Update for 2/6/19

New review today for The President Killed My Dog #1 by Chris Kostecka & Dietrich Smith. Keep those review comics coming, I’m planning on picking up the pace soon…

Kostecka, Chris & Smith, Dietrich – The President Killed My Dog

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The President Killed My Dog #1

So here’s a warning that should already by obvious by the title: if you’re one of those people who is upset by depictions of violence to animals… you’re obviously going to want to give this one a pass. Not that there’s an excessive amount of violence, but you can tell what’s going to happen here, and that death scene, hooo boy. But hey, there’s more to the comic that a dead dog! We also learn about Mary, who’s been trying to get by through picking up junk. She’s getting over the death of her husband, which is where Cindy (the dog, named after their miscarried child) comes in. Mary and Cindy are inseparable for years, collecting junk and going about their lives, until, well, Cindy gets hit by a car. There’s not much to spoil here that the title doesn’t already take care of, but I will say that the way this dog died was different than I had guessed. See, there’s still a chance for surprise! There’s another issue after that, which you may have guessed is going to be a revenge story. How is that going to work when the bad guy is the president? Stay tuned to find out! $6.99

Update for 2/4/19

New review today for By Mom, By Me by Rachel and Karen Scheer. That title combined with those names is no coincidence!

Scheer, Rachel & Karen – By Mom, By Me #2

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By Mom, By Me #2

This idea behind this comic right here? It’s fantastic. Rachel draws all the stories while comparing times in her life to times in the life of her mother. In this volume we see both of them get their first apartments, travel while in college and discuss one thing that they’ll never do again. Karen maybe had a few more adventures associated with her first apartment (honestly, based on the jobs she lists here, I’d be curious to read a lot more about her early life), seems to get closer to murdered during her college travels than Rachel (but I’d be interested in living the tour that Rachel depicts here, for whatever that’s worth) and it looks like Karen even came closer to getting murdered during her “one thing they’ll never do again” story. I don’t think this was the intention, but yes, it turns out that people of college age in the 70’s were more likely to get hurt in their adventures, or in any case it sure seems like they had more chances for something to go wrong. Does this mean that Rachel should have done more stupid shit in her youth? Nah, it shows that she knew better that when even her worst stories don’t put her in much danger. Which is also a sign that she was raised right, I reckon. Anyway, like I said, this is a great conceit for a comic series. I’d have to imagine that there are plenty of artists out there who could have a chat with their parents and end up with equally interesting tales… $4

Update for 12/31/19

New review today for UNIQLO Superman by Yan Cong, which is sadly the last of the current batch of mini kus comics. Don’t fret, they’ll come back around again sooner or later!

Cong, Yan – UNIQLO Superman

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UNIQLO Superman

It’s a rare mini kus with two stories inside! The bulk of the book is taken up by the mostly wordless cover story. A strange naked man (or maybe I’m assuming he’s strange because he’s naked) walks into a UNIQLO clothing store and methodically goes through his various options. Do you think he puts on clothing as he goes or does it all at once? You’ll never know unless you read the comic! It’s a very bizarre tale, but any doubts I might have had about it were dispelled by one of the better punchlines that I’ve seen in ages. The next story is completely different and deals with the love between a frog man and a woman. Um, a normal woman. I think. Anyway, some quiet tension is obvious, and the frog man is metaphorically keeping himself at arm’s length from his wife. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Read it and see! Or read it and make your own conclusions, because sometimes relationships just fade away and nobody is at fault, whether frog or human. Big shocker, but it’s another solid mini kus comic. Pretty sure they’ll be responsible for world peace if they make it to #100 and still have this high of a ratio of quality books. No pressure! $6

Update for 12/29/19

New review today for The House on Horse Mountain: Teacher’s Pet by Jason Li. Sorry about the lack of reviews lately, having a constant cold took it out of me last week. It’s bound to be wearing off one of these days…

Li, Jason – The House on Horse Mountain: Teacher’s Pet

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The House on Horse Mountain: Teacher’s Pet

WARNING: This is going to be a review of the second chapter of an ongoing graphic novel. I haven’t read the first chapter and I don’t know what’s coming next, so take all that into account when reading my ramblings on the comic. The graphic novel as a whole is based on the stories of Jason’s mother and her time growing up in Hong Kong in the 60’s. The subject of this chapter of the graphic novel is simple: it’s all about grades 1 through 6. She was the school equivalent of an authority figure from a very early age, and it’s clear from this book that she was mostly in it for the free gifts from the teachers for being good. We get to see how the various teachers interact with her, and later in the volume we get to see how she reacts to that dreaded grade school social scourge: being diagnosed with head lice. Based on what I saw in grade school, the teachers in Hong Kong were a lot more circumspect on the privacy aspect. It’s an intriguing peek into a side of grade school life that I never saw much (i.e. being an authority figure as a small child), and I’m curious to see where this graphic novel goes next. It’s worth a look, although if you’re not the patient type you might want to wait for a few more chapters to be finished first. $12

Update for 1/17/19

New review today for The Fang Volume 1: Moon Light Snack by Marc Palm. Happy weekend everybody!

