New review today for Snake Meat #8 by Max Clotfelter. I mentioned at some point that August was the 21st anniversary of the website, right? If not, consider yourself notified. Maybe I’ll have a celebration of some kind next year…
Just so you know: the link on the title doesn’t go to where you can buy this specific issue. But it does go to Max’s comics that Spit and a Half has available (23 as of this review, either his comics or comics where he’s a contributor), so if this issue still isn’t listed by the time you see this, maybe just buy another one of his comics. What about this one, you ask? Snake Meat is where he mostly does silent comics with a few “talkies” thrown in. It feels ridiculous to call the silent comics “sketches,” as there’s an insane level of detail to all of them (as the sample below proves), but if you’re in the market for a linear storyline, Snake Meat generally isn’t the place to go. If, however, you’re looking to be amazed/baffled/revolted/terrified, this is the series for you! As such, they’re tough on a simple country reviewer like me, so I’ll just say that one of his joke strips was a fairly straightforward gag, while the other was like if the writers and cast of Hee-Haw had been on whatever drugs they could find for several days and then decided to shoot an episode. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one was which. Look, this dude has been around since the very earliest days of this website, so you know the drill by now. If you like his stuff, give it a shot. And if you’ve been reading reviews about him here for several years and still haven’t read his stuff? You should still give it a shot. I suppose only haters get a pass here… $3
New review today for Dingus and Dum-Dum by Robb Mirsky, and since I seem to be defaulting to reviewing the same people lately, tomorrow is “hey, I haven’t reviewed their comics in a while/ever” week! Although I may have to work on that title…
Dingus and Dum-Dum
Note: his main website (which you can reach through his Instagram page) is still listed as high risk for viruses for me, which may be a problem on his end or a problem on my end. You can still contact him through Instagram, so just do that if you want his comics. Oh, also I’m reviewing his comic. This is the third of three minis he sent me recently, but you’ll have to wait for review of the other one. Why? Because I grabbed this one randomly to review, obviously. Is this mini the most straightforward of Robb’s comics that I’ve seen so far? Good golly, it absolutely is. You could plop most of these four panel strips into any Sunday comics from a newspaper (I’m just assuming that’s still a thing) and they wouldn’t seem that out of place. That being said, they’re still funny, and maybe it’s just me but the humor seems to have an edge to it, like Dingus could legit snap at any moment. But yes, this is a comic you could leave lying around on a living room table without freaking out if a child saw it. The gist of this comic is that Dingus has a terrible gambling problem, with a few solid punchlines along the way to illustrate that fact. This also has the same physical layout as his previous mini that I reviewed, meaning that if you fold it open you’re treated to a full page (and full color) Sunday style comic that serves as a delightful epilogue to the comic itself. Give it a look, if only so you can determine if you’re more like a Dingus or more like a Dum-Dum.
Sorry about yet another gap week in reviews, between work and this “let’s organize my mini comics after 20+ years” project, I’m running short on free time. New review today for Jumping Things by Klara Zahradkova which, if you’re keeping track, is mini kus #109. Speaking of that organizing project, it looks like I have every one of those suckers past #18, with a few duplicate copies along the way here and there. Maybe if you go to Cartoon Crossroads in Columbus Ohio from October 6th through 9th I’ll end up passing out whatever duplicate mini comics I find? Who knows.
