Man Man and Friends #5
Ah, three cheers for comics that never fail to make my day. I’d say that this issue of Man Man is maybe a little behind past issues, but it’s a very tiny difference and an issue of Man Man that’s slightly less than perfect is stillÂ better than most other things going. My main problem was that his spelling and grammar was all over the place, and that’s not generally a concern for his work. Maybe he was making an artistic statement that I missed. Anyway, you people should know the drill for this comic by now, or at least you should if you’ve been smart enough to order some comics from Gareth. Stories in this one include the shitting ghost, a severely misinterpreted party invitation, Man Man being too drunk to have sex and his excuses for it, the wisdom of getting one of those permanent grocery bags in the shops, leg shaving sound effects, Valentine’s day, Man Man proving that he’s cool and Man Man grading himself on how many of his life goals that he set out in 1994 he’s actually accomplished. This issue also has a rare three page story depicting the inevitable marriage of Man Man and Woman Woman that was pretty much perfect. What were my earlier complaints again? Yeah, there are a few misspelled words and at least one “to” instead of a “too,” but that’s not worth discarding the whole comic. If you like his previous stuff then there’s no reason to skip this one, and if you haven’t read his comics yet, you’re in luck! By now there’s quite a backlog of comics that you can enjoy from the man. You should probably get to it. $2 (ish)
Man Man and Friends #4
It’s a testament to Gareth’s skills that he’s able to keep this series fresh and interesting.Â I mean, a stick figure man and his friends, talking about life and relationships, and managing to never get preachy of annoying?Â That’s takes talent.Â Once again I had a hard time picking out just one sample, and once again I laughed out loud more than a few times.Â Stories in here include the shitting ghost getting startled, man man deciding to make woman woman instigate sex for once, a couple of hilarious bits about things his mother said when he was a kid versus what she says about the same things now, trying to meet up outside a mall when they all look exactly the same, ra man “saving” a party with weed, Mr. Shit, unhappy lawnmowers, and one of the pitfalls of speed dating.Â There’s also a page where Gareth draws things that are not stick-related (it turns out he’s quite good at it) and quite possibly the highlight of the strip: the vicious triangle of alcohol, work and women.Â At this point I’ve been talking up this series for years, so at least a few of you have already checked out his work, but for those of you who haven’t: send the man some money and buy some of his comics.Â It’s stuff like this that made me want to do the website in the first place.Â He also sent along a couple of “regular” mini comics, which I’ll be getting to in the coming weeks.Â They can’t possibly be as funny as these minis… right?
Man Man and Friends #3
Nope, I’m officially not even close to being sick of this book. I laughed out loud at something on almost every page in this issue, something I can’t remember doing with a comic in years. Man Man and Woman Woman still make their appearances, but the highlights of this issue go to the “friends”. We get the origin story of the prudish lightswitch, the shitting ghost gets misunderstood, the Mere Trifle’s disillusionment with politics and lack of faith in his sex appeal, Ra Man’s miserable (because it’s drug-free) trip around the world, and the origin story of the uncompromising compass. Single Man Man (not to be confused with Man Man) is a sad and lonely figure, chatting up a woman with a boyfriend and checking out women on escalators. Meanwhile Man Man and Woman Woman have their share of adventures, but I’m on the verge of telling you everything in this issue. It’s either the strongest of the bunch or it’s just been a few months since I’ve seen one of these and the humor is fresh and new again, although I’m almost certain it’s the best one yet. Check out the website and seriously, send the man a pile of money. A few of the jokes get lost in translation (like Man Man’s evolving record collection over the years, filled with groups I’ve never heard of), but overall it’s nonstop funny.
Man Man and Friends #2
Another issue of stick figures and other assorted items. Has it gotten tiresome yet? Well, in my usual wishy-washy fashion, yes and no. There’s still plenty of funny in here, and we get to see a bit more of the “relationship” between Man Man and Woman Woman, an unpredictable paper clip, Ra Man, an unpleasant spoon, a prudish lightswitch, a shitting ghost, and a horny rubber band. The pathetic but happy life of Ra Man was one of the highlights, as was watching Woman Woman figure out why she was still with Man Man. Another few issues of this and the novelty will probably be pretty well gone, but Gareth has other sorts of books to go with these, so no worries there. Still worth a look if you enjoy funny but minimalistic comics, maybe you could get some sort of a deal for #1-3 and go nuts with the stick figures.