Peter is another guy who is focusing a lot more on his daily web strip than mini comics these days (I’m also reviewing Neil Fitzpatrick), so it’s rare to see something from him. He says in this that this is a bunch of comics that he had laying around the house (which may or may not be true; you kind of have to read it to know what I mean), so let’s take a look. The first story is a minimalist piece about a man obsessing over a former girlfriend. I thought it was the strongest piece in the book. “Oh, The Joys” was an OK, if slightly confusing, story about Peter bickering with his wife over their new house. I liked the story about sledding a lot too, and the other story, Circulation, was good, but I had one problem with it: the setup. It’s basically a story about a guy Peter used to work with, but he sets it up by walking up to a guy at a library circulation (which makes sense if you read the story), saying “excuse me”, and launching into a long speech about this guy. It just didn’t strike me as something that happens in real life, at least not without the circulation guy running for cover at some point. Just a minor thing, but it bugged me. A solid issue overall, and it looks like the strip is funny a lot of the time too. This is $2, the site is linked up there…
Attempted Not Known #7
Peter is taking a new direction with this one and I think it’s great. He’s been funny throughout the ones that I’ve read, and the easiest funny stories are the shorter ones, so this one is a bunch of shorter pieces. It’s not all funny, as he addresses 9/11 in a couple of comics, but this is mostly a funny book. You can find his contact info elsewhere on this page, but if I had to pick my favorite from all these I think it would have to be this one. Check it out if you haven’t read any of these books, it’s only $1, you cheap bastards.
I think all these free comics are spoiling me. Greg Vondruska sent this one to me with a few of his own, and I got a pile of stuff from Ben Steckler that day too. What that means, basically, is that I’m going to have to order a few more books from this man because I only got about 12 pages worth of stuff, and it wasn’t my favorite thing in the world. So then why would I buy more stuff? A few reasons. John Hankiewicz draws the story on the back and I’ve been following his stuff around like a little puppy dog these days. Peter has a story in the next issue of Tepid too, so that automatically makes me curious. And anybody in general who is liked by that many people is worth a few chances in my book. What didn’t I like about it? Wasn’t too fond of the single panel gag comics, or the “Your House” strip about things that go on when you’re not looking. I liked the first story (about a superhero who falls in love with a girl who loves indie comics), if it was a bit predictable. The dream stuff is a great idea and there’s been a real lack of quality dream comics lately. Overall, a mix of good and so-so stuff. Like I said, it’s hard to get a real feel for the guy in 12 pages… which is why the website was such a help. All kinds of samples there, so go figure out for yourself what you think of this guy, My opinion of him went up dramatically after I saw samples of other stuff that he had done, that’s for sure. It confirmed for me that the good stuff I saw in this issue is what he usually does. It looks like the other issues are a bit more coherent than this one too. Anyway, e-mail him or send him money (although I really think you should check out the samples on his page first): P.O. Box 64522 Sunnyvale, CA 94088-4522.
Attempted Not Known #5
Hey, how can you go wrong with a half naked anime looking girl right there on the cover? Turns out that she has nothing to do with anime and I was just fooled, or maybe it says something about me that I even thought she had anything to do with anime, I don’t know. Anyway, the main story in this one is called Breakfast Cereal Morning, a surreal story that reminds me of John Hankiewicz. Good stuff, although I have to say that I’d like to see what he could do if he stuck with a story for on entire issue. That might not make much sense when you stop to think that my favorite stories of his are the short dream strips, but I think he might have the ability to pull off a great longer story. We’ll see one of these days, I guess. Also included are a few of the dream strips, a fantastic Notes From the Field and a story that has the best title ever: It’s Not Easy Being Pants. If I had to complain about one thing in these last two issues it would definitely be the format. I know this is probably the cheapest way to print these, but they feel kind of like harsh toilet paper. You should all send him money so he doesn’t have to print on this stuff anymore. The fact that he’s somebody that you should all be watching anyway should help to make that decision a little bit easier, right?
Attempted Not Known #4
Another good issue. He wraps up his messy (but still interesting) untitled story from the last issue and throws in a few pages of other strips. My main problem with these is that they’re so short. I know, that’s a lot to ask from a mini but it seems tough to come away from an issue with a comprehensive idea of what you just saw, if that makes any sense. Anyway, a couple of Weird Real Dreams are in this as well as the story of a couple of people lucking into a really cheap apartment and what they did with the piles of Nazi memorabilia they found laying around. It’s starting to become clear to me why another comics creator sent me the books of this guy because they thought he wasn’t getting enough exposure though, I can tell you that much.
Peter was kind enough to send me some of his other issues so I could get a better view of what he was all about. Maybe the first review (for #6) came across as negative, I’m not sure. I meant it as more “eh” than negative, but getting these has really impressed me. This one has a rambling story about a man losing his job and smoking pot and a bunch of smaller pieces. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the first story, it just didn’t go anywhere. He discontinued it after the next issue anyway, so he knew that it wasn’t going anywhere too. The shorter pieces are great. The Weird Real Dreams segments are almost always great (and at least always interesting), as are the American Encounters. I’d love to hear how he got his book into Tower Records. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but that’s a hell of a lot of exposure and I wonder who happened across his book. Overall a good read, and it’s starting to look like I was right about his earlier books being more together than #6.