Smallbug Comics #9
Aw come on Charles, don’t sell yourself short! Your comics are delightful. Yep, that’s right, I’m starting off the review by talking back to the comic cover. That can’t be a good sign. This time around is another collection of short pieces (almost exclusively focused on cats, meaning I’m on board) and one longer piece. The longer piece started off slow but won me over with the page that I’m using as the sample, even though it may just slightly spoil a bit of the proceedings. Basically the gang is flying low, one of them says maybe they shouldn’t fly so close to chimneys in case the broom catches on fire, which naturally means that the broom catches on fire. This shouldn’t a huge problem, as they can just use magic on any old broom to fly home, but they have unfortunately managed to land in a town of hobos. These are stereotypical old-timey hobos who are basically like Pigpen from the Peanuts comics, not actual real humans who don’t have homes. An important distinction in a funny comic! Anyway, these hobos don’t even understand the concept of cleanliness, so it’s not possible for them to get a broom, but they do hatch a plan to get the inhabitants of the town more naturally interested in cleaning themselves. It goes nowhere, a second (and more morally ambiguous) plan is formed, and that’s about as far as I can dig into it here. It’s a fun story, I will say that. As for the shorter pieces, they deal with cat questions such as what’s in their dreams, what’s their problem with water, where did the nine lives thing come from, why no love for Benjamin Franklin, what’s in that box, and why do you ask for belly rubs even though you clearly don’t want them. All solid questions, and all of interest to cat people such as myself. If you hate cats you’d probably still find them funny, but if you hate cats I can’t really put myself in your shoes, so I don’t know what goes on in that head of yours. It’s another solid comic all around, and still a deal at $2.
Smallbug Comics #6
This issue is just plain fun. Is that too simplistic for a review? Eh, probably, but it’s true. This comic has about half a dozen “Dear Cat” strips (which is exactly what it sounds like: hypothetical questions answered by a hypothetical cat) and a longer story involving one of the characters getting her glasses broken and needing a new pair. That sounds like one of the duller possible setups for a story, but this is a land of magic and magical equipment, so every pair of glasses has its own unique abilities, happily played up for their comedic effect. There’s magnifying glasses, marketing executive glasses, glass for minotaurs, and several others that I’ll leave a surprise. That last pair of glasses was hilarious and I’m left wishing such a thing existed in the real world. As for the cat questions, they deal with subjects like why cats need the same door opened several times a day, what they have in common with dogs, why they can be jerks, and why they sit on the keyboards of laptops. If Charles has enough cat questions I really liked this format (roughly 2/3 one big story and the other 1/3 cat questions), and he was even nice enough to put a little bonus strip on the back cover. Like I said at the top, this comic is a pile of fun, and you should check it out if you are favor of such a thing. $2
Smallbug Comics #4
Well, it’s finally happened. I seem to have reached peak cat. For today anyway; chances are I’ll love all cats just as much as always tomorrow. But this comic tested the limits of my tolerance for the adorable nature of cats. As always, your opinions may (and probably will) vary! The bulk of this one is taken up with a mostly silent story involving a witch and her search for a particular cat. This is where words would have come in handy, as I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on here until going back and looking at it again. She can’t find this cat, but she does find a different cat, which was completely unacceptable to her. For reasons that I don’t understand, as in real life almost all cats are equally adorable. Anyway, this cat hitches a ride on her broom and returns to her home (?) with her, where this cat immediately makes a favorable impression on her roommate. It’s possible that I should remember the names for these characters from previous comics in this series, but I do not. Anyway, the cat is taken away for some reason (again, words would have been helpful here), the roommate is very sad, and the rest of the story involves her attempts to make it right. Not a bad story, but not particularly compelling either, and as I’ve already driven the “it could have used a few words here and there” point into the ground, I won’t mention it again. Other short stories in here include a funny piece about a guy who made a living putting cat videos on the internet and his comeuppance, another one of the reliably amusing “ask a cat” entries, and a back cover that I’ll leave a complete mystery just because. As the main story takes up so much of the comic I’d call the whole thing fairly so-so, but I did thoroughly enjoy the short pieces. $2
Smallbug Comics #2
13 years into me running this website, do you think it’s too late for me to put some of these comics into categories? Yeah, I figured it was too late too. Anyway, this comic would be considered “all ages,” and I tend to review those a little differently than other comics, as I no longer have the mind of a child <insert obvious joke about my mind here>. I think kids would probably enjoy this quite a bit. The basic story involves a king who is so unremarkable in every way that he finally comes up with an idea to get people to remember him: he has a special crown made of a golden cat. It’s such a ridiculous crown, the theory goes, that people are bound to remember it. And it works, but it doesn’t exactly cast him in the best light, for obvious reasons. As this is going on a young brother and sister are arguing, as the younger one wishes more people would pay attention to him. Things happen and, as this is a comic, the crown ends up falling on the head of the younger brother. Soon people are paying attention to him, but it ends up being unwelcome attention in some cases, and the king is also soon on the lookout for his missing crown. Hilarity ensues! I liked the attention to detail on some of the panels, especially the one full page panel of an outdoor market. All kinds of stuff going on there if you look for the little things. And it looks like Charles has done a good job of building up a credible world with interesting characters in it, or at least a wide variety of people. So there, it has been established that kids would probably like this just fine. What about adults? Um, probably? It might be considered a little cutesy by some people, as some people are very cynical, but I consider myself pretty cynical and I liked it. I even laughed a few times, which is always welcome. So yeah, I’d say it’s worth a shot for everybody. For $2, why not?