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Payne, Jason – Grampa




Anybody who has been reading this website for more than a few days know that I abhor
spoilers, as all decent people should. But this time I’ll around I’m going to make
it clear that I’m going to be spoiling the ending for this book, mostly because I
just don’t get it. And if I do get it, I don’t care for it. This always leaves the
option that it’s over my head, which is always a possibility, but I wanted you to be
warned. So! This comic is all about a trip with two kids to see their Grampa. They
don’t care for the man, as he stinks, is mean and is kind of racist, but of course
their concerns are shouted down by their parents. Well, mostly the mother and a
nearly invisible father. Anyway, from that setup I was expecting them to either be
proven right or wrong once they reached their Grampa, but we skip over all that
stuff entirely. Instead the first look we get at Grampa involves him telling the
kids not to go into a house near his because it’s haunted. As a warning like this to
children is pretty much an incentive to go into said house, they wander away from
him and into the haunted house. He secretly follows them, notices their reaction (or
lack thereof) and bursts through the window to… really scare them? This is where
it lost me. They’re both all in white, so maybe Grampa cut an artery going into the
window and is now scaring them as a ghost? No, the kids are all white too. So why
would their Grampa busting through a window do anything to convince them that the
house is haunted? Agh, I don’t care for doing nothing but crapping on a comic, so I
should point out that I did enjoy the full color aspect of it and thought it mostly
looked terrific. That joke on the final page about how to be a grampa got a chuckle
out of me. And maybe this book is for little kids and I’m over-thinking it, but
narratively I don’t understand why the problems that the kids have with their Grampa
would be set up so meticulously only to never come to anything. It’s almost like
this comic started as the first half, got set aside for a few years and then started
again, by which Jason forgot or ignored the stuff he was setting up in the first
half. He sent along another book that’s an anthology of stories, and I’m looking
forward to it, but despite the bits that I liked I can’t really recommend this one.


Payne, Jason – Tall Tales for Short Kittens #2



Tall Tales for Short Kittens #2

I’m still not entirely sure how he did it, but I feel unclean after reading this. Not that there’s anything overtly gruesome or offensive about this, which is why I’m not sure how this happened. Maybe it’s the horrifying appearance of Chastity and Grace, the two sisters of evil? Chastity is basically a living beanbag with the hair of a pinhead and a gigantic bow while Grace is a… monster? Sure, let’s go with that. Anyway, this issue is another collection of thoroughly bizarre stories, although this time around some of them are going to be continued later on. Assuming that there’s a third issue, and hey, why not? Stories include the one with the three creepy sisters I mentioned before (“to be continued,” although I have no idea where it’s heading), the drunk wolf and the prank, a life lesson for a young bear (?), the nightmarish image of a female Jelli Bunni using the lower half of a human woman to rocket into space, and one page that I can’t help but use as the sample. There’s also another activity page, as Jason’s quest to warp young minds with a seemingly innocent title and promises of “fun pages” continues. This is pretty much the perfect blend of creepy and funny, although I am legally obligated to be annoyed at the (very few) spelling errors because hey, so easy to fix. Check it out! $3.50


Payne, Jason – Tall Tales for Short Kittens #1

Website (for the publisher)

Tall Tales for Short Kittens #1

Hey, wait a minute! There’s nothing resembling a kitten in this comic! Which is probably for the best, because if Jason took his title literally then this comic would probably be insufferably adorable instead of breathtakingly strange. In the best possible way, of course. The first story is the longest (clocking in at six pages), and it definitely sets the tone for things to come. See, there’s this blob thing (who is wearing a very fetching fez hat) who crashes his boat ashore. The blob really doesn’t seem to mind, but a young girl watched the crash and finds this lack of concern worrying in its own right, so she goes off to tell her father. Meanwhile, the blob has found a rat to be his companion at a local tavern, and everybody comes crashing together at the pier of the original crash. My general policy against spoilers prevents me from telling you exactly how the ending perfectly tied this tale together, so too bad for you. Other stories include heartbreak, Dyna and her diamond ring, an odd bird/blob creature staredown, jazz players and their stereotypical lifestyles, and Lil’ Red Hoodie turning the tables on the wolf. There’s also an activity page with a 3D maze, some jokes and instructions to color the entire book if you’re bored. This comic is a bit uneven at times, but taken as a whole it’s a compelling collection of work. Is it bad if I get serious enjoyment out of the fact that that cover, somewhere in the world, led a confused parent to buy this for their kid? Probably so, but I can’t help it. Anything that helps indoctrinate kids into enjoying smart, quality comics is OK by me. $3