The kids are building a comics army. Don’t panic though, that’s a good thing. I have to admit, I haven’t thought a whole lot about what happens to all these people taking classes at places like the Center for Cartoon Studies after they graduate, but luckily for the rest of us it looks like they have it all figured out. That website listed above has about a dozen whippersnappers, freshly graduated and ready to make some comics, with plenty available from just about everybody listed. This is the first of 4 anthologies, done mostly to defray the cost of going to conventions, and it’s great to confirm that yes, it sure looks like this medium does have a promising future. First up is probably the highlight of the anthology, Mermaid Monster Blues by Caitlin Plovnick, a disturbing yet highly plausible retelling of the mermaid fable by Hans Christian Anderson. Next is Bluejay the Imitator by Colleen Frakes, based on a native story of the bluejay trying to find his place in the world. Next, well, I take it back: Monkey Bars by Mario Van Buren has to be the highlight, as it goes into detail about why it’s a bad idea to distract kids climbing on the monkey bars. Finally there’s Burn by Emily Wieja, the silent tale of a pyromaniac. While there will probably always be people just randomly putting out mini comics, it looks like in the future there will also be a substantial pile of people who are professionally trained putting out mini comics. Over the long run this should have the effect of raising the bar for everybody else, and three cheers for that. $6
Huzzah for another anthology from the I Know Joe Kimpel crew!Â Crap, did I give away my reaction already?Â Oh well.Â This is, as the title suggests, the depiction of 4 trivial events, often wrapped in far more dramatic events.Â Well, five, as Sean Ford has two short pieces.Â First up is a piece by Alexis Frederick-Frost about the second expedition to the South Pole (and no, I have no idea if this is fictional or not).Â He narrows in on an ongoing discussion among the group members about various dishes they’re inventing, continuing their arguments even while facing death.Â Next up is a creepy piece by Alex Kim which deals with the lead character relating his dream of his hands becoming giant sized and essentially going on a rampage.Â The piece by A.L. Arnold is my runaway favorite of the anthology, as it depicts a wordless struggle (unless you count grunts as words) between the last remaining protector of the earth and a particularly stubborn meteorite.Â The utterly thankless nature of the job, the grim resignation of the protector and that tremendous ending all make this a wonderful thing, and makes me wonder why I haven’t seen more from this guy.Â Or girl, as A.L. could be anything.Â Finally there’s the two pieces by Sean Ford, who everybody around here already knows as the man behind the series that is taking the small press world by storm, Only Skin.Â These pieces don’t reveal any of the mysteries of that series, as they’re just conversations between the ghost and Clay, as the ghost tries to get Clay to poison a girl (due to his own hatred of the world) and reminisces about times he’s never had drinking in a cemetery.Â This is another solid anthology, and I’m still mildly surprised when anthologies don’t have at least one weak piece in the collection.Â So it’s great and they managed to keep it at an affordable (for the impressive packaging anyway) $5.Â Hard to ask for much more than that.