How do you top an issue that has the best story of the year in it? Well, you start by putting out a much bigger issue than the last, and then you throw in an utterly unique fold-out centerfold that has to be seen to be believed. I was going to scan it for you guys but screw that, buy the book. No, I’m not going to describe this one either. OK, Glenn Ganges goes to the grocery story. Happy? Listen, in my humble opinion, you can’t go wrong with this guy. If I see anything to change my mind about that, you’ll be the first to know, OK? For now, if you can only afford one of these books, get #13. And #14. And probably #12 too, and #11, and #10, and #9…
A story about some old neighbors who quietly fade away and a mostly wordless tale about Glenn Ganges in the Wild Kingdom. I ran out of words to say how good all this was a while ago, folks.
If I had any vague, ill-formed complaint about the other two issues, it would be that they were too short. He answers this “problem” admirably in this issue. A great story about him dealing with his bank and some new fees, a philosopher wondering about the meaning of everything, and a story about a diner where people hang out through the wee hours of the night. This is the one that I’d start recommending to absolutely everybody instead of just mostly everybody.
This one is an illustrated letter from his Grandma. Again, simple, innocent and wonderful. Writing about these things seems silly, everybody should just go out and buy them. But I guess that’s why I’m writing anything here at all, right? To convince you to listen to some guy you’ve never met? How about this: If you like John Porcellino (and if you don’t, get the hell off my page), you’re going to love Kevin Huizenga.
I want to say right away that this guy is incredible, amazing, tremendous, and every synonym you can think of for those words. I had heard about him for a while and he blew his hype away, which is more than I can say for most folk. You can’t go wrong with any of these books, really. I’m on the hunt for all the back issues that I missed, and you can find at least one issue on his website (which is also incredible, www.usscatastrophe.com) . This one is the story of an adoption told alongside some beautiful drawings of trees. If that sounds corny, you’re thinking about it too much. It’s wonderfully done and I was already thinking at this point (I ordered #9-14 all at once) that I was in for a real treat.
Here’s another review of an old comic, as this one is from 1998 (or at least I think it is, it’s not like most minis bother to mention the publication date) and I’m writing this review in early 2010.Â Once again, I don’t think this is available anywhere outside of an old bargain bin at one of the few good comic stores, assuming you’d even be lucky enough to find something like this is one of them.Â It’s also hard not to notice that my reviews on this page were the length of haiku’s, as I apparently hadn’t yet mastered the art of rambling about nothing and filling space.Â As you can see from the fact that I haven’t even mentioned the comic yet, I’d say that I have developed some serious “skills” in that regard.Â This is the story of a walk.Â Sounds simple enough, and would be dull as hell in less skilled hands, but Kevin manages to make it engrossing.Â Kevin has recently moved to a new neighborhood, so he wanders out early one morning to get the lay of the land.Â Along the way he stops and notices the little things: voices through screen doors, wind whistling through the grass, kids on playgrounds, birds tweeting from wires, a hint of shampoo on the breeze.Â You really have to fight against the sense of calm you get from reading one of his books, assuming that you have something against calm.Â I still think that he reached a ridiculously high level with later issues of this series that he hasn’t quite reached by #7, but it’s still better than an awful lot of the other minis out there.Â If you can find this anywhere, you could probably get it for a couple of bucks.
Hah! Look, he had some awkward moments too at the start! Sorry, but the guy was just too amazing for words up until I got a couple of older issues. Don’t get me wrong, this one is still amazing and well worth picking up for anybody who can find it, but it’s not the life-changing read that everything after, say, #12 was. This one has the story of him playing a video game walking around, telling a phone story, and retelling a college tale (or making one up), along with a couple of shorter pieces. A couple of things verge on awkward, true, but this is worth picking up for the end of the video game part alone. I still think that I would have thought he was amazing if I had seen this issue first, now I’m all spoiled from the incredible work he has done lately.
There are a few great strips in this one, like I’ve come to expect out of all of these. I’m not here to talk about them. This issue contains the best story I’ve read all year, called (I think) “I Stand Up for Zen”. See, he used to have a job where he had to type ad copy, and his boss wanted to use the phrase “fashionably zen” to describe some shoddy bracelets that they were selling. Kevin had a major moral problem with that, and that’s all you’re getting out of me. It restored my faith in humanity, and I’m saying that without a trace of sarcasm or irony. My shitty Tuesday afternoon turned into the best week I’ve had in a while, and I owe it mostly to reading this story. Buy it. It you don’t like it, let me know and I’ll pay for it. Fair enough?