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.
Publish You (edited by Gareth Brookes, Jimi Gherkin, Peter Lally & Saban Kazim) Website
If anybody out there is curious about the current state of small press comics in the UK (and shame on you if you’re not), this is as good a place to start as any.Â Gareth is one of many people involved in putting this thing together, but it goes up on his page because… well, I don’t have a particularly good reason.Â Mostly it’s just to draw attention to his comics one more time, as they are one of the genuinely good things in this world.Â So how about this anthology?Â It’s in color (except for the pieces that stuck with black and white), the pages are numbered and there’s a solid table of contents, so there goes any chance I had of bitching about the production values.Â This book is right around 80 pages but it feels longer than that.Â I believe that’s a compliment.Â Stories in here include the tale of angry freakish neighbors by Steve Tilotson, some of the lies we’ve always been told by Gareth, Edd Baldry finding out that walking to work in the snow is no better than riding a bike, Mickey Lam cramming the story of Falun Gong in China today into two pages, Zarina Liew with an adorable piece about mime speed dating, cheerful suicide by Enrico Ariis, Scott Jason Smith deals with old poisoned candy, Saban Kazim lays out the relentless side of peer pressure, Sina Shamsavari gets into the awkwardness of running into an ex long after the breakup (and what to do if they “don’t recognize you”), and Richard Cowdry proves that bringing up comics in conversation with the opposite sex doesn’t always result in them running off in the opposite direction.Â As always, I’m skipping plenty of stuff in this book that should probably be mentioned, but that’s where you come in.Â If you’re as curious as you should be you’ll check out that website, and if you’re even more curious you’ll just go ahead and buy the damned thing.Â This, of course, will mean that I’ve done my job, such as it is.Â The price is in that funny foreign currency that’s actually worth more than “real” money these days (as American dollars are powered by our imagination at this point) so let’s say… $13?