Vampires Need Love Too #4Â Â Â Â Â Now Available! $3
It’s always a good sign when I have trouble picking out a sample from a comic of one page strips. I generally try to pick a page that I think is funny, and when it’s an easy choice that means that there weren’t all that many laughs. This time around I could have picked a half dozen strips pretty easily. The basic setup is probably familiar to you by now, especially if you’ve been keeping up with this series: it’s all about a vampire and his crew of freakish friends. Brian posts one strip a week on Sundays, and it looks like they vary between this and some of his other series. If you wonder how many series the guy has going, check out the online store, as most of them are for sale here. Anyway, strips in here include his friend the bat and its problems, the lizard with the strange accent offering him advice, accidentally turning a girl into a vampire, the usefulness of having “divine” protection, and his troubles with ladies. Lot of strips are about his troubles with the ladies, actually, and he gets in more than a few good lines in the process. Well, he does if you’re a guy who has trouble understanding what is going on in any given woman’s head, but your opinion may vary if you actually are one of those ladies. Either way, there’s no quicker way to make funny stuff unfunny than by going through each strip in detail, so I’ll leave that sort of thing to the readers. If you liked his previous issues in this series, Brian is only getting funnier. If you haven’t liked the previous issues, you should maybe give this one in particular a try; I think you might like what you see.
Exit Only #1
In my eternal wishy-washiness, I always go back and forth on the mini comics: which is better, one big story per comic or a bunch of little ones? Both have their advantages, sure, but I’ve finally settled on one thing (today, anyway). I’m a big fan, with work that is new to me, of the multiple story format. It allows a much better chance to get a real feel for the talent of the people involved, instead of letting everything ride on one big story. This one has a few different stories, some funny, some not so much. First there’s an intro page, in which we get to see the writer (Matthew) as a bum and the artist (Lonnie) as an alien, and we get a brief intro of everybody else in here. The first big story here deals with life working at a gas station, talking shit to the neighboring gas station and making fun of fat people. It’s funnier than it sounds, trust me, but they go a bit overboard on the fat people. Hey, it’s America, we’ll all get to that stage, unless our hearts explode first. Next up are a few short pieces with the most useless character in the book, a mostly naked cat lady. Mostly naked, you might be saying. That doesn’t sound so bad. In theory, sure, but they milk this of any potential comedic value in three short pages. Not too many places left to go from there, and I have this cynical, sad feeling that she’ll be a money making sensation for these two in five years. Then we get to the highlight of the comic, in which the friend of a young woman lets her have it for dragging her out to be with a pair of musicians when it’s not exactly like said young women would need any help getting into their pants. Following all this is a series of short pieces (one each by Brian Cattapan and Pelcher also), mostly landing on the “funny” side of that great, subjective cosmic scale. All told it’s worth a look if you appreciate juvenile humor with some genuinely funny bits thrown in. $2
Cay… The Night Huntress #3
I think I’m finally starting to get a feel for these comics. I was a little bothered by them at first because they’re so short that they offended my delicate, pre-conceived notions for what a comic should be. Now I see them as somebody sending me a couple of jokes in a little pamphlet with a short story holding it together. This marks (what looks like) the end of the Cay series, as Cay confronts the living piece of collage art and the two zombie vampires. This smudgy art has really grown on me as I’ve seen more of Brian’s work. The smudgy lettering, however, has not, although I do appreciate the occasional filled-in word. It’s $.50, like most of his comics, and you should probably get the lot of them, as it’s an ongoing, complete series. You’ve been here often enough now to find the contact info, I expect…
Scat! … the Scaredy Cat #2
This man puts out the tiniest books ever! Not in terms of actual comic size, as Caesar Meadows holds that record I think, just in terms of the number of pages. I feel bad putting two pages up for sample here, as that’s about half of his book (you probably think I’m joking), so go ahead and send him a couple of bucks for some comics to alleviate my guilt. This is a tiny comic about a cat who’s too afraid to fall asleep and gets help from a rat in a very odd way, which you can see from the sample. It’s only $.50, meaning that you can get 6 comics like this for $3. What a deal! A funny book, mostly because that’s one of the better cats I’ve seen in comics. Oh, and Brian was kind enough to inform me that he uses prismacolor pencils for his comics, as inspired by Bill Plympton. Not a bad man to be inspired by, and I have to admit it looks damned good in this issue, it’s just that sometimes (what with the small pages and all) it gets downright messy.
