Ronq & Sceban & Shaus In Trouble! – A Plot Story
So I sometimes have terrible memory. Bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this. Having terrible memory isn’t always at a problem, but at a comics convention, when I’m meeting people I see once every few years at best, talking about comics that I reviewed as far back as 2001, trying to place the name to the right comic, let alone what I might have said about that comic… it can get problematic. I knew when I met Neil at Cartoon Comics Crossroads this year (2017, future readers, assuming there is a future) that I knew his name, that I had liked his comic, but the old memory crapped out on me, giving me unconnected images but no title. But I checked when I got home, and Neil is the guy who did Sock Monster, and the collection for that strip had what is still one my favorite titles of all time: In Anticipation of Hugs! It’s still out there to buy, if you’re curious (and assuming my online store is still running when you read this, I’m even selling copies). Anyway, this particular comic is about characters of a longer series of Neil’s called The Plot, and I don’t know a thing about that. He seemed great, his comics that I’ve read are great, so I’m guessing it’s great too, but the only story I’ve read with those characters is this book. It’s apparently a prequel to the series, which helps, and Neil says in his intro that he did this comic “to get to know the three sisters in this story a little better.” As such, it’s mostly these three sisters chatting, causing some trouble, and doing one terrible thing with an urn. No, I am not going to tell you what that one thing is. It’s a funny book, and I went from having serious trouble telling the sisters apart at the start of the book to seeing all their distinct character traits when I was done. Well, I’m sure it’s not all of their traits, but you get what I mean. It’s worth a look, and based on this I’m guessing the whole series is worth a look. No price is listed, but I’m sure Neil will be happy to help you figure that out if you ask him…
In Anticipation of Hugs: A Sock Monster Collection Now Available! $4
Ah, if only all minis with one panel strips were like this. I’ve had my issues with the single panel format, but this is how it’s supposed to be done, and there’s also the not insignificant fact that there are plenty of free samples up at Neil’s website, so anybody reading my rambles can easily make their own informed decision. It’s a simple idea but done to perfection: there’s a rotating cast of characters, centered around the sock monster also including a wise old skull, a inquisitive and slightly naive bug, a nasty and selfish… um, luchador, a guy with a present embedded in his head… You know, they start getting surreal in a hurry, so I’ll leave it up to the reader to discover the rest of them. These friends and not friends mostly sit around, ruminating about the universe or the unfairness of various aspects of the universe, then go on to the next panel. It’s funny, that lettering is downright hypnotic, and there’s some serious inking going on. A lot of one panel strips rely on characters sitting mostly in a blank environment, but Neil clearly spends a solid chunk of time on each panel. This is well worth your time to seek out, proving once again that Short Pants has a damned near perfect track record in publishing quality comics. $4
Pinstriped Bloodbath (edited by Jeff)
What a great idea for an anthology.Â Take various artists, let them use gangsters from Chicago in the 20’s-30’s (or some modern day take on it) and put the whole thing together.Â That suit on the cover folds out as you open the comic, and that little flower in the lapel is apparently different for the different stores stocking it.Â So fine, the packaging is gorgeous, what about the comic?Â There’s a fine collection of talent assembled, and they all have their unique takes on the stories.Â Bernie McGovern has a heartbreaking and gory take on the last moments of Baby Face Nelson, Neil Brideau has a quiet conversation between gangsters as one of them tries to crack a safe, Nate Beaty has a silent take on the constant violence and the practice of soaking of blood from the murder scenes as a macabre souvenir, Rickey Gonzalez shows the last moments of Dillinger (or is it?), Neil Fitzpatrick proves that he can’t draw regular human eyeballs and tells the tale of the gangster killed by a horse (and the gangster’s revenge on said horse), Sam Sharpe retells a conversation he had with his at least mildly demented mother about keeping his “gangster” name, Jeff Zwirek has what appears to be a soundly researched piece about the Thompson submachine gun, and Jeremy Tinder closes with instructions on how to make bathtub gin.Â Throw in a couple of illustrations by Ivan Brunetti and Joshua Cotter and voila!Â You have one ridiculously entertaining anthology.Â You could practically make a series out of all the gangster stories from that time period, but Jeff probably already rounded up most of the high points.Â If you’re at all a fan of this sort of thing it’s essential that you pick this up.Â If you’re at all squeamish, however, things do get a little bloody, because how else could you tell these stories?Â No price, let’s spin the mystery price wheel… $6!