Palm, Marc – The Fang Volume 1: Moon Light Snack

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The Fang Volume 1: Moon Light Snack

Werewolves! Ghouls! Witches! Human Slime! And Muppets! I assume you’re already sold, but just in case you’re still skeptical, I’m talking about the Fang. I reviewed a few of Marc’s comics years ago (2012 to be exact), but he’s been making comics for lots longer than that, and The Fang seems to be his ongoing series. Which is great, because this comic is something else. How anybody could pass this up based on the cover alone is beyond me, but the insides are just as good. The Fang is a paid assassin of monsters, which leaves the world of the series open to all sorts of exploration. This one opens with a werewolf on the run after his date has gone horribly wrong; it turns out that he was on a date with The Fang, she has been chasing after him for months and lets him know that she’s there to kill him. Once she has him at her mercy the thrill wears off a bit, and the werewolf is able to talk her into a date the following evening. From there our hero takes on the a Human Slime, has a therapy/smoking session with the Hash Hag (she’s not there to kill the hag, just to chat and smoke) and finally she goes back to meet the werewolf to continue their date. Along the way it’s hilarious, graphically sexy and violent, and goddamn gorgeous to look at. Oh, and there’s a bonus story at the end that shows here encounter with a giant monster baby, but I don’t want to spoil a thing about that. If the concept of a muppet monster hunter doesn’t get you interested I don’t know what will, but if you’ve been waiting for it… you’re in luck! $7.99

Update for 1/15/19

WordPress made me download an update that has everything I’m seeing on this end all wonky, so if this looks apocalyptic, somebody drop me a line and I’ll try to fix it. I think I have it all worked out, but despite the fact that I’ve been running this site since 2001, I still have only a basic grasp of how all this shit works. Yay ignorance! New review today for Special K by Inkee Wang, another of the mini kus books.

Wang, Inkee – Special K

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Special K

OK, this is going to be one of those cases where I can’t talk about the comic without getting into some major spoilers, so be forewarned. Granted, the synopsis on the back cover had the same spoilers, but you can’t see that here, so that doesn’t count. If you’re looking for a suggestion only, well, it’s a mini kus book, and my love for their ingenuity, creativity and uniqueness is well established at this point, so yeah, you should check it out. This is the story of Special K, the avatar of a teenager in a popular online shooting game. He’s the best player in the game by far; people from all over the world watch his livestream and will log in just in the hopes of getting killed by him. I should mention here that hundreds (if not thousands) of people make a living from other people watching them play video games online, and that I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that there’s such a huge market of people who simply want to watch others play video games. But hey, they’re rich and I’m not, so what do I know. Anyway, most of the first half of the book establishes this kid and his character, some of his more heroic exploits in the game, and sets him up as a giant superstar. He’s eventually discovered to have cheated but, as is the norm in the world of the internet, nobody is quite sure where the allegations started or whether or not they’re even true, but he’s still chased out of the game, taking away the main draw of the thing. The images of the end of the story are downright beautiful, as the vast online killing field is deserted once their hero is gone, leaving only a few diehards who end up in a peaceful online field. There’s insightful commentary here on the fad of being an internet celebrity and how quickly it can all vanish, how ephemeral the cults around these people can be, and even a few cool little battle sequences if that’s all you’re here for. It’s another great book from the fine folks at mini kus, in other words. $6

Update for 1/10/19

New review today for Land of the Sons by Gipi. And thus concludes an unintentional week of reviews for artists with only a single name.

Gipi – Land of the Sons

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Land of the Sons

I genuinely do not know where to start with this one. How a book with 280 pages (give or take) doesn’t have a wasted panel in it? How it starts off like a fairly simple story of the few remaining survivors of civilization (years after the fall) and balloons out into a complex, terrifying tale? The fact that so many answers are given with so few words? Not that it’s a wordless comic; far from it. Just that some of the most important scenes don’t have a lot of chatter involved. OK, how about this: the book starts off with a young man casually walking through a field. He’s trying to call out for his brother, and we spend several pages seeing his hunt. Finally he sees his brother struggling with an animal, and we learn later that his brother has killed a dog for the sake of trading it to the only local merchant. Why does he so casually kill a dog? Because he’s never learned that dogs (or cats) were around for anything other than meat and their skin. So clearly it’s been awhile since the end of the world, but we’re never given a solid reason for why it happened. It’s irrelevant, really. Civilization has fallen, this is what’s left. The brothers bring this dog to their father, who chastises them for the method of killing the dog, their lack of preparation in keeping it fit for trade, etc. We soon see that he is hard on these kids constantly, but it’s because he’s trying his best to keep them alive in this harsh, unforgiving world. There’s an unpleasant but successful interaction with the trader, the boys make a few attempts to read the journal that their father is keeping (neither has learned to read) and the bulk of the remainder of the book deals with their ongoing attempts to get somebody, anybody, to read the book for them. Along the way we get to see more of this world, and the more we see, the worse it gets. It’s goddamn horrifying at times, and once you pass a certain part of the book the tension is pressing and constant. I don’t know if this book won any awards (Gipi is an Italian artist and this is apparently his second book), but it should have. I’ve been flipping back through various scenes since I finished it, and that’s not the norm with me and graphic novels. Give it a look, I can’t recommend it highly enough. $29.99

