Long time readers of this site will know that every now and then a mini kus book will leave me with not much of anything to say. It’s not that I hated it or loved it, it will just leave me baffled. I’ll still try to cast around for something meaningful to say, some insight, but in these occasions I’ll usually end up beaten. It’s been awhile, but Open Molar, come on down! Ya done beat me. Here, I’ll paste the description on the back of the book, maybe that’ll help: “A list of instructions for this afternoon. Learn to create a drop-shape for slow relief. This solution is only intended for gapped interiors. Do not skip the first step.” There you go! You now know as much as I do. I should point out that the text is so faint that it apparently didn’t come through in the scan, but on the sampled page it says “Set it as you would your watch. Warmth can lead to excessive foam.” Does that help you? Perhaps there are clues to be had in the title. As a good chunk of this deals with teeth, this feels like the right track! Alas, I still can’t make it form a coherent whole. To be clear, this would drive a lot of people crazy, but I love it. Baffle me, mini kus! Leave me books to have around just so I can show them to friends and try to get them to make sense out of them. As to you, reader, who is just trying to read some good comics with maybe a suggestion or two from this end, should you give this a shot? There are at least a dozen mini kus books I enjoyed more, so I’d check back through those reviews and start there. But for anybody who loves a challenge, I present to you… Open Molar! $7
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 Claytan 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.
Windy Corner Magazine #3 edited by Austin English Now available! $10
It’s good to be reminded onÂ a regular basis of just how wrong I can be.Â I’ve been bitching lately about the lack of readable contents pages for anthologies and how I just want to know who did which strip.Â This issue starts with a remarkable series of images by Lille Carre and goes seamlessly into a table of contents drawn by Molly Colleen O’Connell.Â There are no page numbers, the actual information is strewn about the page… and I went away from the pages knowing exactly who did what and where.Â Kudos.Â Granted, once you get past those first few pages there are fewer contributors this time around to keep track of, but it’s nice work all the same.Â Austin gets most of the, um, page time in this issue, as well he should.Â First up is part 3 of the Francis story (and I am going to go back and review the first issue soon), which deals this time only with Francis’ mother and her life.Â After this Austin has a couple of short pieces dealing with Austin’s formative years drawing and a trip to the museum between a father and his daughter (mostly dealing with their relationship).Â Sakura Maku is up next with a series of vibrant pieces about a brassiere museum, dying and being turned into a tree and a guy who was briefly married to Janet Jackson.Â In other words, you’ll need to read it for yourself.Â Jason T. Miles then draws a letter to the magazine from Jesse McManus, which is mildly odd because Jesse could certainly draw it himself, but Jason has a unique way of interpreting it.Â Finally there are the text pieces, as Austin talks about Garth Williams (an illustrator who influenced him greatly growing up), Frank Santoro has a review of Garage Band by Gipi (reminding me once again that what I do here is a poor substitute for actual, in-depth reviews), and Vanessa Davis interviews Carol Tyler.Â I’d probably pick up #2 before #3 if I just had $10 to spend, but there’s plenty in both of these issues for all comics fans. Unless you just hate Austin English for some reason, but I don’t see how that would be possible.Â $10