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?
Big Plans #4
This one goes out to all the people who have ever had their laptops stolen, although I suppose it would work just as well for any old computer or easily identifiable item. This is the story of Aron’s girlfriend (?) getting her laptop stolen out of her house in 2006 and everything that came next. I love how Aron sets up his comics (well, the two that I’ve seen), as he really takes his time on the first few pages and really sets the scene. We see the cat wandering around an empty house and the already open door before the owner (Ariel) even walks in the door. It’s a little thing, granted, but attention to detail like that really goes a long way in my book. Ariel calls Aron, they make a police report but are under no illusions about actually getting it back. While looking around online a few days later Ariel notices what sure looks like her computer being listed for sale on Craig’s List, and the police are surprisingly willing to set up a sting to catch the guy. Well, it was surprising to me. I always assumed cops didn’t bother with stuff like stolen laptops, or at least not to the extent of dedicating half a dozen people to the operation. Anyway, a plan is laid out, a couple of undercover cops go into the meet in place of Aron and Ariel, and I’m confounded by not being able to give away the ending. We do get to see Aron and Ariel waiting in the back of the cop car as they hear what the cops are really thinking of the people walking by. Not unexpected, but stereotypes coming to life are always funny. It’s a good story. More than a little maddening for a number of reasons (related to the story itself, not the quality of the comic), but it was a real peek inside to this whole process. $5