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Trubble Club – Trubble Club #1

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Trubble Club #1

You know, there really are times when it’s pointless to review a comic.  It sounds like a cop out, I know, but Trubble Club is a jam comic involving about a dozen cartoonists in Chicago.  They meet every Sunday, put together some jam strips, and (I’m guessing here, as the actual information about this process on the website was sparse) put out a new book whenever they put enough material together.  Who are these people?  Really, this should be all it takes to convince you to check this out: Al Burian, Lille Carre, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Lucy Knisley, Rachel Niffennegger, Bernie McGovern, Onsmith, Laura Park, Grant Reynolds, Becca Taylor, Jeremy Tinder and Marco Torres.  If you’re new to this site and these names aren’t familiar to you, plug just about any of them into that search option up there (the full list of artists will be restored one of these days, I swear) and spend some time checking out some quality work.  Future volumes, judging from the website, will have other people, and visiting cartoonists will probably get in on the act as well.  Honestly, I’m confused as hell about the process here.  Every single page is its own story, and it seems most of the time like the next page starts with an idea from the previous page before veering off in its own direction… except for the times when it seems completely new.  And I thought for a while that it was one artist per page, but upon closer inspection maybe others are jumping in on different panels.  All I know for sure is that this much talent thrown together in a room can’t go wrong, and I hope they keep it up for… let’s see, they’re probably all in their late 20’s or early 30’s… how about another 50 years or so?  OK, fine I’ll mention a few of the topics, just to prove how pointless it is to analyze such a thing.  An unhygienic stump, Sackley, a doomed giant hot dog, “footsie”, mancakes, and we gotta cook this hog.  This is $3 and worth every penny.

Zwirek, Jeff (editor) – Pinstriped Bloodbath

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Website for Pinstriped Bloodbath

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Pinstriped Bloodbath (edited by Jeff)

What a great idea for an anthology.  Take various artists, let them use gangsters from Chicago in the 20’s-30’s (or some modern day take on it) and put the whole thing together.  That suit on the cover folds out as you open the comic, and that little flower in the lapel is apparently different for the different stores stocking it.  So fine, the packaging is gorgeous, what about the comic?  There’s a fine collection of talent assembled, and they all have their unique takes on the stories.  Bernie McGovern has a heartbreaking and gory take on the last moments of Baby Face Nelson, Neil Brideau has a quiet conversation between gangsters as one of them tries to crack a safe, Nate Beaty has a silent take on the constant violence and the practice of soaking of blood from the murder scenes as a macabre souvenir, Rickey Gonzalez shows the last moments of Dillinger (or is it?), Neil Fitzpatrick proves that he can’t draw regular human eyeballs and tells the tale of the gangster killed by a horse (and the gangster’s revenge on said horse), Sam Sharpe retells a conversation he had with his at least mildly demented mother about keeping his “gangster” name, Jeff Zwirek has what appears to be a soundly researched piece about the Thompson submachine gun, and Jeremy Tinder closes with instructions on how to make bathtub gin.  Throw in a couple of illustrations by Ivan Brunetti and Joshua Cotter and voila!  You have one ridiculously entertaining anthology.  You could practically make a series out of all the gangster stories from that time period, but Jeff probably already rounded up most of the high points.  If you’re at all a fan of this sort of thing it’s essential that you pick this up.  If you’re at all squeamish, however, things do get a little bloody, because how else could you tell these stories?  No price, let’s spin the mystery price wheel… $6!

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Griffin, Erin & Warhaftig, Sarah Louise (editors) – Always Comix #4

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Always Comix #4 edited by Erin Griffin & Sarah Louise Warhaftig

Once of these days I’ll settle on a universal standard for reviewing anthologies.  Is it best just to list the talent involved  and leave everything else a mystery?  Or is it best to go through every story and one page image one by one, leaving nothing for a future reader to discover? How about splitting the difference.  Here’s a list of the people involved, outside of the editors because duh: Falynn Koch, Jeremy Tinder, Will Kirkby, Josh Blair, Colin Tedford, Matt Wiegle, Alvaro Lopez, Colleen Macisaac, Amanda Kirk, L. Nichols, Ed Moorman, Box Brown, Alisa Harris, Josh P.M., and Joe Decie.  As this is the Activity issue, there’s plenty in here to do, for the active comics reader.  There’s recipes, a maze, even a mad lib.  Specifically I enjoyed the guide to getting over your cat allergies by Sarah Louise Warhaftig (because any “how to” guide that ends with acheiving Nirvana is hard not to love), the attack of the clouds by Falynn Koch (not so much an activity but still funny), Amanda Kirk’s cut and paste page, Ed Moorman’s guide to inner peace, Joe Decie’s guide to fun with matches, and Box Brown’s “wrestler or tattoo artist” quiz.  There, that still leaves plenty to the imagination, right?  It’s a fun anthology even without all the practical tips and with them, well, what more could you ask for?  $4

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Tinder, Jeremy – Black Ghost Apple Factory

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Black Ghost Apple Factory

If there’s one downside to doing this website, it’s that it makes me a bit too passive in finding comics for myself.  Generally speaking (or at least before I started doing reviews every single day), I’m lucky to just keep up with all the stuff I get through the mail and at cons, so I don’t go out and find work from people I’ve been hearing about through the years.  Jeremy is one of those people who slipped through the cracks for ages, and it’s a damned shame, as this book (collecting his minis from 2004-2006) is brilliant.  This is a collection of short pieces, and there isn’t a weak one in the bunch.  It starts with the title story, a hopeful love story as well as an instructional tale about how apples are made.  Following this is a story about an asshole robot (that’s just how he was programmed) and the heart of the book: It’s Spring, And Jeremy Tinder Is Secretly In Love With You.  Everybody who has ever had a crush or who loves everybody a bit too much can relate, as Jeremy honestly lays out his feelings for one woman in particular (even though he freely admits to having feelings for several), describes how it’s really not a creepy thing that he thinks about her all the time, lists her options and begs her to be gentle with his heart and just be honest.  Honestly, the whole book could have ended there and I would be floating on air, but wait, there’s more!  Jeremy (who, from the way he draws himself, apparently looks like Gilligan) wakes a bear up from his hibernation, attempts to introduce it into the ways of society, and meets a gruesome end. Um, spoiler alert!  Then there’s a shortie about a rabbit who seems to have a remarkably fulfilling life, but wishes only for sleep so he can dream about crying.  Next there’s the story of a kitty who gets a brutal education in the meaning of the term “getting fixed”.  Finally there’s the seemingly heartwarming tale of an elephant and a girl having a picnic and spending the night together outdoors.  Like I said, this is brilliant all the way through, and now I’m going to have to go back and get whatever I missed from this guy.  $5

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