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Skelly, Katie – My Pretty Vampire

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My Pretty Vampire

It turns out that the nipples of vampires are invisible when they appear on the cover of a graphic novel. Who knew? They’re still visible on the inside, so relax, pervs. Why start out the review on a cynical note when the book is fantastic? Eh, who knows. Bad mood maybe? It’s just one more data point showing you that the opinion of reviewers is never meant to be fully trusted. Which is odd, as I’ve been reviewing Katie’s comics here for a decade maybe? And I couldn’t be happier that she’s getting books put out by Fantagraphics these days. This is the story of a vampire who’s being kept in a mansion by her creepy (to her) brother. She has all the comforts she could want, except she’s forced to live on ox blood, which is apparently terrible but able to keep vampires alive. After four years of this (and four years of being a vampire) she finally manages to escape, but she’s not used to the rules of being a vampire while being out in the open, not to mention having to worry about money, not getting noticed, etc. Oh, and she obviously needs a safe place to sleep every day when the sun comes up, which is more trouble than you might think. Meanwhile her brother has hired a private detective to bring her back, and she’s not particularly difficult to track with the trail of bodies she’s leaving behind. This isn’t the tale of a cunning ancient vampire who knows how to keep the body count to a minimum, Clover (the vampire lady) is basically feral, and when the need for blood hits her, she just lashes out, with very little regard for who sees or what else is around. It’s a tense story with atmospheric use of sound effects, subtle touches that you might not even notice the first time through (like the detective noticing the blood that one woman trailed into a bar), and a few genuinely horrifying moments. If you’ve been reading the website for long you’ve obviously already heard me sing Katie’s praises before, but if you’re new here or if you just never gave her a shot, here’s your chance. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about this graphic novel, so check it out. $19.99

Skelly, Katie – Nurse Nurse

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Nurse Nurse

Hooray for this being a completed series! Which is probably an odd thing to say, granted, but I saw the first issue for this ages ago and was afraid that it was one of many series that just sort of petered out. Not so! This story is set far into the future (3030, to be exact) at a time when nurses are being sent out to help out with various illnesses that colonists are coming down with while settling different planets. Earth has long since had a population explosion, so they’re forced to take some risks in keeping humanity growing. Why this constant expansion is always assumed to be a good thing is rarely explained in science fiction stories, but don’t mind an old crank like me, as that has nothing at all to do with this story. Anyway, the main nurse is Gemma, and her fellow nurses sabotage her right off the bat when they get to Venus. On Venus she discovers a mysterious gooey substance that comes from butterflies and seems to be causing people to hallucinate/fall in love with each other. She eventually gets reassigned to Mars, but a butterfly sneaks onboard her ship as she leaves, causing all kinds of problems. This was an eight issue series, but apparently the eighth issue was never released, so even if you were awesome enough to keep up with this series you still don’t know how it ends. Other things that I can mention without spoiling anything probably? Space pirates! Clones! Pandaface! Shooting the leg off a guy! Meeting the most popular band in the universe! A malfunctioning ship! There, that should be vague enough for you to not know what I’m talking about. This series is a pile of fun, especially because the small press comics world does damned little in the way of smart science fiction (or any science fiction at all, really). More like this please, and Katie has left herself a little room for more of these stories, so maybe if everybody reading this buys this book that’ll make it an easy call for her. $15

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Skelly, Katie – Worrywart

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Worrywart

Well, apparently “Wednesday Week” is on the back burner at the moment, so to anybody who was looking forward to a regular series from Katie (like me), you’re just going to have to wait on that one. Still, at least she’s still putting out little stand-alone comics like this one. There are three short stories in here, all from her childhood. In the first she agonizes over what to do after she thinks her teacher might have heard Katie call her a bitch, the second is from the first time she managed to get cigarettes from a convenience store, and the third is about the first time she heard about STD’s and overestimated the likelihood of her getting one from kissing. Good stuff again and it never hurts when it’s cheap. $1

Skelly, Katie – Wednesday Week #1

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Wednesday Week #1

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve seen anything from Katie, so it was great to see not only this new issue, but the part in the back of the book where she mentions that there are at least two more issues of this series coming out this year. What’s it about, why should you be so excited? Well, I guess it’s not going to end world hunger anything, but she has an art style that lends itself to being completely adorable at times without going over the top, and that’s a balancing act that’s hard for anybody to pull off. This is about a girl named Lundy, her roomate, her new cat and her daily goings on. Yes, you’ve probably seen something like it before, but isn’t it always good when it’s done well? Lundy is trying to find a normal boy to date (after a slew of freaks) but finds herself drawn to the freaks anyway. And that dream sequence is worth the price of admission by itself, even if I don’t have any idea what it was about (yet). Let’s say this one is $2 and well worth a look, if you like these sorts of things…