Zeek The Martian Geek Full Color Special Now Available! $5
It’s about time he put out a full color book! Don’t get me wrong, usually I bitch about the cost of doing a mini in full color (to the artist and to the people who have to buy the books), but if there’s anything that screams for full color, it’s Zeek and his wanderings. In this one we finally get to see Mars (and why Zeek never seems to go there), Zeek tries to meet some earth women (then settles for videos of Winona Ryder), and Brian fills in the rest with assorted one page strips. I didn’t notice that the sampled page was one I used for an earlier issue, and I’m also not sure how much of this was already in older issues. It mostly seemed new to me, but I read many hundreds of these things every year and my memory for specifics is lousy. Either way, if you like his stuff, it’s never looked better than this. You can even compare color kitty strip down here to the black and white version above if you don’t believe me. Of course, if you’re new to the Cattapan universe and just want to check him out, chances are you’re better off working your way through some of the cheaper minis before buying something for $5, but I’m not the boss of you. $5
Exiled Here On Earth #2
More illustrations from Brian (see the above review and all sorts of other places around this website for my general views on sketchbooks), but with a twist this time: some actual comics are thrown in.Â The illustrations (it’s really not far to call them sketches) cover characters we’ve already seen in various Cattapan minis doing various things: Nurdy doing yoga, Zeek with a lightsaber, Nurdy as an actual girl, the two of them bowling, a vampire/zombie conversation, a zombie bride, and a sad zombie, among other things.Â The comics deal with food regret, absorbing knowledge, bowling, the sad love life of a vampire, and a crazy bat.Â I’ll say one thing for it, it’s a hefty pile of comics.Â I still, in my old fashioned way, prefer regular comics to this sort of thing, but if you’re a fan of Brian’s work there’s plenty to like here.Â If you’re just trying to check out Brian’s work, you might want to check out some of the other minis on this site and work your way up.Â $3
Exiled Here on Earth Now Available! $2
Regular readers of this site know that I don’t much care for sketchbooks in most cases, as I’d rather have an actual story than a collection of drawings, and that general rule holds here. This is a collection of drawings from Zeek the Martian Geek and characters from Vampires Need Love Too, different in the fact that this isn’t a sketchbook, it’s a pretty nice collection of drawings. Too many of the vampire collections look like the main character has been caught by surprise, but other than that these drawings are fine aesthetically, I’m just biased against this sort of thing. It’s a good companion piece if you know you already like Brian’s work and just like to see his art, but if you’re just trying him out for the first time I’d put this far down on the list of things to check out.
Vampires Need Love Too #3 Now Available!Â $3
Do you people still scroll all the way down this page when I mention the updates?Â Brian is going to change the way these pages are set up all by himself if he keeps this up.Â And, seeing as how he’s been sending me these comics for most of the life of the site at this point, I don’t see him slowing down any time soon.Â This comic, like the last two, is comprised of daily strips, so the story kind of comes and goes.Â At times he seems to be focusing on a larger piece, then it stops abruptly and veers off in a different direction.Â There are still a few funny bits and a few groaners (nature of the beast with the pun-oriented strips), but the funny does outweigh the groaners and I like the new zombie roommate.Â Subjects in here include having the Grim Reaper as a friend, moaning about a lack of love life, a stoner/drunk turned into a zombie and his friends being unable to tell the difference (that one was a bit heavy-handed), being in a blues band, what’s really in your coffee, the difficulty of giving death gifts, stalking vs. courting, and being stuck with a vampire stereotype.Â I should also mention (in case I never have on this vast page) that Brian has been getting other artists to do representation of his characters for a while now, and this time around gets Graham Annable and Matt Metzler to do some damned impressive work.Â Check out the pile of free samples on his website if you need convincing, and it’s linked way up at the top of the page.Â $3
Vampires Need Love Too! #2 Now Available! $3
