issue the MC (Meeting Comics, nerds) universe has gotten too big to focus purely on one character, so we also briefly catch up with the aftereffects of the wrestling show (everybody got covid) and spend a bit more time with Don, who’s dealing with the deaths of both his mother and his ex-wife. She hated him after she found out he was gay and broke up their marriage, so he’d always hoped that they’d manage to patch things up. It seems like it was too late for this, until Val notices a telltale letter in her coffin at the funeral. He also has a pretty big life change pop up, but I spoiled it in the sample. Oops! The rest of the issue deals with Val going to visit a favorite ex of hers, which causes her to think that maybe the two of them should give things another shot. This all leads to the last half dozen strips or so, which I can’t mention because they were simply too shocking. Just a terrifying concept for anybody with exes. Don’t worry, there’s no reason a little soul searching can’t be funny, so you’ll still get some solid laughs out of this issue. I actually thought I was caught up with his comics for once, but when I went to his website to link to this issue I noticed that he already has another issue out. Damn you Andrew Neal! $5

Robertson, David – Reject All


Reject All

Did I really not write any reviews about David’s comics last year? It looks like my last review was on the literal last day of 2021, and this is early 2023, so I guess not. Sure, he actually sent me this book several weeks ago, and it could be argued convincingly that the gap is my fault, but hey, look over there! This is another solid collection of stories by David and friends, which is something I’m kind of starting to take for granted, so maybe he should have his next collection by filled with total crap to keep me on my toes. So what’s going on this time around? There are stories about the time a polar bear broke captivity and got loose in Scotland in the late 1800’s (it seemed to be OK for everybody for involved, including the bear, which is a rarity), the difference between being “legal” to drive and being comfortable driving when you’re having trouble reading street signs, how Luke and Han are handling being replaced in the popularity of Star Wars merch by the Mandolorian (with a punchline that got a literal laugh out loud out of me, so kudos), not knowing where your mask is but having it end up in the most obvious place (possibly not as relatable to American readers, sadly), revisiting the TV show Miami Vice years later after it was too “adult” for him to watch as a kid (with Clio Ding), the sad reality of the modern state of sex robots (with DogJohn), the righteous anger of Disney using May 4th as “Star Wars” day when it has nothing to do with any actual anniversary (with Rebecca Horner), and a brief history of Tears For Fears, including a possible way for them to keep performing a song written by one of the members about the other member from back when they were feuding. As always, that’s roughly half of the stories, and the rest are left as a mystery to you. Well, I can’t resist mentioning one more, which is a love letter from David to all of the various spaceships of his youth as they all face off in a space race. I think we’re roughly the same age, but even I couldn’t place a couple of them, so good luck to everybody on that one. It also has a really great ending and, as per his end notes, no, it doesn’t feel like a cheat at all. Give it a try, there’s something in here for everybody. $5 (ish, once again I’m unfamiliar with the conversion rate)

Berry, Brandon – Cat #2


Cat #2

Is that a dog on the cover of a comic called “Cat”? Yes it is, because this time around we spend about half of the issue getting to know the dog who’s chasing our hero across the universe, and he goes by Hound. We left off in the last issue with the introduction of Zada, the ancient star in the cosmos. He/she/it has a conversation with Cat, and it turns out that they’re a bit of an asshole! Still, we learn more about the situation, although perhaps not as much as Cat would have liked. As for the Hound, we see where he works and how he tracks his prey through the universe, although the source of his grudge against Cat is still a mystery. Or is it? That’s my attempt at leaving a bit of intrigue in here, as it’s a short enough comic that I feel like I may have said too much. If so, hey, there are at least two more issues coming, so there are a lot more surprises in store, I reckon. I see nothing this time around to change my recommendation from the last time around: this Brandon guy sure can draw, and the story seems to be picking up steam, so give it a shot. $5