Skelly, Katie – Accident

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Accident

What do you know, there are funny three panel strips out there! Sorry, I know there are a few, but it’s always worth noting when another one comes along. There’s some great ridiculous, absurdist humor in here, which is the best kind when it’s done right, and this is done right. It’s hard to describe this stuff, but I’ll give it a shot. In here are strips about rat mind control, giraffe sex, implants, guillotines, naked animals, a floating head, a bath with grandpa, graverobbing, and Sylvia Plath, among other things. If you think this is your kind of thing, well, it is your kind of thing, so stop arguing about it. And it’s only $.50  How can you go wrong with that? Website!

Skelly, Katie (editor) – Synthetic Visions #1

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Synthetic Visions #1 (edited by Katie Skelly)

Yes, it’s an anthology, but it still goes on Katie’s page. Why? Because she’s the one who sent it to me, and you can get copies through her. There are four different fantasy and science fiction stories in here, and have I mentioned how excited I am that that’s the direction Katie seems to be headed? First up is Chompy by Tim Vienckowski, the story of a giant creature from another world who enjoys chomping on everything it sees. Next is Hodo by Drew Gardner, dealing with a man, a car and a hot dog… ok, this one was mostly lost on me. Next is Katie’s story, Hunter, and if I didn’t know any better I’d say that the small flying creatures from Nurse Nurse make an appearance here. Other than that it’s about an underwater woman who hunts for food. Her heart of gold is apparent when she rescues a baby whale after an attack on the mother, and if I’m not mistaken the little guy manages to shed a tear or two underwater. Finally there’s Ultra-Showdown by Taline & Shant Alexander, which is all about a war between Unicorns and Pegasi. Not to throw out any spoilers or anything, but, well… zombie unicorns. There, I said it. It’s a pretty interesting bunch of stories, and if I had one wish in the world it would be to have somebody cranking out fantasy and science fiction anthologies on a regular basis. For anybody out there interested in this sort of thing, Katie is looking for contributors, so click that link on the top of the page to send something her way. $4

Skelly, Katie – Nurse Nurse #1

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Nurse Nurse #1

This comic reads like a wish list of things that I had wanted to see in Katie’s comics without even being consciously aware of that fact. A continuing series? Check, with at least four more issues planned. A science fiction story? Check again, with this one being set in 3030. Katie spending some serious time and effort on backgrounds and imaginative settings? Nailed it again. This issue tells the story of three nurses trying to get a permanent job on a human settlement on Venus, which is the happening place to be at the moment. Only two of them can get the job, so the two friends (Junny and Nina) set up the other nurse (Gemma) to oversleep in her chryogenic stasis, giving off a bad impression right off the bat. This issue only has time to introduce us to the characters and establish Venus a little bit, and things end off with Gemma just getting to meet her first patient. I’m intrigued, I’m excited to see more, I’m thrilled that Katie is putting out so many books these days, and it doesn’t hurt a thing that the stories are all over the place. In case you were wondering where all the good mini comics are these days, you might want to think about looking in this direction… $3

Skelly, Katie – The Legend of Countess Saddenbrau

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The Legend of Countess Saddenbrau

Oh, the troubles of two loners falling in love. This is a cautionary tale of just that situation, as the Countess enjoys her time to herself very much and isn’t interested in love. The same thing is true of the Duke, a man who enjoyed his simple pleasures, but always enjoyed them alone. One day they met, and fell instantly in love. How do two solitary people deal with such a thing? The book looks great, all gothic tones, either done in charcoal (my guess) or crayons and then copied. Well worth a look, especially for the content loners out there who wonder “what if” when it comes to love… $3

Hawkins, Matthew – Unlucky #1

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Unlucky #1 Now Available! $1.50

If you’re anything like me, you probably never imagined that a school principal dressing up in a gorilla suit could ever have anything but a hilarious ending. Well, not so much, at least not according to the second story in this mini of true stories from Matthew, Katie Skelly (for the gorilla story) and Joe Simko. It’s especially horrifying because few artists out there have a more consistently adorable style, and the ending of this one is anything but adorable. There’s also a story about young Matthew trying to relate to his Father as a kid, asking any question in the world in the hopes of sparking a meaningful conversation. Good stuff all around, and this is called a “preview mini” because there are plenty more true stories to come, which sounds like a good thing to me after reading these first two. $1.50