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Weissman, Steven – Butter and Blood



Butter and Blood

Full disclosure time: there are comics where I feel like I have no business talking about them. Mostly from people like Eddie Campbell, Dan Clowes, Chester Brown, or the Hernandez Brothers, people who influenced my comic tastes so completely that it feels silly to even pretend that I have anything of value to add to the conversation. Then again, if I start thinking of reviewing comics in those terms I’m doomed, so it’s best to ignore that impulse. Still, Steve Weissman is not far removed from that list, with his L’il Tykes books being read to pieces (literally, in one case) by me and various friends back in the 90’s when they came out. I’d kept track of his work in fits and starts, but Butter and Blood has made finding out what happened in those missing years an instant priority. This is a collection of short stories and also a bit of a sketchbook, but the single page images here are past the level you find in lots of sketchbook comics, so maybe it would make more sense to call them “uncategorized.” Sounds gross, but also more accurate than sketchbook. Anyway, his style has changed over the years, but there’s still lots of little things tying him to his roots. Lots fewer little kids running around and more adults (and assorted odd creatures), but there are still some kids, mostly in his “trading card” pages. I could do the whole review on those pages alone, but it’s best for you if they stay a mystery, so I’ll just say that they’re single pages with nine images of cats in clothing, or babies, or a cat and a rat becoming friends, or a baseball team made up of snacks found at a ballpark, and I already feel like I’ve given too much of the mystery away. Stories in here are all over the place, but some subjects include a haunting lightning storm/frightened horse beatdown, a recurring gag of Slash and some other members of Guns and Roses working at a diner, the rabbits from Watership Down all grown up and wearing clothes, the embarrassing origin story of Eagle Man and Hatboy, and a literal condiment fight. If you’ve read any of Steven’s other comics over the years, you are in for a real treat here. If you’ve somehow made it this far into your life without ever hearing of the man, maybe start with Champs first or one of his more linear comics/collections, but really this would be a fine introduction to his work too. $13