Hey kids, or anybody who has started reading comics in the last few years? Are you interested in the history of mini comics, why they’re such a source of passion for so many people? Well, maybe not in numbers, but in level of interest and dedication in following certain artists? Your answer is this volume. If you have no interest in the history, away with you! This one can be for the old timers. This is a collection of the best of the “Not My Small Diary” anthology, and if you read small press comics in the 90’s and 00’s, you will recognize plenty of these names. In fact, good luck not getting lost in a Google hole or trying to figure out what so many of these people are up to these days. Notable names include (but are not limited to) Jeff Zenick, Dan Zettwoch, Patrick Dean, Raina Telgemeier, Jesse Reklaw, Carrie McNinch, Sam Spina, Roberta Gregory, Kurt Wolfgang… you know what, there are just too damned many names, and they’re all in the tags, so check that part out. If any of those names made you say “hey, I wonder what they’re up to these days” then this book is for you. These are mostly snippets of stories, but they’re all complete by themselves. Sometimes the stories follow a theme, like notable dates or moments in their lives, but really they’re all over the place. If it seems like I’m avoiding getting into specifics, that is entirely the case. If you were around for all these artists when they first started, you’re going to get lost in this instantly. If not, this is an excellent way for you to figure out what the big deal was about these people all along. I guess it’s possible that it’s the nostalgia talking and that people might not connect to these stories now, but screw that. These are tales of human weakness (and occasionally triumph), and those stories are universal and timeless. Most of the original issues of this series are out of print, so this is your best option all around. The book itself is $7.50 if you see Delaine at a convention, but if not $10 should be enough to cover the shipping, and I really can’t recommend this enough. It’s rare for any anthology not to have a weak story or two, but these are all golden.
Graphic Classics: Bram Stoker
Oh, what an awful scan. What’s new, right? Anyway, I’d heard of this series but hadn’t seen it before. It’s a great idea, having some really talented people interpret stories from various literary figures. They also have Jack London, Ambrose Bierce and H.P. Lovecraft (I’d love to see that one), which all begs the obvious question: where’s Edgar Allen Poe? Just curious. Here are the names in this that you might recognize: Jeremi Onsmith, Hunt Emerson, Spain Rodriguez, and Richard Sala. Various stories from Bram Stoker are interpreted here, some as pictures accompanying text and others just as illustrated versions of stories. Certain artists would take chunks of stories too, as a few different people did parts of Dracula (with the Hunt Emerson illustrated “strengths and weaknesses of vampires” being my favorite. Basically if you like the Big Book series from DC or like the work of the author in question, they’ve done a great job with this book. Well worth a look, especially considering that it’s only $9.95 for a fat book. Check out the website, why don’t you?
The Rouge Knuckle Gang
Every time I review one of these sketchbook-type books, I mention that there’s not much to be said about them. Well, it’s still true, but bear with me for a minute, as this isn’t exactly a sketchbook. It’s a gang of absolutely ridiculous characters in poses. I sampled my personal favorite, but there’s plenty of great characters in here. It’s either $1 or $2, which isn’t much for a comic with no story, but maybe you’re more of a visual person, in which case this comic is just about perfect. Contact info is up there!
Arrows Bring Comfort (with John Hankiewicz) Now Available in blue or green cover! $2
I can’t seem to get John Hankiewicz to link up there, so here you go. Jeremi and John both did half of this book, which is an alphabet book, meaning that it goes through the letters and has a picture for each one. Simple enough, right? I had fun trying to figure out who drew what, until I figured out the very, very simple way that they split up their duties. Did I mention that I’m a doofus? Good. Anyway, good stuff. This gives them both a chance to show off a bit with things that they don’t usually get to draw, which is always good. It’s $2, you can order a copy from the website above, and it also has a fancy blue cover, if you’re in that kind of a mood.
Gag-Hag Now Available! $4
This reviewing thing is, at times, the easiest thing in the world. Dan Zettwoch, Ivan Brunetti, John Hankiewicz, Jeremi Onsmith, Chris Cilla, Ted May, David King, Bryce Somerville and Johnny Ryan contributed to this collection of one-panel gag strips. So what you have here is some of the funniest people around and probably the best title for a collection of this type imaginable. What, you’re still reading this? OK, I’ll also mention that I had a really hard time just picking one sample, but I’m trying not to give too much away for free here. It’s $4, as you can see, and it’s available here, as you can see. What’s stopping you? Don’t you like to laugh?
Baka Geta (with Ryoko Oguchi) Now Available! $1
In case you were wondering, that cover is almost exactly the real size of the comic. Oh, and the title means either “Nonsense” or “Stupid Sandals”. Useful information all over the place today! This is a comic about Jeremi’s first trip to Japan with his girlfriend. It’s basically a collection of images and impressions that he got from the trip, with pages dedicated to the many insane cartoon characters and advertising mascots that are all over the place. I should also mention that Ryoko’s drawings are adorable. Adorable, I tell you! No strictly linear story here, but a nice assemblage of impressions from a fascinating place. Contact info is up there, I’m sure he has more samples if you need convincing…
Three cheers for Jeremi getting his own book! Yes, I’m biased, so move along if you’re looking for me to bash this. OK, I will say one thing: put out a comic with a continuing story, not a sketchbook! Still, as far as sketchbooks go, this one is pretty good. Lots of one page gag strips, mostly funny, and I’m always happy just to see the range of characters he can throw together. I should also put up the link to Mike Stiehl’s page here, as most of Jeremi’s other work can be seen in Bomb Time For Bonzo. It sounds like he’s getting to work on another mini, so here’s hoping it’s done in time for the next big convention. Still, this book looks great for a buck. I love the detail he puts into faces. Check out the website or send him an e-mail, why don’t you.