I seemed to be mildly confused in the review for the last issue as to why so many of the pages seemed to end in bad puns, and in retrospect it’s simple enough: these were done as daily online strips, one page each. Naturally that means there has to be some sort of payoff on each page, and this is where my traditional dislike for the four panel strip comes in. Luckily this issue tells a decent enough story on its own. It’s still all about this sad vampire wandering around, trying to find love, and this issue also has said vampire running into a variety of zombies, the bat and lizard from the previous issue, a brief girlfriend resulting from a blind date (more about this momentarily), a new pet, and Death. This brief girlfriend had a few moments where it seemed like pages were missing, I guess because this book doesn’t print all of the online strips, maybe because some of them didn’t make the cut, or maybe they just refer to things that happen off-panel. Comics can be tricky that way. OK, thanks to the wonders of the internets I was able to just go over to Brian’s website and it looks like plenty of the pages in this book aren’t even posted there, so the missing pages will remain a mystery. By now you’ve seen enough of Brian’s work on this page alone to know if you like the guy, if so, you’re sure to love this one too. If you’re undecided, maybe start with a little Zeek or check out the website first, you know the drill. $3
Vampires Need Love Too! #1 Now Available! $2.50
It looks like Brian has graduated from the world of tiny, tiny comics into the world of “regular” sized mini comics. I’m not sure what he’s planning on doing with all those other series, but I think there are at least characters from some of them that’ll pop up here and there in his work. This one is about a lonely, sad vampire, as you can probably tell from the cover, and his quest to find a woman. He runs into a blind, obnoxious bat, a Mexican lizard, and a tiny fairy who offers to help him find a woman, at least until she discovers that he can’t dance. This has a lot less mayhem than the average Cattapan comic, and I’m all for mayhem. Of course, it’s a more quiet, introspective book by nature, so less mayhem might be expected, for now. And I don’t get why so many pages end in a bad pun. Pace yourself, man! You have more than 8 pages to work with now, you can throw as many bad puns in as you like! All in all not his best work, but it’s OK. Future issues will tell the story. Contact info is all over the place, or you could check out an issue through me, if you like…
Certain Confusion #4 Now Available! $2.50
Looks like another one of his books has made the jump to being a full sized mini comic. Wait, does that make any sense? Oh well, I think people know what I mean. The strips are getting a bit smarter, to be perfectly honest. I still don’t like the format for most people, but he manages to make it funny on occasion. Strips in here are about dating, drinking, drunken sex, and art. Oh, and in case I haven’t mentioned this before, Brian hand colors all of the covers. The price has jumped a bit to $2.50, but this is also the best issue of this series yet, so it’s up to you whether you’d like to sample a couple of issues for that price or just pick up the best one. There’s a new website in this one too, although the old one still seems to work…
Certain Confusion #3 Now Available! $1
Just how many series does this guy have going at any given time anyway? Not that I’m bitching, it’s a good thing to show some range. This one is a short collection of the dreaded four panel gag strip. The first one was basically just an ad for a band and there was one on the back inside cover, so that leaves 8 gag strips. Out of those I thought 5 of them were some degree of funny, so I guess that makes this a winner! Topics include working, death, coffee, hate, and comics. If you’ve looked at the rest of this page you already know the drill for his books. If not, it’s $1, contact info is scattered over the page. See if you can find it!
Cay… the Night Huntress #5 Now Available! $!
OK, so THIS is the last issue of the series. Or so it says at the end of it, anyway. It’s the big confrontation between Kay and that mattress guy, and a chance to end the piles of vampire zombies coming after her. There’s a bit of a rant against men in general and Zak in particular, then the series moves on and everything is settled… OR IS IT? I think this might be my favorite of his series, although it’s a close race with the scaredy cat. Still, kudos to Brian for completely winning my over by the end. Everything else will be in larger format, so get yer tiny comics while they last!
