On Your Marks #1
Oh, what a crank I am. I get a pretty damned great anthology filled with small press people living in Seattle who could use a little more exposure and I can’t help thinking that I would have liked it better with a clear indication of which artists did which pages. They’re even all listed on the inside front cover, but they’re inside of a drawing, which makes some of them tough to make out. Does this take away from the quality of the content? Not one bit, no, as it’s not like it’s impossible to figure out who did certain pages with a little bit of work. Eh, I blame it on the general tone of the holiday season. All this Christmas music everywhere just bugs me. And if you ever needed more proof that I am in fact a total curmudgeon, there you have it. Anyway! This is a collection of mostly one page strips, done by all kinds of people that you either already know about or should be ashamed of yourself because you’ve never heard of them. Stories include Ben Horak having the comic he made when he was 6 read by adults (with a perfect final panel), Tom Van Deusen’s creepy piece about a head growing out of a roof and what happens when it’s removed, Bobby Madness and the sacrifice he made for the environment, Kelly Froh’s traumatic moment on an aimless afternoon, Pat Keck and his dungeon Gremlins, Aarow Mew and the result of his “spider” bite, Julia Gfrorer’s tale of a creepy ouija board experience, Rick Altergott and Pat Moriarty’s story of what cats think is going on with their litter boxes, Marc Palm’s Flannelwolf and Frankcan, Robyn Jordan’s worries about what she’ll be like in 10 years after she has kids, David Lasky’s questions about what you would do if you were a superhero, and Max Clotfelter’s mistaken assumption involving getting his older brother involved in protecting him. Like I said, it’s a damned solid anthology, full of ridiculously talented people. Maybe next time they’ll put page numbers on the pages to lessen my crankiness, or maybe it’s something I need to work on on my own and I’m sharing too much here… $4
Paper Cuts Machine
Wow, that cover is tremendously hard to see in a scan. This is an anthology of autobiographical comics, which automatically means that I like it, so I’ll try to be a bit more critical this time. There are a couple of great stories by Max Clotfelter, one about almost getting killed in grade school and one about the average events of a week. Every embarrassing detail is exposed here, which is always fun. Then there’s a story from Liz Prince about who’s stinkier, which is a short but fun strip. Aarow Mew just sort of wanders around aimlessly, and I can’t tell you why it bugged me here and not in the other strips, but there you go. Kelly Froh has a great story about a crush on an art school teacher, Rob Schultz has a one pager about wackiness in Iraq (maybe not the funniest subject matter in the world) and Kaz Strzepek has a story about trying to make out with his girlfriend back when he still lived with his parents. Max probably had the best looking art in here, with Kaz a close second, if you’re going to by that standard, even though it’s usually not a tremendously important criteria in autobio. The important thing is that everything in here is engaging and interesting (except maybe for Aaron’s story, but that’s a question of taste). I’m going out on a limb and saying it’s $2, check out the website!
Slither #4 (art by Chris Warren & Aaron Mew) Now Available! $1
Checking over that last review I can see that Kelly promised depravity this time around, and she delivers! Or at least she delivers if you consider talking about sex like an adult talking to other adults “depravity”. This issue covers a time span (I believe) through 2004, dealing with such things as traveling, dealing with her family for a wedding, visiting all sorts of friends, trying to imagine how she could ever fit in in New York, the sheer delight of kicking an asshole in a movie theater as he walks by, and Warren. Warren was her love interest (is there a more modern term for that I could use? “Love interest” makes me feel downright prim and proper) at the time, and Kelly honestly goes through how they got together, how she resisted at first but eventually got won over, how Warren lost interest once he saw that he had achieved his conquest, and how she let the whole thing die. The thing I love most about Kelly’s descriptions of her relationships is the absolute lack of any self pity. She tells a story about Warren telling her a pretty cruel thing, but it’s very clearly told because it’s an integral part of the story, not out of some desire to get sympathy from the reader. Self-indulgent auto-bio cartoonists, take note. The issue wraps up with the reader matching outfits to their respective cities, and a listing of the various types of people who ride buses, and I think I’ve seen all of them except the overtly paranoid guy. Another excellent issue, and anybody who doesn’t take a few minutes (and a few dollars) to get a stack of her comics is only hurting themselves.