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Derry Green, Delaine (editor) – The Portable Not My Small Diary



The Portable Not My Small Diary

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.


Granton, Shawn – Complexificationstrategory: A Ten Foot Rule Suppliment


Complexificationstrategory: A Ten Foot Rule Suppliment

I’ll say one thing for Shawn: he’s the master of the ridiculously long titles. He says in the cover that he’s “sold out” to Dylan William’s Sparkplug Press, which is good news for everybody who hasn’t heard about Shawn yet, as now he might get into some comic stores. Beautiful, painstakingly detailed artwork mixed with entertaining and self-deprecating writing is what you’ll find in his comics. This one has a strip about his feelings on the world today, one on the mystery that is Portland’s fascination with Pabst, a guide to cheap eateries, and a few other random things. I can’t wait to see what he puts in his published comic. Here’s hoping that he gets successful and has some of his older stuff see print, as I’m curious to see what else he’s done (besides the best of, I guess). New address is P.O. Box 14185 Portland, OR 97182-0185, or just e-mail the guy to see what else he has or to order this for a buck.

Granton, Shawn – 3.05 Metres: A Ten Foot Rule Primer


3.05 Metres: A Ten Foot Rule Primer

More often than I like I’ll get a comic where I know there’s more out there that could help me make up my mind about it. It’s always better to see a wider variety of a certain artist just to get the complete picture. Well, this issue is as complete as it gets, for better or worse, and I’m going to treat it as such. This is the creator-determined “best of” from the five previous issues of “Ten Foot Rule”. And a sample of his best is, well, pretty mixed. There are quite a few comics that are just mini comics by the numbers. Bad work experiences, dating troubles, punk shows, it’s all here. The problem is that while the quality of the art stays just about the same (it’s good), the quality of the stories don’t. The writing style stays the same, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that he doesn’t seem to know when something is just too boring to write about. One example is a four page text story all about a train ride that he takes. No, no story there really that could be considered all that funny or interesting, just four pages of travel details. In a “best of” book, that doesn’t bode well. Still, there are some real bright spots in here. The story about indie rock people and their hypocritical standards is great, as are the ones about the things that people have told him while trying to sell his comic around. About 2/3 of this is really solid, really worth checking out, and that includes one text piece about ibuprofin. For $2 it’s still definitely worth checking out. Actually, my only problem with it was that some of the stories seemed to me like they were too dull to be printed, and that’s obviously a completely subjective thing. Everybody else in the world might love the whole thing.

Granton, Shawn – Better Looking Than A Blog


Better Looking Than A Blog

You know, it ruins all the fun for me when somebody says right in their intro that their book has a few good moments but that’s about it. In this case he’s not nearly giving himself enough credit, but when they’re right I invariably feel like a doofus for pointing it out when they’ve just admitted it. This is a journal comic, and if that automatically sends a few of you screaming off of this page, so be it. Shawn decided that he needed more structure in his drawing schedule and if everybody else was doing it, why not him? His dedication is impressive, as I don’t think he missed a day for the first 3 months of 2007, or if he did he went back and did a strip for that day later. It’s not all formulaic either, as it’s mostly a three panel strip, but he’s not afraid to let it air out for several more panels of varying shapes and sizes if he has
a longer story to tell. Mostly this is full of stories about biking, being a vegetarian (but not in a preachy way, just pointing out meals and good places to eat), partying here and there, and everything else
you’d write about in a daily journal. For you biking aficionados out there, this goes into pretty serious detail about various biking events, zines and things that happened while biking. My eyes glazed over a bit
for those parts, but I’ll bet it’s fascinating to some people. All in all it’s a pretty solid journal comic, with a promise from Shawn about more “real” comics coming soon. It’s been a while since he’s put out a
comic, so huzzah for that news. Oh, and this is a hefty book for the cheap price tag of $2. Took me just under an hour to get through.
Shawn also bemoans the death of actual mail, so If anybody wants to check out his stuff, why not just send him a letter for it? I think that, rather than an e-mail, would make his day…

Granton, Shawn – Ten Foot Rule: When You Can’t Stand Yourself, Walk Outside


Ten Foot Rule: When You Can’t Stand Yourself, Walk Outside

A note to any obsessive types out there reading this: the review for the Spring 2007 book was done today, 2/23/08, long after the review for the Winter 2007 book, which was done I believe in May of 2007. Any stupid things I say in that review about that comic being his first one in ages should be disregarded as I am occasionally a stupid, stupid man. This is from back when Shawn first started drawing every day, although he missed a few chunks here and there. It’s mostly about a trip around various parts of the country, hitting a few conventions, checking out the local biking scenes, and generally wondering (at least at times) if the whole comic thing was worth it. His conclusion seems to be “Yeah, but…”, which is right around where most people land on the whole idea. He also sent himself postcards from his various stops, which helps immensely to put some immediacy into the trip, even long after he’d returned. At the end of the book he has a long text piece on the virtues of Bikesummer, a sort of month long event dedicated to celebrating biking, something you biking enthusiasts should be looking into for this year. All in all it’s a solid journal comic, cheap and wordy, which is damned near the best thing in the world in my book. $2