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O’Brien, Keith (and Various Artists) – Samurai Slate in Punch Drunk or Bowl Me Over

Website (for Tom Cherry, can’t find one for Keith)

Samurai Slate in Punch Drunk or Bowl Me Over

So what exactly is your tolerance level for word puns? If it’s your favorite thing in the world, boy howdy do I ever have a comic for you! If you can barely stand them, you might want to save yourself some time and move on to the next review. Keith wrote these stories, all either one or two pages, and they all feature a comedic theme based on a specific type of wordplay. The strip I sampled (where the story works in using every day of the week) is the clearest example of it, but other stories in here use puns based on books, punctuation, cows, India, chess and minerals. If your eyes naturally roll to the back of your head every time you/read hear a pun, this book might just kill you. If not, there are some genuinely funny bits here and there, and just seeing how they manage to work all these words into each story can be interesting. So… get this with your eyes wide open. I doubt there will be much middle ground for an opinion here, but you might just love it. No price listed, but I’m guessing it’s a buck or two…

Derry Green, Delaine (editor) – The Portable Not My Small Diary



The Portable Not My Small Diary

Hey kids, or anybody who has started reading comics in the last few years? Are you interested in the history of mini comics, why they’re such a source of passion for so many people? Well, maybe not in numbers, but in level of interest and dedication in following certain artists? Your answer is this volume. If you have no interest in the history, away with you! This one can be for the old timers. This is a collection of the best of the “Not My Small Diary” anthology, and if you read small press comics in the 90’s and 00’s, you will recognize plenty of these names. In fact, good luck not getting lost in a Google hole or trying to figure out what so many of these people are up to these days. Notable names include (but are not limited to) Jeff Zenick, Dan Zettwoch, Patrick Dean, Raina Telgemeier, Jesse Reklaw, Carrie McNinch, Sam Spina, Roberta Gregory, Kurt Wolfgang… you know what, there are just too damned many names, and they’re all in the tags, so check that part out. If any of those names made you say “hey, I wonder what they’re up to these days” then this book is for you. These are mostly snippets of stories, but they’re all complete by themselves. Sometimes the stories follow a theme, like notable dates or moments in their lives, but really they’re all over the place. If it seems like I’m avoiding getting into specifics, that is entirely the case. If you were around for all these artists when they first started, you’re going to get lost in this instantly. If not, this is an excellent way for you to figure out what the big deal was about these people all along. I guess it’s possible that it’s the nostalgia talking and that people might not connect to these stories now, but screw that. These are tales of human weakness (and occasionally triumph), and those stories are universal and timeless. Most of the original issues of this series are out of print, so this is your best option all around. The book itself is $7.50 if you see Delaine at a convention, but if not $10 should be enough to cover the shipping, and I really can’t recommend this enough. It’s rare for any anthology not to have a weak story or two, but these are all golden.


Taylor, Dan (editor) – Symphony in Ink #2


Symphony in Ink #2

Here we have an example of my fundamental problem with anthologies in general: even when I like a series of anthologies (granted, this one was only based on reading one issue), there are times when individual issues of it don’t do a thing for me. This is one of those cases, as I did like the first issue. This one starts off with a story by Lorena Caiazzo, probably the best piece of the book, about a couple of kids trying to figure out what to wear for Halloween. Tom Brinkmann is up next with a piece about Funky Fetish Fashion Dolls, an OK piece about dominatrix action figures. Michael Roden has a poetic piece next, an illustrated ode about flying through dimensions that didn’t do a thing for me. Finally there’s Dan’s story about a cold zombie who hangs around with a hobo for warmth, with predictable consequences. There are also one pagers by Brad Foster, Bill Shut and Thomas Ferranti with faintly amusing shorties. As a whole it’s OK. If you like enough of these people, as with any anthology, that’s probably enough for you to check it out. If you don’t like them or know them already, there’s not a lot here to make a fan out of anybody else. $2

Krauss, Richard – Midnight Fiction 2008 Desk Calendar


Midnight Fiction 2008 Desk Calendar Now Available! $6

The contributors: Sean Azzopardi, Scott Ball, Hunt Emerson, Brad W. Foster, Allen Freeman, Richard Krauss, DC McNamara, John Porcellino, Bill Shut, Jim Siergey, Dan W. Taylor, Bob Vojtko, and Steve Willis. In case you’re wondering how this thing work, it’s beautiful in its simplicity. These are individual pages inside of a CD case, so all you have to do is flip the CD lid over backwards and you have an easy stand for your desk calendar. So instead of Dilbert or some other crap in your office cubicle, you can show the world how cool you really are with a calendar full of small press art. It starts with November of this year (2007), so you get a couple of bonus months with your calendar.

Freeman, Allen (editor) – Slam Bang #6 Volume 2



Slam Bang Volume 2 #6

Kudos to Christina Wald for that cover, there’s plenty to unpack before you even open the book.  In case you can’t read the fine print (which is a shame, as there are jokes all over the cover) this is the advertising issue, basically an excuse for the people involved to take the “random fake ads” gag and have some real fun with it.  Edward Pun (which can’t possibly be his real name) shows a bad day that ends in a clever ad for a massage chair, Brad Foster has a “rehabilitated” quack doctor, Ryan Estrada shows off the civic conscience of the actual Big Boy, Roger Langridge has the inspired idea of selling “mother in a jar” (just in case you’re too independent), Dean LeCrone & Allen Freeman have a time machine for sale, Tyler Sticka plays with celebrities in his bit (and hopes to get sued to “land a major distribution deal”), John Lustig again steals the show with his bit about the biological clock and where to place the blame after a bad break-up, and Jim Siergey has some games for children to help them find their place in life (as automatons).  That’s leaving out plenty of stuff, as this thing is packed with ads that are only 1/2 or 1/3 of a page long by all sorts of folks.  Big laughs, big issue, all kinds of stuff to pick through, what more do you want?  $4