Steinke, Aron Nels – Big Plans
Before I even talk about the comic, I have to point out that Bridge City Comics published this collection, and it looks like it’s one of their first books, so reward them for doing something great by buying it! Also reward Aron for making it, sure, but jumping into publishing is always risky and people should be rewarded when they put out collections of fantastic comics like this. I’d only seen one issue of his “Big Plans” series in the past, because there are only so many comics that I can keep up with and my brain is like a sieve about such things, and it’s clear from this collection that I was missing out. This is broken up into six parts. The art gets a bit better as it goes on, but Aron started this at a high level artistically and you’re not going to be looking at anything particularly ugly here. The first section deals with Aron’s burning all of his crappy Image comics from back in the day (I just ended up throwing mine away but prefer his method of dealing with the garbage), chatting with a willfully unhelpful comic shop guy in Vancouver, the journey from noticing a suspicious man at the airport to deciding what to do about it when he gets on the same plane, and Aron’s mother’s thoughts on his use of swear words in his books. The second part is much shorter, as it mostly deals with a good memory of Aron’s that comes at the expense of his brother’s appendicitis. The third section is where the movie stars come into the picture, as Aron gets a ticket to the 2005 Academy Awards and it descends into a drunken mess (the story, not his writing or art (as far as I know; if it does he’s a very capable drunken cartoonist)). The fourth part deals with a walk most people who live in apartments have had to make at some point: noticing that your door was unlocked even though there’s no reason for this to be the case and going through the apartment room by room, usually holding a knife, trying to find out if somebody broke in and is still in there with you. I already touched on the fifth part in a past review, as it’s all about Aron and his wife participating in a sting operation and trying to get their stolen laptop back. Finally there’s the hefty sixth part, where Aron uses silence and wide open spaces to get his point across in stories about a disappointing lecture given by two alternative artists and going on a walk to get some beer. I’m leaving out all kinds of short stories to leave you plenty of surprises (not that I’m giving much away on the other stories), but you have every reason in the world to check this out. Aron is one of the best artists/storytellers working today, there’s a brand new publishing company for you to support, and you get a huge graphic novel out of the deal for $18. What’s not to love?