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Bertino, Mike – Trigger #2


Publisher’s website

Trigger #2

There aren’t many comic artists out there who could make a story about a man with sentient pants and have it be downright moving. The first story in this comic is called “Goo Pants,” but it’s not going where you might be thinking. These pants were given to our hero when he was eight by a hippie aunt, who claimed that they were made by elves. She choked on a “vegan chicken bone” before he was ever able to get a real explanation out of her, so our hero grew up with these pants. As they were magic pants they fit him no matter what, you see. Anyway, the pants became sentient when he (or anyone else) rubbed them, leading to more than a few awkward situations, and he tried to get rid of the pants a few times over the years but was never able to go through with it. Finally the man gets a job and is trying to make a good impression when somebody spills coffee on his pants, and things go quickly downhill from there. That ending is a thing of beauty, as it takes it into those few precious moments past the usual fade to black at the end of a story to show the toll this has taken. Next is the second part of his “Grown Ups” story, which will one day be collected into a graphic novel that makes Mike famous. I’m just putting that on the record now, so that all of the riches coming from accurately making that prediction will be mine, all mine! In this installment the teacher is still trying to connect with his students while combating relentless cynicism from other teachers about his prospects. The students are also a little wary of a teacher taking so much of an interest in them, and the teacher seems to be causing far more problems than he’s fixing so far. More to come in this story, so who knows overall, but it’s gotten off to a hell of a promising start. Finally there’s “The Biggest Banger!,” a science fiction story that deals with a civilization trying desperately to find a habitable planet as their ship slowly breaks down. Also starring humans as disobedient pets! There’s plenty of mayhem and gore in this one, just in case you were lulled into a sense of normalcy by the previous two stories. Once again Mike has put out a fantastic comic, and once again all of you people should buy it. There’s something in here for everyone to love, after all, and even if you somehow hate all of the stories in here (which could only be caused by your lack of a soul, I’m sorry to say), than nobody in the world could hate the full page drawings that bookend this comic. Spend your $5, you won’t regret it!

Bertino, Mike – Trigger #1


Publisher’s website

Trigger #1

To everyone who has the Mike’s original trigger series in mini comic form (unless it was collected and I never heard about it): this comic has nothing to do with the other Trigger series.  Or at least it doesn’t in any way that I can see, but it has been a few years since I read that series.  This comic, is everything that is good about comics.  Click on that cover just to see how impressive it is (go ahead, treat yourself).  As for the comic itself, there are three stories, and it’s been ages since I’ve seen a comic where the pieces involved are so absolutely different from each other.  The first story is called Grown Ups and it seems to be the only one of the pack that is going to be continued later.  It’s all about the first day of a young teacher who has moved over from teaching P.E. and has gone onto history, his interactions with his students and his meeting a fellow teacher out for drinks.  That other teacher also had a couple of ladies with him, one of them seems to take a shine to our hero (named Conrad), and things progress from there, right into an excellent cliffhanger.  I’ve said this before with series that ended after one issue, but seriously: don’t leave me hanging here, OK?  The second story is hilarious, and a complete shift from the first piece.  It deals with two friends (one of whom has the hots on the waitress at their favorite bar), a waitress set on revenge, a gullible lunkhead of a bartender and some drunk teenagers.  Again, do y0urself a favor and embiggen that sample image.  Finally there’s Below Us, a dead serious tale about a young man who is getting messages through a new plate in his head and how it forces him to deal with some issues in his past.  Again, it’s damned rare for the first piece of a comic to be serious with a touch of humor, followed by (that rarest of things) a laugh out loud story, and capped off by a serious story dealing with past abuse and learning to live with it.  There are a misspelled word or two, as I’m legally required to point that out, but leaving that aside this is a damned near flawless comic.  If you’ve read Mike’s stuff over the years and maybe weren’t that impressed, or were confused because you only caught part of a larger story, check this one out.  It’s self-contained and brilliant.  $5

Bertino, Mike – Trigger #4


Trigger #4

I really need to think about getting a memory. I read so many comics that continuing stories, like this one, sometimes get hazy when I manage to get the next issue many months later. Still, I remember the gist of this one (I explained it in a very roundabout fashion in the other review) and it picks up from here. The man behind a lot of the strange things that have been happening is revealed and can I just say that this superhero is a real pussy? Sorry, I just wanted to get that out. Well worth a look, although I think I’m going to wait until a couple more issues come out because the story seems to be taking a little while to get started…

Bertino, Mike – Trigger #3


Trigger #3

Mike’s e-mailed me a couple of times now, telling me that Western Galaxy was something that never should have left his town and that he has something available that he’s much more proud of: Trigger. I don’t know, I didn’t think Western Galaxy was so bad, but Trigger is a whole lot better. It’s the story of a superhero called Everyman who’s being stalked by at least one person for reasons unknown. The first three issues are just setting this whole thing up, so I thought it was OK to just review one of them for now. I should point out that the first two issues do have short pieces too while this one is all about the main story. Anyway, it’s a compelling, if still somewhat confusing, concept. There are little clues left all over the place and I can’t wait to see if it really does all make sense. I think his art’s gotten better too, really solid stuff. The only thing I can complain about is one of my pet peeves of all small press comics, and that’s the whole “spelling and grammar” thing. Maybe if people just typed the dialogue on something that had a spell-check if they’re not sure of a word, I don’t know. Anyway, this series is definitely worth a look. They’re $2 each, contact info is above, unless you just want to e-mail him and see what he has around…

Bertino, Mike – Western Galaxy


Western Galaxy

This is only half a mini, really. The other half is a story by Max Nordlie, about which more on another page. This mini has four parts to it. Not much there to get too excited about. It’s OK. Might have had a chance to go somewhere with some more pages, I don’t know. There’s the story of a turtle helping his recently deceased brother become used to being dead, a couple of one pagers that it would take longer to talk about than it would to read, and a tourist in Mexico City getting made fun of in Spanish. Why is it that so many mini people have so much trouble with some basic rules of grammar and spelling? Not that I’m one to talk all the time, but the difference between “too” and “to”, “their” and “there”… sorry, I’m just rambling now. If you want this comic, write:

Mike Bertino 3060 Suncrest Dr. #9 San Diego, CA 92116

Ask him if he put anything else out with some more pages in it…