Be honest, who among us hasn’t wanted to wander off into another world every now and then? That’s the story with this comic, more or less. Our hero (we learn later in a brief origin story) had what appears to be an MRI on her leg, heard the sound of a train and then popped up in a different world. Along the way she meets a floating head, which may or may not be a part of her from another world. Sometimes it’s a floating balloon, sometimes it’s a head attached to a foot, and along the way it appears to go through male pattern baldness. There’s also more than a bit going on with the mysteries of the universe, and how they tend to get obnoxious when you’re confronted with them all the time. I’m very tempted to describe some of these new worlds now, as they’re filled with delightful surprises, but nah. If you end up with a copy of this book yourself (and you should, it’s a hoot) take your time with the various panels/pages, as Klara has packed them full of oddities that will reward those who pay close attention. Is this the part of the review where I say “mini kus, you’ve done it again!”? Yes, it is, and yes, they did. Oh, and in case I’ve somehow neglected to mention this so far in these reviews, they’re also selling bundles of four of these minis at a time, which is very much something you should look into. Meanwhile, give this one a look! $7.95
New review today for Translucent by Adam Yeater, and based on the pile of comics he sent me, I’m starting to think I created a monster with my whole “why don’t I review every issue of Meeting Comics” idea. Gentle comic artists, generally speaking I just won’t have the time/ability/inclination to do that, unless that mythical billionaire ever comes by to sponsor me and free me from all work obligations. Until then, I’ll only be able to get through a smattering of your comics. Happy weekend everybody!
So in a rarity for me, I found an interview with Adam and read it before starting my review. I confirmed what I suspected from some of the other comics he sent my way: he’s influenced by grindhouse movies, post-apocalyptic stuff and gore in general. So leave it to me to randomly pick what is (probably) the least gory of his comics for my first one to review! This is his take on the Invisible Man story by H.G. Wells. In this comic our hero is at the end of his rope, as he can’t get anything to both turn invisible and stay invisible. Frustrated, he turns to Aleister Crowley; I might be spelling that wrong but it’s spelled a couple of different ways in the comic too. Naturally, deciding to complete his experiment with invisibility through a deal with a demon comes with some drawbacks, and we end up with an entirely different interpretation of his origin story. His artistic style is deceptively simple; his backgrounds are full of details, for example, but in this comic in particular the faces of his characters could have used a bit more emphasis, as they mostly didn’t change much no matter what happened. Still, I liked the twist on the origin story, and it’s not like I’m going to judge a guy who sent me maybe 20 comics based on one random sample. Maybe I’ll review the giant collection of comics next and see where I’m at. Meanwhile, this is maybe sorta worth a look, with more to come from me. $4
New review today for Lemonade Brigade by Robb Mirsky, and honestly, the horror of that cover is just now getting through to me.
Instagram (website setting off antiviral alarm bells)
Since this is the second website in a row to set off my antiviral software, maybe something’s wrong with that and not these websites. Either way, you can get to his regular website through his Instagram if it is just me. Oh hi, you caught me in the middle of a thought that’s unrelated to the review. This is a delightful mini comic by Robb, the first in a series of three that he sent my way. Sure, that means no Sludgy for the moment, but it’s also good to see him branching out. This is full color mayhem with two stories, and one bonus story if you can find it. The main stories follow the same theme: disaffected youths. Or lemons. First up is a cop hassling two kids for no good reason at all, which leads to an inevitable reaction from the youth. Next up is the excitement of a new mall opening up in town meeting up with the reality of a new mall opening up in town. Finally… maybe I should keep the last story a secret. You won’t see it on the regular pages of the comic, so give a little tug around the edges to see what I’m talking about. If you get there, you’ll get to a wordless tale that raises more questions than answers about the biological makeup of these creatures, with a solid punchline to boot. Good clean lemony fun all around here, so give it a shot why don’t you? $3.50
New review today, sort of, for Sunder Citadel by Grant Thomas. Sorry about missing last week, but I’ve started my “let’s get all my mini comics from the last 25 years organized” project, and once you get started with something like that the only way out is through it. Also, remember those times over the years when I complained because somebody didn’t put their name anywhere on the comic? Yeah, those comics are going in the “???” section when this is all organized. Which is a shame, but if you identified only by your clever website name in 2005, it doesn’t leave me a lot to go on now. Maybe I’ll put up some of the odder ones here when I’m done in case any of y’all can figure them out…
Instragram (regular website down as of 9/4/22)
It sure is bad timing that Grant’s website is setting off all the alarm bells of my antiviral software at the moment, because I have questions that could only be answered by checking out his shop. For instance, is he selling this comic or is he giving it out with his other comics, like the essential My Life in Records? You may notice that there’s no sample image this time around, which almost never happens, but it’s for a reason: there’s only six images in this comic. It has a unique design (the gap on the upper left of the cover image is just not there, as it’s shaped to highlight the castle aspect of it when it’s pulled on either end), and it’s a striking set of images when it’s opened up, but that’s all you’re getting this time around. If it’s an experiment for his students, or if he’s just playing around with the format, it’s a unique design for sure. It’s also unreviewable in any kind of conventional sense, which is only a problem for whoever is left out there still reviewing comics. Anyway, if you’re interested in his work, I’ve been reviewing his stuff for years and have recommended almost all of it, so give some of those comics a shot. As for this, if you see him at a convention, give it a little tug to see the whole castle laid out if he’s amenable to the idea.
