Belligerent Kitties #1
Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover, or at least you can if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, but I’m not in your head so never mind. See that image on the cover of a cat insulting you or the mythical generic reader? Well, there are 25 more pages of that in here by a variety of artists, some funny, some not so much. Which makes it a good thing that humor is subjective, as you might think that anywhere from 0-100% of this comic is funny and you would also be correct. Anyway, the comic itself was mostly funny, but the real winner for me came at the end. Ken, bemoaning the lack of support for the comics that he makes that he genuinely loves and is proud of, has decided to sell out. So it’s time for cat memes! If he really did stick it he can always use the Hollywood formula for actors who don’t like to constantly star in garbage: make a garbage comic to rake in the bucks, then use said bucks to finance the comic that you do want to make. Simple! I’ve just solved the financial feasibility of all mini comics, assuming that nobody out there minds completely selling out from time to time. No price listed here, but $2 sounds reasonable as a guess.
Oh jam comics, don’t ever change. In case you’ve only read three comics in your life and none of them were a jam comic, this is a thing that a bunch of cartoonists do together, either in person or through the mail/internet, usually under the influence of booze at the very least. As such, reviewing a jam comic like a traditional comic is a waste of time, as it was never meant to have a coherent story. This particular comic is the “dirty” bits from the regular Sunday jams that a bunch of Columbus artists do when they meet up on a weekly basis, and it is all over the map. But, oddly, usually either offensive or funny. And often both! Each of these strips are one page long, passed over to the next person in line from panel to panel, with none of the panels being signed by the artist, making this a fun/excruciating guessing game. Your best bet to know whether or not you’re going to like this is by looking at that list of tags and seeing if your favorite Columbus artist is included in that list, but I’ll try to summarize at least a few of the strips for you. Stories include the bleeped out clown and monkey love, “The Family Cirque Du Soleil” (with a fantastic last panel), the adventures of a pile of broken glass and a dead dude, William Shatner’s soap, how the Smurfs were wiped out, the end of the world, various types of tongues, cat piss vs. meatloaf, raccoon vice, a devil and a cockroach in love, and creepy Superman. That’s most of the first half, which leaves the whole second half a delightful surprise. Try a jam comic, you’ll be glad you did! Unless you’re easily offended, in which case you should maybe look at any other “Sunday” book. $3
I just now realized that this was different from the PANEL set of anthologies put out by Ferret Press, the ones that I love pretty much every time (which is saying a lot for an anthology). Is there a feud of some kind going on, or are there just too many stories for them all to be contained in one anthology? Or hey, maybe it’s because the PANEL anthologies tend to stick to one theme, while the only theme of this one seems to be “people who were at SPACE in 2012.” Whatever the case, this is a damned solid anthology, and if you find yourself wondering if you really want to pay $20 for an anthology, remember that a good chunk of the proceeds go towards keeping the same price for the yearly convention and generally funding all aspects of the thing. Think of it as a donation to a worthy cause where you come out of it with a fairly hefty anthology that also happens to be mostly in color. I always thought that seeing The Accidentals (by Mike Carroll) in color would be a revelation, and it looks like I was right. If only he could afford to put them all out like that! Ah well. Stories in this one include a John Steventon piece about the eventful birth of his daughter, a battle for the fate of the universe that came a little too late by Jon Michael Lennon and Thor Fjalarsson, an utterly unique vision of the afterlife by Leslie Anderson, a Christmas alone for a bear by Shawn Smith, an uneventful conquering of the world by Bob Corby, Kathleen Coyle and Jason Young’s piece on Kathleen’s first time seeing Return of the Jedi as a young child, Brian John Mitchell exploring the meaning of it all (he also edited this whole thing), Mari Naomi’s attempt to square the image in her head of her grandfather with the horrible stories that she was told about him after he died, Mike Kitchen’s hilarious take on the attention span of iPad users, Steve Myers and his tale of reality blending with fantasy, Matt and Jeanie Bryan’s unique take on a ruined date, Kel Crum’s computer virus, Kris and Mary Lachowski’s piece on a bizarre half dream half reality conversation, Blair Kitchen’s superhero who’s having a really tough time saving the damsel in distress, a sneak preview of Dave Kelly and Lara Antal’s tale of the Night Watchman (probably not what you’re thinking, but maybe you nailed it!), another great Homegrown Alien tale by Joe Davidson, a one page shortie by Ray Tomczak, and a brief bubbly piece by Maryanna Rose Papke. The color was done really well, and it was great to see some of these characters done how they were “meant” to be done (for all I know the creators were perfectly content for these stories to always be in black and white but couldn’t resist the chance to change it here). It’s a nice pile of stories and seemed to be really representative of the work of these people, which is why this thing exists in the first place, right? $20
Oh, Comics! #20
Hello comics anthology! What sort of mixed bag do you have for me today? Before I get into it I should point out (in case I haven’t already) that I love that title, as it could be taken in so many ways. I prefer to take it as an exclamation of alarm, but am also happy accepting it in the context of some lovable scamp accidentally knocking over a flower vase. The subject of this one is “Air” (which should maybe have been mentioned on the cover somewhere, but in hindsight it’s hard not to think of air when you’re looking at that cover by Max Ink), and stories include a silent tale of an overly inquisitive space ghost (not THE Space Ghost) by Bianca Alu-Marr and Steve Peters, a hilarious parody of the 50’s style alarmist propaganda videos by Derek Baxter and Brian Canini (probably the highlight of the anthology), Pam Bliss proving that she can draw the difference between a husky and a wolf, a gloomy but accurate (and gorgeous) tale of an astronaut trying to fix a satellite and the consequences of it by D. Skite, Canada Keck’s tale of getting on a plane and getting a one-way ticket to anywhere, two short poems/pieces by Matt Levin about the subject matter, Michael M. Carroll’s tale of some issues between the elements of his Accidentals, Bob Corby’s piece on space cops and their search for an illegal passenger, and a Robert Gavila tale from 2004 about giant lizards. I saw the ending of that one coming, but I am also a gigantic dork with way too much knowledge of such things. There are also a couple of Cornelia pieces by Kel Crum and one story by Steven Myers that I didn’t mention because it is not for me. The two lady hero characters are called She-Eagle (seriously) and First Lady, and the whole thing is meant in earnest, and it is just not something that I enjoyed. But hey, to each their own. It’s a nicely varied pile of stories, and there are quite a few of them for that tiny $5 price tag.
Bunny Blues Leaves #3
Here's another case of me reading the first three issues of a series and bunching up the review into one book. Hey, it gets the point across and I can still update my opinion with future issues, right? Anyway, this is the story of Kit Jones deciding that she wants to go on tour with her guitar. She takes a road manager and a Head of Security who's in love with her. Her brother eventually decides that he wants to join them, and that's where this issue starts off. That and the important phone call from the end of #2 isn't addressed at all, but I'm guessing that it will have some importance later on in the series. Overall, this isn't a bad series, it's just that things seem to moving really slowly. The events are fairly scattered and I think Kit just got to her first gig at the end of the third issue. The "romantic interest" subplot is moving pretty slowly too. Oh, and I should mention that this is one of those anthropomorphic comics and that there's a really crappy bear on the last page of #3... sorry, it's a cheap shot but I couldn't resist. Altogether a series with potential. I like the dialogue and a lot of the art. It does look a bit rushed here and there, but that might be my nitpicking. It's $1.50 for the first two and $2 for #3, go to the website and look around. Also, he's the guy in charge of SPACE in Columbus apparently and everybody in the world should go to that, so check out info for that at the same website.