I’ve read plenty of anthologies over the years that I’ve been writing reviews here, but very few of them could qualify as a love letter. This comic here? That’s exactly what it is. This is 20 of some of the best artists going right now, and they all have one thing in common: an obvious love of the tv show Friday Night Lights. If you’ve never heard of this show, or if you dismissed it out of hand because “it’s about high school football,” all I can say is that you missed out. There’s still time to fix your mistake, as it’s still on Netflix as of May 2016; just watch the first few episodes and try not to get hooked. Or maybe the fact that so many great artists came together for this project will clue you in to how great of a show it was, I don’t know. Does it seem like I’m not reviewing the stories? Yeah, I’ll get to that. I’m just trying to convert the last few decent people in the world who haven’t already seen this show. Frankly, I remember most of the stories as giant hearts on the page, so it’s tough to write anything mildly intelligent about that. OK, I’ll flip through this again. Highlights include the Tim Riggins cut-out doll as the centerfold (comes with different outfits!), Tim Riggins in the year 2050, a story about young Billy Riggins, the conversion of a skeptic into a fan of the show, how the team playbook got leaked to a rival, a growing rage of somebody trying to convert friends as they get increasingly sleepy while watching the show, and Coach Taylor sitting on the Iron Throne. Seriously, if nothing else, just look at that list of artists and give it a shot for that reason alone. Or do it the right way: watch the series, then go back and enjoy this fanzine. I’m not going to close with the team motto right here, but know that I am thinking it.
P.S. Comics #2
Here we have more tales of fruit, yorkies, and various condiments in distress. The bulk of the comic is taken up by the love of two of the yorkies, Quincy and Cleopatra, and how this evolving relationship hurts Cleo’s current roommate, Lucy. It’s a tale of sniping and personal attacks that’s as old as time, unless of course you tell it from the perspective of dogs. Melanie also deals with the vagaries of high school life when everybody decides not to go to the prom, leading one of the fruits to make other plans for the night… until the rest of them decide to go after all. The highlight of the book though, even though it’s only a short two pages, is the story of the affair between salt and sugar, told in excruciating detail. She goes through the hesitant beginning to the true love in the middle, all the way to the inevitable ending and seeing other, um, “people” when one still hasn’t gotten over the whole thing. Top it all off with a wonderful summary of a tour of the Celestial Seasonings factory and that’s there’s a pretty damned good comic. Also, it’s a handy book to keep around on a coffee table for nosy relatives or friends, who will flip through it, thinking it’s adorable and maybe you’re not as deranged as they might think from your other choices in comics, even though they wouldn’t think that at all if they bothered to read the damned thing and not just look at the pretty pictures. $3
P. S. Comics #1
That cover is supposed to be a bit more purple, but my scanner seems to be having a rare revolt. There are four stories in here, three of which are too adorable for words… until you get past the images and actually read the stories. There’s an embarrassing roommate situation with the Yorkie dogs, trying to balance not having any friends vs. only having friends who are assholes (as played by various pieces of fruit), an awkward visit to a house with a crazy abusive mother (back to the Yorkies) and finally the heartwarming tale of the “I Love You” mug. Hey, I thought it was heartwarming anyway. The underlying sadness and angst of these stories put up against the overwhelming cuteness of these dogs and that fruit was a great idea for a comic. Because, let’s be honest, angst in comics is pretty well represented these days, and a fresh approach to the subject is always welcome. Not that this is all angst or anything, as there’s some really funny stuff here, I’m just saying is all. $2.50
I’m changing the name on this creator because, well, she used a different name on her cover.Â That and “Minty” is an awesome name.Â Finally there’s a collection of this utterly unique comic available, and I swear it’s a giant coincidence that yesterday I was talking about the flawless record of Secret Acres… and today I’m reviewing another one of their books.Â Sizable chunks of this are available in the first two issues, which I already reviewed below, so I’m not even going to mention those stories.Â Pretty much everything mentioned below is in this, except for the tour of the Celestial Seasonings factory.Â New stories include making “friends” with the tour manager of a band while on vacation alone, a piece about two people making a connection at work over donuts and making a rat tail for a costume (one of the rare pieces in the book featuring actual humans), the hopeful tale of a family dog lost when their car was stolen and what Minty would like to think happened to it, and the disintegration of an office relationship and dealing with the new woman.Â There are also two longer pieces making up the end of the book, one all about preparing for a crafts show and still managing to fail miserably and one about maintaining one quiet place at work, getting to know the new temp and being horribly disappointed with her as a human being.Â Um, strawberry, that is, as almost everything in here is either a piece of fruit, a dog or a cat.Â I doubt all of these stories would work as well as they do if they were all told from the perspective of humans, even though Minty has an uncanny ear for dialogue, especially the stuff involving self-pity.Â How she manages to make a heartbroken pear both funny and immensely sad is a mystery to me, but it’s clearly the work of someone with some serious talent.Â Â She manages to make you think about all of these situations in an entirely different light through a simple change in representation, and let me tell you as someone who remembered during an argument that I was using the same line as a crying apple that it can be both revealing an extremely disconcerting.Â In other words, Minty has done her job her admirably.Â It’s $11 but there’s a hefty pile of stories in this one.