See, this is why all small press comics (that are part of a continuing series) should have notes on at least one of the inside covers. Right away I learned that these stories were taken from a project called Catch A Fairy, which is all stories from “formative years prior to secondary education.” So before high school? That seems to be the case for all of these stories so far. I also learned that these are stories of Robert as a child, as he called upon the memory of the girl involved in this story to fill in a lot of details. It’s called “Valentine,” so you can probably guess where it’s going, and he includes many delightfully awkward moments that brought up a wave of memories. There’s the valentine snuck into his desk, which he shoved back into said desk in a panic, and which the girl who had a crush on him had to basically drag out into the open. There was Robert’s utter cluelessness about the term “going out,” which I could relate to in far too many details, but he managed to figure it out relatively quickly. From there we see all the gory details of a boy in middle school trying to figure out the rules of dating while also being far more interested in hanging out with his boy friends than he was with anything involved with dating. He was remarkably callous and more than a little cruel to Amanda (although he was nice enough to apologize in the forward), which is exactly what most “relationships” are like at that time of life. It’s another really great issue, and I’d say that three in a row makes a pattern. These books are unlike most other “when I was a kid” stories and you should really check them out. I guess if you were the perfect kid you might not find anything to relate to, but if that’s the case then why are you reading reviews of small press comics? $5
Ah, childhood. Last time around we got one long tale about camp, this time around we get several smaller tales of some of the more traumatic moments possible for a kid. Stories in here include the secret of Robert’s crush getting back to the source (I’m just assuming that the character is based on Robert because his name is “Robert,” but I have no idea if these are all things that actually happened to him. In some cases I very much hope that they’re fictional), getting in trouble for pushing down a kid that was making fun of him, the urban legend of concentrating hard enough to leave your body behind but then never managing to get back to your body, the forbidden thrill of watching something that you’re not supposed to be watching after your parents have gone to bed (and the way that the cartoon in question undercut their argument at a critical moment was priceless) and getting lost in a crowded space. That last one happened to me as a kid and let me tell you, it’s terrifying. All you can see is a tall, endless sea of people who aren’t your parents, and Robert nailed that image. Two issues in and this series is still delightful. The only way I could see anybody hating it is if they wanted to pretend that they were never a kid, but for everybody else you’re bound to find at least one story that you can relate to in a big way. $5
Who out there went to camp when they were a kid? If so, you may get some a serious blast of nostalgia from reading this. I went to a couple, but nothing that was an much fun as this one looks, and that’s even with the awkward social interactions. I’m mostly basing that on the abseiling (basically repelling yourself on a rope from a tall structure, although I think I’m thinking of a word other than “repelling.” Whatever the word is for “bounce down a wall like Batman did in the old tv show while holding a rope, which is also being held by an adult to prevent injuries”) and the construction of shelters. Anyway, that wasn’t the theme of the comic, that was just a taste of the nostalgic blast I got from it. This is about a young boy (of around 8 maybe?) being dropped off at camp and not really knowing anybody. There’s an embarrassing moment when he doesn’t know the slang being used for going to the bathroom, a moment of pure panic before he starts abseiling, being falsely accused of wrecking the structure of some other kids, and coming across the instructions for condoms in the woods. But lest you think that this was all about camp drama, I should point out that Robert was much more interested in showing the camp experience itself, and he does a fantastic job of laying that out, all the way down to the look on his face as he gets in the car to go home. His introduction was also damned entertaining, as he detailed the very few reasons why somebody would get their hands on a copy of his book, and I’m just going to flat out copy and paste his explanation for why he hasn’t been too productive with making more comics over the last five years: “…intent is frequently nullified by a toxic compound of doubt and indolence.” Yep, that nailed procrastination for sure. There are two more issues of this to review so I’m curious to see where it goes from here, but this issue was thoroughly entertaining.