Quick, I’m looking for a solution to an unsolvable problem. Bear with me, it does relate to this comic. Pam puts out these minis at a fairly rapid pace. They’re usually 8 pages, maybe a bit less if the cover doesn’t bleed over into the actual comic, or if the back cover doesn’t conclude the story. Pam also has a fairly vast collection of characters. Now, my memory could charitably be described as “hot garbage” on recognizing characters (and, more importantly, their relationships to other characters) under those conditions, and because I tend to read her books every 3-6 months. So how can this problem be solved? Obviously Pam can’t put a full list of characters (and how they relate to the other characters) in every comic, as she just doesn’t have enough room. But I know I remember that one character from that one mini, and it’s driving me nuts that I can’t place him. Somebody solve this please! As for the comic itself, it’s delightful. Things start off with a train conductor getting some tea at a coffee shop. I love the fact that the server has four arms; that he can both aimlessly scrub the counter and cross his arms with barely-concealed contempt for all customers, just like a real coffee shop worker! The conductor then sees a giant trophy and goes to congratulate the young man who has won it, but things aren’t as they seem, and once again there isn’t enough comic for me to walk you through the whole thing while still leaving enough for you to enjoy. But it involves science!
The Dream of Iowa
I wonder if Pam has any plans to put all of these minis together into a graphic novel? There’s a consistent cast of characters, even though the mini comics seems to be designed to be enjoyed just fine individually (even if you maybe don’t know some of the characters). For instance, this issue is almost entirely the dream of one of those characters. She wins a raffle for a ride on an airship, gets dressed up in some steampunk clothing, and starts taking in the bizarre sights, from the mammoths anchoring the airship to the familiar faces of some friends in the cockpit to her boyfriend (?) dressed up as a hero and flying up to meet them. Then she wakes up and has a conversation with her roommate, who appears to be a cavewoman giantess of some kind (see, here’s where a character guide would come in handy), and the whole thing manages to stay more of less self-contained. These are always fun little books, even if I can’t escape the idea that the reader could get more out of them if they had a bigger sense of the context. Still, how would she even accomplish that? These minis aren’t big enough for a detailed recap, and her universe is getting bigger all the time. Ah, don’t mind me, just pick a few of these up and enjoy them on their own. $1
Kekionga MiniWorks #34: Mailbox
All these years later, and I’m still torn: do I prefer using just the titles of each of Pam’s mini comics, or is it better to go with the “Kekionga MiniWorks” full title? The latter is definitely more impressive, as any mini comic that gets up to #34 is in a very select company, but I do enjoy the simplicity of her titles. This one features a hard-boiled version of Anubis (called Anpu here, and maybe there’s some history to explain that in a previous issue that I missed) investigating the disappearance of a mailbox. It quickly turns into an examination of society in general, as mailboxes are being removed to force people to use the mailbox outside of post offices, office hours at banks are being reduced to force people to bank online or by using ATMs, etc. If you are thrilled with every modern “convenience” and don’t understand the fuss about such things, it’s probably safe for you to skip this one. If you’re increasingly cranky about this state of affairs, you’ll get some joy out of watching them complain about all this for a bit, culminating in the delivery of an actual letter. As for the basics, Pam’s art is always gorgeous and this is a sweet little story. And who can resist a hard-boiled version of Anubis investigating a missing mailbox? $1