New review today for Another One Bites The Crust by Sarah Romano Diehl. In other news, I’ve finally started organizing my comics. Since that covers 21 years of the website (preceded by almost a decade of buying mini comics on my own), this is clearly going to take some time. If there’s anybody out there who’s a compulsive organizer with plenty of time on their hands who also wants to look at lots and lots of comics, drop me a line!
Not to derail the review right off the bat or anything (how very unlike me!) but this one starts off with something called Snowdown, which is a yearly fesitval in Colorado. Curious? So was I! Click the link and it’ll tell you anything you want to know. On a completely unrelated note, if anybody in central Ohio wanted to put together a similar event, that sounds like a wonderful idea. OK, let’s talk about this comic. It’s the third in a series, so any confusion I had about certain characters and how they related to others was probably already addressed, which would make it a silly thing to complain about, so I won’t. This is basically a few months in the life of a group of friends, co-workers and weirdos, with a whole lot of crossover in those categories. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant (a pizzeria in this case), you’ll find a lot to relate to in here. Delivery bike getting stolen repeatedly, oddball customers, drugs and booze showing up all over the place, and working until making it home and collapsing into bed. Unless there’s a party of some sort going on, in which case forget about that nonsense of going to sleep. To me (and, as always, reviews are subjective, which is a nice way to say that they’re often wrong) this is less of an A to B type story and more a collection of incidents, people, conversations and parties. Lots and lots of parties. The thing holding it all together is Puzo (a pizza delivery person) and her spending more and more time with Tito (who owns a skate shop even though he looks like a teenager). She’s got a bad feeling about him from the jump, but he’s relentless and they end up spending more and more time together. Eventually she’s warned about him from another friend, so she calls on one of those oddballs (who calls himself a detective) to try to get to the bottom of it. Honestly, you could be forgiven for losing track of that story in the rush of other people and parties; I had a general sense of who was who by the end of it, and it probably would have been improved if I’d read the other issues. Again, the feeling of this was the most important aspect to me, the sheer joy at being alive even if it was mixed in with real problems. It’s fun, it’s funny, and anybody who has ever lived through anything like this in their own lives will find a lot to relate to. Her shop is down at the moment (although that does appear to be temporary), but this is basically as big as a graphic novel, so I’m going to guess that this is at least $15. Give it a shot!
