This is one of those times when the synopsis on the back cover was a lifesaver, as it revealed a key fact that I somehow missed. Was it obvious in hindsight, or even regular sight? You bet! I missed it anyway. This is a silent tale from an old favorite; Hironori is on this website in a couple of anthologies, but a clear sign of my opinion of him at the time is that I used his stories for sample images for each comic. Anyway, this is the story of a young boy who sets out to visit the house down the street. He is joined by the kid (?) on the cover, they stick around for coffee and doughnuts, and finally agree to bring a book to another house up the hill. This particular house gave me Jim Woodring flashbacks, and I only mean that in the best possible way. The intended recipient is sick (or possibly just sleeping? These are the ambiguities that come from a silent comic), but they manage to deliver the book, and I should probably stop describing the story now, because there’s not much of it left. His art style is adorable while still being vaguely unsettling, which is not an easy line to walk. Yep, the conclusion is inescapable: it’s another winner from the fine folks at mini kus. They should really put out a stinker just to keep me on my toes… $6
Is the world ready for an anthology based on allotment gardening?Â Well, considering the fact that the world doesn’t seem to be ready for small press comics in general and it seems like a bit of a moot point, doesn’t it?Â Still, those of you reading this are probably inclined to give it a try, so don’t run away based on what seems like boring subject matter. The great thing about these anthologies is the wide range of colors, styles and cultural backgrounds, so at the very least you’re bound to find at least parts of this book gorgeous.Â That being said, honestly, to me the subject matter was often a little dull.Â Granted, this is a wildly creative group of people who took the subject into unexpected areas, but chunks of it didn’t do a lot for me.Â Highlights include Ruta Briede’s painted piece about a growing garden gnome, Sabine Moore’s hungry carrot, Malin Biller’s heartbreaking tale of family life contrasted with the happiness of vacations, Yoshi’s Garden Gnome Liberation Front, Irkus Zeberio and Hitler’s doubles, James Turek with some useful advice for long-distance murdering, and Lai Tat Tat Wing’s cautionary tale of the future. The highlight of the comic was again the manga portion by Hironori Kikucki, as he drifted off while contemplating the subject matter and came up with something completely different and fantastic.Â I’m guessing the translating errors are unintentional, but they add an extra layer of funny to the whole thing.Â According to his bio he mostly does stories for teenagers, but he should really consider branching out into the small press world where he can get creative.Â All told it’s far from an awful anthology, but I wouldn’t list it as one of the greats either.Â If you’re looking to explore the international world of comics this is a great place to get a number of names and contact information, if you’re already a regular reader of this series this is the one I’ve seen so far that you could maybe get away with skipping.Â Then again, it’s only $8 for 111 colorful pages, so it’s up to you.
Baltic Comics Magazine #5 – After Snowfall
Enough of all those stupid Various pages on this site.Â From now on everybody gets their own page!Â This is a collection of stories from 18 different artists (about half from Latvia, the rest from Germany, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Finland, Spain, and Lithuania), all dealing with stories set, obviously, after snowfall.Â These stories go all over the place, as stories from every good anthology should do, with all sorts of artistic styles.Â There’s Kolbeinn Karlsson telling the story of Dracula’s last days on earth (and how he bit a woman just so he wouldn’t be alone when he died), Ruta Briede with a silent piece about a lonely man in a snowglobe, Ines Christine Geisser showing the tragic consequences of stealing giant blocks of ice from a frozen lake, Hironori Kikuchi (the sampled piece) with a deceptively adorable story about stuffed animals and a human noticing that pieces of their story haven’t had the snow filled in, Yoshi cluing us all in as to how to know which way to dig if you’re trapped in an avalanche, Johan Klungel shows a suicide that didn’t work exactly as intended, Ernests Klavins with a brilliant Lord of the Rings parody where the snow is very useful in tracking the invisible Gollum, and Aisha Franz has a great piece about how an underground child (Americans, think Cabbage Patch Kids) comes up a little too early.Â That’s roughly half of the people involved, anyway, and just about everything in here has something to recommend it.Â About 2/3 of this is in color, and I mean vibrant, strong colors.Â All that and this is still only a measly $6 (U.S., cheaper with places with a functioning economy), while still being the size of a mini comic (although fatter).Â If you’re sick of the same old stuff, this is a perfect place to start expanding your horizons. $6