Cay… the Night Huntress #4 Now Available! $1
Take a look at that cover compared to the one for #3. No, there’s nothing different about the artistic style, I just got a new scanner today and I’m in awe. Anyway, I was wrong about #3 being the end of the series, obviously, but it’s OK because this one is better than the rest. Collage is still a big theme for whatever reason, as is Kay’s general problem with men. He’s had plenty of practice with this format and he has it down pretty well. OK, forgive me, but I’m too impatient to see what the other sample looks like on the new scanner to ramble on here…
Cay… the Night Huntress #2
It looks like Brian actually has a continuing story going on with this series. Sure, Zeek is the same character, but there’s no clear direction of where it’s going. This one is about Cay, who apparently has to kill all things undead. He goes on about how horrible collage art is (in his trademark “between the panels” rambles) and throws in a few vampires that act suspiciously like zombies, unless of course they’re zombie vampires. Another shorty but I like where this particular series is going, and it’s cheap as the rest of them too. Check it out already, here’s the website again if you don’t feel like scrolling up…
Scat… the Scaredy Cat #5 Now Available! $1
More Scat, and it’s almost like there’s an underlying story going on here. There’s the aliens who wanted Scat to be their ruler, and there’s the exploding rat who just wants to play, which does nothing to soothe Scat’s nerves. It’s still a smallish comic, sure, but #5 is considerably better than #1, and that’s all you can really ask out of a comic artist. Good stuff, it’s $1, and contact info is all over the place, or you could just buy a copy from me, if you were so inclined…
Scat… the Scaredy Cat #4 Now Available! $.50
The tiniest comic in the world continues. I think this series is probably my least favorite of Brian’s, mostly because it’s too small to be anything but a one-gag comic, and you can see that gag coming a mile away. In this one an alien tries to convince Scat that there’s a hole in the wall leading to all the quiet and calm in the galaxy. On the plus side, the art is getting more and more polished every time I see it. The messiness that would come up with the shading just isn’t an issue any more, which leads to the whole package looking a whole lot better. Like I’ve said before, if you’re going to buy his stuff, it’s better to send him a few bucks so you can at least have a few comics to flip through. No sense in the world to buy one book and then have it read in 15 seconds. Contact info is all over the place here, you know what to do… ($.50)
Zeek the Martian Geek #8 Now Available!Â $3
I’ve probably mentioned it before, but this page is officially getting out of hand.Â Maybe I should break his comics down into separate pages for each title or something, except for the fact that he seems to be devoting all his energies to Zeek these days.Â As for the comic, I mostly liked this one, as I do enjoy it when he puts out the longer stories.Â About half of this book is one big story, and it’s all about Zeek and Nurdy falling into a place in space called The Zone and yes, it is an homage to Twilight Zone, as there are things floating through space and Nurdy breaks her (brand new) glasses upon landing.Â There is also a cat in a spacesuit who shows up to get revenge on Zeek for all the cats he’s eaten over the years, and then the story degenerates into a series of pop culture references that eventually ends in an explosion.Â Sorry, did I give away the ending?Â Well, in this case I didn’t mention it it wouldn’t have made any sense when I praised how the eyeballs of the creature who exploded managed to stay in the exact same place when its head exploded.Â The rest of the comic is mostly a bunch of one page strips, dealing with computer humor, matrix-frisbee, getting away from civilization, extreme bowling, learning from a child, and trying to find their way through the wilderness.Â Good stuff, although I’m sure everybody on this website knows by now whether or not this is for them.Â If it is there’s also a brand new collection of the first 7 issues available, so you should probably keep that in mind… $3
Zeek The Martian Geek #7 Now Available! $3
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Cattapan comic, so I was starting to wonder. It looks like he was just putting a lot of energy into making a really fun comic, so all is forgiven here. This issue is basically about Zeek and Nurdy trying to learn more about humans, with Nurdy being transformed into a girl so she can read books (not sure why either) and Zeek just going to Earth as his usual self. Occasional hilarity does ensue. There are also plenty of one page strips to break up the action, keeping everything moving right along. Frankly, I think Brian has come a long way. Even with some of the earlier works when everything wasn’t quite coming together you could see his heart was in the right place, and now it’s all clicking. The comedic timing, the art (in hindsight I’m glad he stuck with the charcoal style), he does good work. Granted, if you’re looking for the most intellectually complex book in the world you’re going to go away disappointed, but if you’re just for a fun comic you could do a whole lot worse.
Zeek the Martian Geek #6 Now Available! $2.50
Look, a big comic! Well, it’s still mini size, but that’s still bigger than the usual Cattapan offering. He says he’s going to be making all his books bigger, just so the word is out there and everything. This one is all about Zeek and his new girlfriend, who just happens to be a flower who loves to dance. Wackiness ensues, and the flower’s um, family maybe, decide that she’s not allowed to dance. Zeek has to come to the rescue, but can he find her and let her dance again? Well, probably, but you’ll never know for sure until you read it. The art looks MUCH better with the bigger pages. Not that it was bad before, but the extra size really lets everything breathe. It’s $2.50, contact info is all over the place, and there are quite a few of his books available here now, if you’re curious…