New review today for Buny by Ben Cherry. Anybody have any tips for how to train cats to avoid using claws while playing with them? Asking for a more than slightly scratched up me…
It’s time for another fantastic wordless tale from Ben, and this is going to be yet another tricky review. Should I just give in and do full spoilers for every review? Eh, no. Even typing that made me feel gross. So I’ll do my usual trick of talking around the real spoilery stuff in the hopes that you get enough out of my other word piles to feel compelled to check this out. It’s possible that that last sentence gave away the secret of reviewing. Oops! This is one of those rare comics that starts with a content warning, so in that spirit I’ll pass it along here too: this comic depicts images of child abuse. The story starts off with a young boy on his roof, watching the stars, until he sees a meteor crashing to earth. As this happens he’s roughly yanked back into the house through the window, and the story shifts to the point of view of this alien craft, which ends up being a metallic ball that tries its best (with limited information) to adapt to its surroundings. After a dramatic encounter in the woods, this creature eventually runs into the little boy, who immediately and guilelessly adopts it as his new best friend. But he still has to take it home, and we already saw a solid hint that things weren’t going all that great for this boy. And there it is, I’ve hit the brick wall of the review. I’ll just say that Ben does an expert job of carrying things through to their logical conclusion and leave it at that. Oh, and in case Ben happens to read this: your note said that you shipped two books, but only one arrived in the envelope. Just an FYI if you wonder why I never reviewed the other one. To the rest of youse, give this a shot. It seems like Ben more than has the skills to get picked up by one of the big comics companies if they see his work, so enjoy his time making his own books while you still can! $6
New review today for The Apartment by Joana Mosi. Didn’t I say recently that I was going to take a mini kus break? Yeah, that lasted less than a week. I cannot resist their siren song!
Who out there has been in one of those “death by a thousand cuts” relationships? You know the ones, where comments from a partner get more and more low-key hostile and/or passive aggressive until one day you realize that the whole relationship has been hollowed out? If you can’t relate, congratulations on either never dating for long or getting extremely lucky right out of the gate. This comic is, on its face, the story of an apartment going up for sale that’s directly below a couple. Same dimensions, just a floor lower. This, because of where they’re at in the relationship, leads to a series of arguments about how it’s a “better” apartment than theirs, and how they’d be able to have their gym if they bought that one instead. All of this is juxtaposed with quiet images around their apartment, and the story is told almost entirely through blurry, distant images of the couple. That’s the case until almost the end, where there’s a single page shown in realistic, close-up detail, and it’s devastating. If you’re in a rocky relationship at the moment, maybe this one isn’t for you right now? Or maybe it’ll be the thing that lets you take a clear look at your situation and get the hell out of it. Either way, it’s a grim, compelling story that’s expertly told by Joana. $7.99
New review today for Gecko by Nate Garcia! Also I accidentally published this live for about 30 seconds on the day that I usually write all my reviews for the week. So if anybody is out there compulsively updating this website over the weekend, you may have figured out when that is. If so, congratulations!
God damn, but this is a thoroughly delightful comic. Judging from Nate’s website this is his third book (with possibly many more mini comics, who knows), and he presents what feels like a completely thought out sliver of a world, one that had me laughing consistently throughout at several little touches. For everybody who just comes here looking for diamonds in the rough, go to his website right now and buy whatever he has available (as of this writing, it was two out of three of his books). Learn no more information, just go, read and enjoy. For everybody who needs more convincing, read on! This was one of those cases where I could use almost any page as a sample image and be perfectly happy with it. New readers, my general rule of thumb is to use the funniest/most representative page of a comic. First off, this actually starts with letters, which I’m always happy to see. We see a standoff between a horse and a tiny gecko, which the gecko “wins” by licking the horse on the leg. The horse lets out an awful shriek, waking up the cowboy, which leads to the sampled image. Yep, I used the second page. From there our heroes get an early start on the day, then run into their drug dealing friend. They have a conversation I’m not even going to try to sum up before ending up stopping to get some food. Tragedy strikes at this point, and it happens right in full view of the service people at the restaurant, and I sadly have to stop here so things aren’t ruined. I tried! But there’s just too much goodness in here that you should discover for yourself. I mean, I’ve been doing this for 21 years, clearly I have some idea what I’m talking about by now, right? Yeah, so expertise doesn’t work that way. Still! There are also a few other short pieces in here. Two crammed onto one page both take very different paths to get to a similar punchline, another story involves a haunting search for salt, and the last one is a pinup from Josh Pettinger, who is also very good at this comics business. Buy it! Maybe we’ll luck out and he’ll get to make an animated show of this wonderfulness. $10