Hey kids, or anybody who has started reading comics in the last few years? Are you interested in the history of mini comics, why they’re such a source of passion for so many people? Well, maybe not in numbers, but in level of interest and dedication in following certain artists? Your answer is this volume. If you have no interest in the history, away with you! This one can be for the old timers. This is a collection of the best of the “Not My Small Diary” anthology, and if you read small press comics in the 90’s and 00’s, you will recognize plenty of these names. In fact, good luck not getting lost in a Google hole or trying to figure out what so many of these people are up to these days. Notable names include (but are not limited to) Jeff Zenick, Dan Zettwoch, Patrick Dean, Raina Telgemeier, Jesse Reklaw, Carrie McNinch, Sam Spina, Roberta Gregory, Kurt Wolfgang… you know what, there are just too damned many names, and they’re all in the tags, so check that part out. If any of those names made you say “hey, I wonder what they’re up to these days” then this book is for you. These are mostly snippets of stories, but they’re all complete by themselves. Sometimes the stories follow a theme, like notable dates or moments in their lives, but really they’re all over the place. If it seems like I’m avoiding getting into specifics, that is entirely the case. If you were around for all these artists when they first started, you’re going to get lost in this instantly. If not, this is an excellent way for you to figure out what the big deal was about these people all along. I guess it’s possible that it’s the nostalgia talking and that people might not connect to these stories now, but screw that. These are tales of human weakness (and occasionally triumph), and those stories are universal and timeless. Most of the original issues of this series are out of print, so this is your best option all around. The book itself is $7.50 if you see Delaine at a convention, but if not $10 should be enough to cover the shipping, and I really can’t recommend this enough. It’s rare for any anthology not to have a weak story or two, but these are all golden.
In case you missed the pun, this is a collection of work from mostly female cartoonists and, like most anthologies, has good things and bad things. It’s a great concept though, as it has bios for everybody in here along with links to their sites and even interviews with a few people. At least two of them work for Marvel in some capacity, but who am I to judge? Granted, a few of the stories are more than a bit cute (as admitted by the creators, so it’s not like I’m being sexist or anything), but the strength of this collection is the sheer variety of stuff involved. You have a nine year old girl reading and dealing with a comic about the atomic bomb in Japan on one page and a mostly wordless story about lazy cats working in a glue factory on the next. All kinds of great female cartoonists in here too. Check out the website if you don’t believe me. $9.95 is pretty cheap for something this packed too, so check into it, see what you think.Â Contributors: Sara Varon, Becky Cloonan, Raina Telgemeier, Ariel Bordeaux, Ellen Forney, Diana Sprinkle, Miss Lasko-Gross, Missy Kulik, Jen Benka, Kris Dresen, Hellen Jo, Kristen Petersen, Jen Sorenson, Michele Roman, Abby Denson, Jenny Gonzalez, Rachel Hartman, Mary Minch, Megan Kelso, Doreen A. Mulryan, Lark Pien, Sarah Anderson Lock, Elena Steier, Jennifer Moore, Lela Lee, Vanessa Satone, Shaenon K. Garrity, Catherine Tutrone, Ellen Lindner, Elayne Riggs, Robin Riggs, Janet Hetherington, Donna Barr.
Here’s another short comic from Missy. This one is collection of one page stories, about things like walking on a fortune, stealing a pen, picking things up off the ground (a favorite of mine too), wearing odd things, growing up, things she has done or never done, and a dream about a giant deer. Good stuff all around, although I’d still like to see a bigger book by her. This one is only $.50, so why not buy it? Contact info is up there!
This is Your Toy and I Want It
This is the story of a little hot dog in a bun toy, except that it looks more like a little pill in a bun. Whatever the case, Missy sees it at a friend’s house and decides that she has to have it, so makes a compromise where she watches the toy for a little while. Next she visits the land of the toys, but I’ve said too much already. This is a fun little book, although a bit short, but it’s only $.50 so that’s OK. I’ve been hearing about Missy for a couple of years now so it’s good to actually see a comic. I was impressed, but I get the definite impression that the hype is for the later work (this is from 1999) more than this cute book.
I Heart New York Now Available! $1
If you’re looking for a perfectly adorable story about New York, you’ve found it. Missy tells a brief tale of a young girl wandering through the city, taking in the sights that adults often miss. There’s a sense of wonder throughout this mini, as Missy observes the sights of Central Park (horses, squirrels, an Alice in Wonderland sculpture, and Calder’s circus) and marvels at the Empire State Building. This was made in 2000, and possibly that sense of wonder is gone by now (full disclosure: I’ve never been to New York. I know, I know). This is one of those “gateway comics” for kids though, if you’re looking to get your young ones interested in comics, or even if you’re just looking for something to feel good about for a few minutes. $1
Half Boy/Half Stupid (with Rowboat) Now Available! $2
You don’t go into one of Missy’s minis expecting tales of drunken misadventures (or at least I don’t, but I’ve read relatively few minis from her so far so what do I know), but that’s what you get here. Missy illustrated a collection of stories told to her by her friend Rowboat, dealing with being misunderstood, breaking in the door on an unsuspecting crush, making a fool of yourself over the phone to an ex, ending a Halloween night in a state of drunken disarray, a nigthmarish cat, a pack of wild donkeys, smoking a telephone and a perfect romantic evening that doesn’t go as planned. A pretty great pack of stories, with Missy’s art bringing the whole thing wonderfully to life. $2
My Word! (with John Porcellino) Now Available! $2
Missy and John teamed up on a fairly unique mini comic here. They each came up with 5 words for the other person and that person had to draw five comics. I don’t think I’m giving away a thing by telling you the words: postage, camel, decision, honey, sidewalk, sick, bedtime, violets, catsup, and fly. Who gets which word? What do they write about? Those questions can only be answered by reading this, as it’s fairly silly to give something like this a regular review. Even if your black, black heart prevents you from loving Missy’s work because you think it’s too cute or something, I can’t imagine needing to go to a lot of effort to convince anybody to read anything that John P. has ever done. It’s a fun and occasionally melancholy book, what more can you ask for? $2
Cloud Picnic Now Available! $2
Yes, in case you were wondering, this book is exactly as adorable as it appears from the cover. This is the silent tale of a couple of sock monkeys, floating along a river on a a flat smiley face, meeting another couple of… things. Mostly featureless dolls, vaguely shaped like humans. Then they all run across their friend, a solo teddy bear, who decides to climb to the top of a circular slide. This circular slide leads the bear to land on a cloud which, in turn, leads to the cloud picnic. This was apparently also made on Super 8 film (possibly on that website), which I’m curious to see. As for you and this comic, do cute things frighten or alarm you? If so, this should probably be avoided. If you have a healthy capacity for “Awww”, then you won’t regret checking this out.
I was going to just write the names of the contributors here to try and convince you to get this, but that scan came out nicely, don’t you think? You’ll notice that I really like most of the people on there, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I think this is amazing. I can’t even say that I didn’t like whole stories, just certain panels. People talking to cats in comics is either cute to me or way too cute, and Dave Lasky’s entry fell into the latter category. The rest of his story was good though. The bit by Austin English didn’t do much for me one way or another. Everything else is more than just worth reading, it’s required reading. That’s right, I’m forcing you to buy this. The only thing I’m not sure of is the price… $5 maybe? It’s a pretty big book. Eh, go to the website (down as of 7/22/07) for this (it’s the first in a series of anthologies about food) and e-mail the guy to see how much it costs. You can’t go wrong with this assemblage of talent.