For you comics whippersnappers out there, Poopsheet has been an ongoing online comics library for over a decade now, and if you ever want to buy a pile of mini comics, that should be the first place you stop. Rick Bradford (the head honcho over there) has started up a monthly comics service, meaning every month he publishes another comic (or two, like this month) and they’re delivered to your door. There’s a $5 monthly fee, and he’s using the proceeds to continue working on a mammoth online mini comic and fanzine database, which is a damned worthy cause. So now that all the specifics are out of the way, how about the comic itself? It’s a short anthology and the stories deal with misunderstanding Shakespeare (Roger Langridge), taking us all on a psychodelic journey (Caesar Meadows), and a brief saga about assault and card playing. Sort of, anyway. It’s an eclectic mix, and a solid start for this project. For what it’s worth, I’m all for this idea. Paying a monthly fee to help support a giant comics database like that is itself a ridiculously worthy cause, and you get monthly comics out of it to boot! What’s not to like? $5 (monthly, I assume you can buy these individually as well)
A Witch Named Koko #10
Could this be the end of A Witch Named Koko? Yes, actually; Charles is pretty clear about that in the issue itself. And yes, people reading in real time, I jumped around a bit with the reviews. Otherwise reviewing his comics would be a full time job, because the man is ridiculously prolific. So what’s the final issue of this series all about? Well, it’s an all ages book, so the bloody violence is kept to a minimum. As for the story itself, about half of the book is strips and half of it is full page spreads by a bunch of guest artists who were asked to send along their interpretation of the characters. The strips deal with the tooth fairy getting captured, the actual agenda of the tooth fairies, and a love potion (along with, naturally, a hate potion). Jim Siergey does his own Koko strip, so he deserves a special mention here. As always it’s a pretty funny bunch of comics, and now the series is done if you’re one of those weirdos who waits until something is finished to start reading/watching it. $1
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.
Time Warp Comix #6 Now Available! $.50
Dan has been cranking out the comics these days (“these days” being a little late on my end, as I lost track of this stack of his comics for an embarrassing amount of time after I moved last year). Sure, he’s the editor, so it’s not like he’s drawing every strip, but he still contributes regularly and I’ve heard enough horror stories about trying to get pages out of small press comics people for anthologies to still respect him plenty for his editor job. This is another solid pile of stories, from the same crew that usually contributes to these things. There’s Richard Krauss and his hilarious send-up of the daily diary strips that are all over the place, Andy Nukes with a bit of abstract art, John Howard telling us what he’s learned since his early days as an artist, D. Miller with a tale of thievery by the Campbells Soup people, and Jim Siergey with a few random thoughts that I can’t describe without ruining for you. And hey, it’s always a good sign when I laugh at the cover (by Dan, just in case that wasn’t clear). As always it’s worth a look, especially for that measly $.50 asking price.
Time Warp Comix #8 Now Available!Â $.50
This comic immediately passed one important test for me, and probably only for me: it was tough to pick out only one sample to use, and for an 8 page book that ain’t bad.Â It’s a quick blast of a comic with nothing lasting more than a page, with the usual cast of characters.Â Artists, that is.Â There’s Richard Krauss with the sampled strip below (I just love that constantly widening perspective), Jim Siergey with the legally required strip with the bad puns, Bob Vojtko (how do you pronounce that name anyway?Â I’ll bet he’s long since tired of answering that question) has the dark side of the nursing home, and Bill Shut closes the book with a bizarrely wonderful drawing.Â Dan Taylor gets 4 pages, as he is the one who puts all this together, dealing with buying a comic he used to read as a kid and marveling at the technical changes, the realities of putting out a physical comic versus counting hits on a website, and another age joke at his expense.Â Â It’s another solid, tiny, cheap collection of strips, so why won’t you buy it already?Â $.50
So I take it that title means that there was a previous issue I missed?Â Oh well.Â This is one of those comics that is impossible to properly review, as it consists of 7 one panel funnies.Â That cover is brilliant.Â If you agree with that statement you’ll probably like the rest of the book, if not this might miss your particular sense of humor.Â So now what?Â I can either describe the remaining 6 panels in detail (actually 5 panels, as one is the sample below), draining them of their power of funny, or just mention that his website is listed above has various sample of various things (including some oddities I haven’t seen before, namely ways to assemble your own gags) and leave it at that.Â As usual, I’ll try to split the difference.Â I found four of the remaining five gag panels some degree of funny, although one of them a groan-inducing way, if that makes any sense to you.Â Eh, just read the samples and make up your own mind.Â As I’ve already given my opinion, that works, right?Â $1
Scary Stories From The Bible
As somebody who was raised more than a little bit on the religious side (and who has renounced the whole silly mess, at least until an inevitable deathbed conversion to whatever my panicked. dying brain thinks will “save” me), it’s always interesting to see tidbits from the bible that I haven’t read. How they manage to pack so much information onto essentially 6 pages of story just impresses the hell out of me, I have to admit. First there’s various examples of responses from historical figures to the bible, then wonderful Jesus quotes to answer some of the religious nuts’ platitudes, followed by biblical typos over the years, then a quick introduction to Ralph Reed (and anybody who follows politics knows who this asshole is), and a couple of other pages that I won’t ruin, except to say that it’ll make you think twice about masturbation. Great stuff in a cheap $1 package, who could ask for more? I was also thrilled to see that they have a ton of stuff on the Poopsheet page, even if I can’t seem to find a proper website for either of them…
Time Warp Comix #5 Now Available! $.75
This is easily the best “you damned kids, get off my lawn!” comic I’ve ever read, and it manages that feat while being a tiny thing.Â The tone is set right away with the cover, then there’s a one page story by George Erling (which doesn’t have anything to do with the theme I mentioned but is still a fun shortie), then there’s the gem of the book.Â Jim Siergey details the origins of mini comics, including things I’d never heard of, and I like to think I’ve at least kept up with this sort of thing.Â After two solid pages of learning, Jim goes off the rails with a delightful rant about how young cartoonists reading this aren’t going to learn anything anyway as “history to this generation is what happened 10 minutes ago”.Â Brilliant, and sadly true.Â Bob Vojtko has a one page story up next about how conventions have changed in the last 30 years, and the book is rounded off by David Miller and his 8 tracks.Â Not a single thing to complain about here, the whole thing is just good clean fun.
