Hey everybody, let’s take a road trip with two of the most talented cartoonists around! OK, it’s a virtual road trip, in that it’s you reading a comic about the trip that they took, but you get what I mean. Kelly’s Mom has agreed to give Kelly her old car, but she lives in Wisconsin and Kelly lives in Seattle, meaning the only way to get the car back is via a very long 4 day road trip. So Kelly and Max set out together, got on a flight to Wisconsin and then drove back, drawing stories all the way. OK, they probably did most of them when they got back. I’ve really got to stop leaving myself open to such literal misinterpretations. The front and back of this book are filled with postcards, receipts and various bits of trivia that they found along the way. The bulk of the book is full of comics about their journey, with subjects like forgetting the exact date while driving (sometimes that’s more important than others, apparently), the inherent overthinking that goes into visits with the family, taking in the sights of the small towns, finding out that prairie dogs are poisonous (who knew?), a list of various foods eaten and bands listened to, an irresistible hat, and finally getting back home. I undersold the “taking in the sights of small towns” thing; that’s a solid chunk of the comics. But they ran into an awful lot of oddities, so I didn’t want to delve into too many of them before you read the book. I also found out on the back cover that they were nominated for an Ignatz for this series, so kudos to the both of them! It’s well deserved, even if that means some other asshole probably won if they’re only mentioning the “nominated” part. I kid, obviously, I’m sure whoever won was great. But give these people some awards! And if you’re reading this and can’t give them awards, at least give them some money for the comics, because they’re great. $4
Stewbrew #2: Meet Erin
Again, to make this all perfectly clear: Meet Erin is half of a collected two parts called Stewbrew #2, the second half being Coot’s Day by Max Clotfelter, and the whole thing is available from Max for $3. That being said, if Kelly and Max ever decided to combine these two real people into some sort of a fictionalized “date”, well, I would have to think that hilarity would ensue, even if the two would never speak in real life. This one is all about Erin, a woman that Kelly met while working in retail, and the sheer ridiculousness she brought to every day. From a fakey accent to reading Ann Coulter in public to seemingly everything she said, the woman was more than interesting enough to warrant a mini comic. We also get to see her briefly as an actual human, a sobering moment, but one which doesn’t last long. Great stuff, I have to say I like this even better than the other half of Stewbrew, mostly for the sheer level of dirt we get in this one. $3
Stewbrew #3 (half Max, half Kelly Froh)
Ah, television. Good luck finding an American from the ages of five to forty five who can’t relate to memories of television. Max and Kelly team up here to do one page stories (Kelly on the left side and Max on the right) detailing their previous, constant television watching, how patterns change over the years and what television taught them, often due to the fact that in a lot of crucial areas they didn’t learn a whole lot from their parents. There are embarrassing stories a’plenty here, with Max talking about his first time masturbating (without really knowing what he was doing but I’ll leave out the gory details until you see the comic), being forced to play sports instead of watching tv, wanting to learn the theme song from MASH, being too attached to children’s programming, finally getting his own personal space to watch tv, going into tv withdrawal at camp, a hilarious (in hindsight) couple of injuries resulting in a Vietnam flashback dream, finally relating to his Dad because of Beavis and Butthead, watching porn with his Mom taking a bath in the next room, and a detailed listing of his high school tv watching routine. Kelly has her fair share of embarrassing stories as well, involving her first “boyfriend”, running away from home when the tv is taken away, a living warning against doing drugs, being really creeped out by the “sent to hell” episode of Fantasy Island, four tv people who made her feel funny “down there”, Showtime porn, and her late night viewing habits. Another solid effort from these two, and unless you grew up Amish, I’m sure you can relate to damn near everything in here. $3
Stewbrew #2: Coot’s Day
Just to make sure this is perfectly clear: this mini, along with “Meet Erin” by Kelly Froh, come bundled together as Stewbrew #2 for a measly $3. So now that the technicalities have been established, how’s the comic? Well, it’s based on a day in the life of a man named Cooter, so how on earth could it be bad? And yes, there is a real man named Cooter, unless Max is lying shamelessly in his intro. We get to see Cooter wake up, watch high school girls, get high, get drunk, watch Star Wars, smoke, and everything in between that makes up his day. It’s a very quick read, as it’s mostly wordless except for the caption at the top of each panel, but it’s funny and gorgeous, which are two things that are pretty much necessary for a good comic. The second half of this should be up tomorrow (4/3/07), so you can decide if it’s worth your $3, but this is certainly a good start.