Philly Alternative Comic Con 2010
Well, at least I think Pat was the editor.Â He put the book together, anyway, and that’s basically the same thing.Â Sadly, it’s one of those anthologies without a coherent table of contents (although I did like the look of the one Box Brown put together), so a lot of these stories are going to be reviewed through a bit of guesswork and process of elimination.Â Stories in here include a very colorful mess from Pat, Liz Baillie keeping the tradition of record collecting alive, Hawk Krall with some disgusting but hilarious pranks, Dina Kelberman’s inimitable comics (with a drunken disclaimer tacked onto the bottom), Mike Sgier with a futuristic tale of trying to cap an uncontrollably spewing well, Ian Harker’s love of flying, L. Nichols and going along to get along, and Sally Bloodbath & Matt Wiegle with a piece on the most horrible child alive and her fitting end.Â That leaves a few pieces without a noticeable creator, so in no particular order, the other stories in here dealt with making a friend (literally), trying to make art to please a critic, and two grotesque creatures sharing an apartment and their antics.Â Chris McDonnell probably did the first two pieces and Lance Hansen probably did the last story (which was actually a series of smaller stories), and I say “probably” because that’s where my coin flip landed, and when has that ever been wrong?Â Box Brown did the covers and has a lovely group of people at the end of their lives bemoaning their lack of buying quality comics in their lives, something you should all take to heart.Â As this was from a con I have no idea if it’s still readily available to the world, but as it’s all in color, gorgeous and full of talent, you should hunt it down if at all possible.Â Pat would probably know if it was around, why not check it with him?Â Or I can post a little update here if I hear anything, how about that?Â No price, but $5 sounds nice, if possibly too low.
Ah, the wonders of running this website.Â I read two issues of this series years ago, never picked up another one (because I never SAW another one), then the collection of #6-10 comes in a pile of graphic novels in the mail.Â And yep: it turns out that this ended up being a pretty great series.Â There’s no recap in here of past issues, which is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but I can see why they wouldn’t assume that somebody would pick up the second volume of this without reading the first.Â So what’s this all about?Â You can go back and read my reviews of #3 and #4 to get a basic idea of the series (or at least the series as I understood it after reading a couple of issues), and this one picks up where those left off.Â Joey has woken up from his coma (but he doesn’t remember how he got in that condition) and Kate is “dating” a Catholic who’s so screwed up by her upbringing that she won’t even let Kate touch her.Â She doesn’t believe in sex until marriage, you see, even though it’s still illegal in most states for gay people to get married.Â See the difficulty?Â Other things that happen in this book (asÂ I try to walk that delicate line of telling you enough to get you interested without telling you so much that it’s ruined): Kate takes an internship for the Lavender Alliance (and runs into a reformed bully from her past) and Joey learns more about how he got put into a coma and goes into a bit of a spiral when he gets all the details.Â Tone is the most important thing about this series and it’s absolutely perfect.Â Picture the best high school drama you’ve ever scene and then picture it being more than a little bit smarter than that, and you have My Brain Hurts.Â Oh, and gayer.Â There are also bonus bit at the back of this, in case you were cool enough to get the whole series when it first came out and you don’t think you need the collection, like sketch pages, a script and an abandoned direction.Â And a “where are they now” section, but for all I know that was in the last issue of the comic too.Â So yeah, check it out.Â If you’re worried about the high school angle, only a few pages of this book even take place in a high school, so don’t be so worried about everything.Â I just saw the price, and if I wasn’t recommending this highly enough before, this is a measly $6.Â No excuse in the world not to check it out…
My Brain Hurts #4
Note: this is premiering at SPX this year, which is October 13th and 14th for those of you lucky enough to have a functioning car, free time and enough money to get there. If you don’t, I’ll bet this will be available at that website up there soon enough. This one focuses almost exclusively on Kate, as Joey is still in a coma. This time around she’s getting stalked by one of the guys who beat up Joey and trying to come to terms with being an open lesbian in public, even though all of the other high school kids already make fun of her for it. Great stuff again, unless you’d rather be as far away from the world of high school as possible, which is a legitimate position to be in. The art’s still great, there was some major character development and it ended on quite the cliffhanger, so no complaints here. $3
My Brain Hurts #3
Here’s another great random mini, this time from New York (must be something in the water there). This deals with the stories of Kate, a 16 year old lesbian, and Joey, a 13 year old gay ex-runaway. Sorry if that seems vague, but I don’t know a whole lot after one issue, although the recap of the first two issues was done very well and is something that every serialized comic should have. Anyway, Joey’s formerly abusive Dad is trying to get Joey to clean up his act, and wants him to start by trying to get into a private Catholic school. Kate is trying to get over her brief infatuation with a girl named Verona and is hitting it off with a new girl, Desi. Christ, this sounds like an after school special. That’s not how it comes across as you read it, as the writing is sharp and realistic and she puts some serious work into those backgrounds. It’s still a bit raw, but all she needs to do to fix that is to keep putting these out for a few years and then that stuff tends to fade away. Well worth a look if you can find it, and she seems to hit all the major cons so you should be able to find it out there, or you could always check up that website on the top of the page… $3