Time Warp Comix #2 Now Available! $.75
I hope nobody out there is trying to read these reviews sequentially.Â Once again, I read them way, way out of order, although now that only #3 is left to review I will be reading #2 and 3 in order.Â Whoopee!Â This time around the comic is half one-page pictures, meaning no story of any kind for those bits.Â In order, for the curious, those are an interpretive blot by Bill Shut, something utterly fantastic by M. Roden, a real mystery by… somebody (seriously, is there no space for some sort of tiny table of contents?), and a monkey with Frida Kahlos by Jim Siergey.Â You could take those or leave those (although I particularly enjoyed the Frida Kahlos), but then there’s still the comic story to consider, and it’s fantastic.Â It’s a three page tale by D. Miller about a burned-out artist trying to come up with fresh gags for a magazine about tits, dicks and balls.Â Comic versions of tits, dicks and balls anyway, and this artist is at the end of his rope in terms of being able to come up with anything else remotely funny.Â It’s a great piece and makes the whole comic damned near unmissable.Â Check it out, or go nuts and just get a pile of these cheap things.
Midnight Fiction 2008 Desk Calendar Now Available! $6
The contributors: Sean Azzopardi, Scott Ball, Hunt Emerson, Brad W. Foster, Allen Freeman, Richard Krauss, DC McNamara, John Porcellino, Bill Shut, Jim Siergey, Dan W. Taylor, Bob Vojtko, and Steve Willis. In case you’re wondering how this thing work, it’s beautiful in its simplicity. These are individual pages inside of a CD case, so all you have to do is flip the CD lid over backwards and you have an easy stand for your desk calendar. So instead of Dilbert or some other crap in your office cubicle, you can show the world how cool you really are with a calendar full of small press art. It starts with November of this year (2007), so you get a couple of bonus months with your calendar.
Slam Bang #1 Volume 3 Now Available! $9.95
Somehow this massive book has been available in the store here for almost a year and I’ve somehow missed talking about it. I blame the elections and the loss of my appendix last year; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Want some details? As the cover says, there are over 50 contributors, this massive thing is over 200 pages, the cover art is gorgeous (even though the girl on the cover doesn’t actually appear in any of the stories) and keeping something this packed to under $10 is an impressive achievement. As for contributors, there are way too many to list them all, so I’ll just stick with the ones who have pages up here at the old Sloth for reference: Dan Taylor, Brad Foster, Tim Corrigan, John Lustig, Stan Yan, Dean LeCrone, Matt Levin, and Jim Siergey. That leaves all sorts of new cartoonists for you to discover in here, doesn’t it? As a whole, well, it’s an anthology, so some parts are stronger than others, but there’s more than enough in here to make it worth your while. Highlights include Ethan Wenberg and Stan Yan’s tale of the poo-flinging reporter (which makes this the most political book I’ve seen all year, sadly enough), the brief Kevin Hanna puppet theater story explaining to kids how the fast food is made, Ron LeBrasseur’s vampire love story, Dean LeCrone’s tale of an old lady trapped in a hot car by her dog, Tyler Sticka’s fly fight over some poo, Dan Taylor’s story about a successful weight loss clinic, Dan Lauer’s Iron Chef Funnies, Anton Bogaty’s tale of a space crew trying to defeat an unstoppable alien, and John Lustig’s always amusing Last Kiss comics, which are scattered throughout. The heart of the book though (figuratively and literally) is the Tim Corrigan Mighty Guy piece about the slave driver that is Allen Freeman and the methods he uses to keep all his cartoonists happy. Mighty Guy has been around for decades (although if I remember correctly it was always self-published) and I’ve always thought it was vastly underrated. What fan of cartoons ever wouldn’t appreciate Mighty Guy being shoved into a tin can (when trying to take over “Marvelous” comics) by the “Bulk”? All told, this is a pretty solid bunch of comics. A few stinkers, naturally, but more than enough good stuff in here to make up for it. $9.95
Slam Bang Volume 2 #6
Kudos to Christina Wald for that cover, there’s plenty to unpack before you even open the book.Â In case you can’t read the fine print (which is a shame, as there are jokes all over the cover) this is the advertising issue, basically an excuse for the people involved to take the “random fake ads” gag and have some real fun with it.Â Edward Pun (which can’t possibly be his real name) shows a bad day that ends in a clever ad for a massage chair, Brad Foster has a “rehabilitated” quack doctor, Ryan Estrada shows off the civic conscience of the actual Big Boy, Roger Langridge has the inspired idea of selling “mother in a jar” (just in case you’re too independent), Dean LeCrone & Allen Freeman have a time machine for sale, Tyler Sticka plays with celebrities in his bit (and hopes to get sued to “land a major distribution deal”), John Lustig again steals the show with his bit about the biological clock and where to place the blame after a bad break-up, and Jim Siergey has some games for children to help them find their place in life (as automatons).Â That’s leaving out plenty of stuff, as this thing is packed with ads that are only 1/2 or 1/3 of a page long by all sorts of folks.Â Big laughs, big issue, all kinds of stuff to pick through, what more do you want?Â $4