Update for 1/8/19

Happy new year! Yeah, I’m still here, but I’ve either been out of town for the holidays or stuck with a cold that just won’t quit, so sorry for the lack of reviews. New review today for Beyond a Cure by Fenta, another issue from the mini kus pile.

Fenta – Beyond a Cure

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Beyond a Cure

Do you have any idea how tempting it is to just put the synopsis from the back of the comic in the place of a proper review and call it a day? As always, it’s succinct, and it manages to say nothing and everything at the same time. Instead I get to ramble on for a few hundred words in the hopes of making a different kind of sense of it. Oh, woe is the fate of the random internet comics reviewer! In the case the sarcasm there wasn’t crystal clear… yeah, sarcasm. Hey look everybody, it’s a new issue of mini kus! #72, to be exact, and I can only hope that when they reach #100 their plan for world domination will be complete. This is the story of two brothers… or two aspects of the same person… or possibly just two guys who know each other? Yep, I’ve got this one nailed down. One of the brothers is sick and has decided to end it all, and has already dug a hole in the backyard for his body. All his other brother has to do is come over at the appointed time and bury him. While the healthy brother is contemplating this state of affairs he has visions of the past, or possibly prophetic visions. When the time is right he comes over to bury his brother… but the visions don’t stop, and what exactly happened is very much open to interpretation. It’s the sense of a half-remembered dream put on paper, with a pervasive sense of foreboding and hopelessness throughout. In other words, it’s another completely unique story to add to the mini kus collection. $6

Update for 12/19/18

New review today for The Index #6: The Crowd by Caitlin Cass. If you’re wondering why there’s a second issue six in the series, please disregard the last one, per the artist.

Cass, Caitlin – The Index #6

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The Index #6: The Crowd

It’s back, The Index is back! Sorry, that probably seemed unprofessional. I apologize to those of you who still somehow see me as a professional. Before I get to the contents of this comic, I have to point out that there was another #6 of this series, but Caitlin says at the start of this issue that we’re meant to disregard it entirely. Checking through my past reviews I see that I never reviewed it; checking through her store I can see that the older issue is still for sale and that it’s described as having to do with our two heroes asking Virginia Woolf for advice on their situation. This sounds fascinating to me, but apparently Caitlin disagreed. Why? What scandalous materials are discussed in this issue? I have no idea, but if you’re curious you’d better order a copy before she notices that they’re still for sale. Oh, and she also has a collected edition of the first five issues available there, if you’re interested, which you should be. Does that mean that I can finally talk about this comic? It does! In this issue John eats a sandwich while Susan calls several of the greatest minds in history to help them with the problem of the burning library. Maybe that’s why Caitlin ditched the last issue: she preferred the conversation of several of them (Virginia Woolf included) rather than just Woolf on her own. Anyway, they decide to watch how they handle the crisis without interfering, which inevitably leads to them interfering to try to get things kicked off. Does this help the greatest minds in history solve the problem? Or have they made a terrible mistake? Tune in next time to… no, you probably will have to tune in next time, as there are still problems to be solved. But since Caitlin has solved whatever narrative bugaboo was holding her back with this second sixth issue, and since she’s already one of the most prolific artists I know, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing an issue seven before too long. If you haven’t listened to me yet to buy her comics, well, shame on you, but now that there’s a collected edition of the first five issues you really have no excuse at all. Buy it, catch up, live better!

Update for 12/17/18

New review today for Doghair by Ganmu. Rejoice, as this means more mini kus books have arrived!

Ganmu – Doghair

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Doghair

Oh mini kus, don’t ever change. This is another selection in their series (#71, for those keeping track of such things) and this time around the story deals with a young man and his dog. Dogs. It’s not entirely clear if both dogs are his, but it’s not particularly relevant. He only has eyes for the dogs, which leads to a bit of trouble at home. His wife (or roommate, although the implication is definitely wife) berates him over dinner and then leaves the house, but his concern is still for the dogs, failing to notice that she’s spending less and less time at home. Finally he looks out the window and sees his wife, while walking the dog, talking to another man in the street. Naturally, this causes him to spring into action… and you’ll have to read the comic to see what happens next. This is mostly wordless, so the glances and body language are doing most of the work. It’s occasionally haunting and the ending is grim, in a “Boy and his Dog” sort of way. See, if you know what I’m talking about that is a bit of a spoiler. Hooray for your literacy! $6