Lucy the Octopus: Better in Small Doses
That right there is a damned clever title, and it must have flummoxed at least one reviewer. This is a collection of his weekly webcomic, which is based on Lucy the Octopus from his Tempo Lush set of ten tiny comics, which you maybe own if you’re awesome. Anyway, Lucy is a teenage girl octopus who is ridiculously unpopular with everybody around her. This collection of 40 strips shows her trying to exist (not really even fit in, as she seems to have already given up on that concept), bonding with her new poisonous pet, trying to stay friends with the new kid who doesn’t yet know how uncool Lucy is, taking beauty advice from her sister (who tells her friends that she isn’t even related to Lucy), and becoming a science experiment from her brother. These stories can get a little grim at times, but Richy manages to keep a light tone through most of them. And the coloring is gorgeous, so even though he mentions that it would be easier to go black and white with the strips I’m really hoping he doesn’t do it. This seems to be an all-ages strip, although I think kids in their early teens would probably get the most out of it. Come to think of it, all-ages is kind of a stupid qualifier, as I’m pretty sure that reading this to a baby would have no effect. I’m wandering a bit, but this is very much worth a look. He also sent along the next issue, so I’ll have more to say about this after I read it. You know, for a complete picture and all that. Or you could just go to his website and see his newer stuff for yourself, it’s a free country. Well, this one is. I don’t know where you are…
Tempo Lush #10: The Heartache of Square McBear
Well, if I’ve learned nothing else from the weekly reviews of this collection, it’s that it is possible to make a set of ten mini comics seem like an epic.Â And all it took was not reviewing them as a clump!Â This issue is, as you can probably guess from the cover, the story of Square McBear and his heartache.Â He is in love with Boxy McFoxy, but it seems that she doesn’t know he’s alive.Â He chats with her flatmate (Circle McTurtle) and learns that he is not really her type.Â From there he gets more advice from characters that rhyme, tokes up and gets nothing out of it, and finally goes to the local comic store to cheer up.Â I try to never spoil the ending of a comic, but because this is the last issue of the set and because the ending is so fantastic, I’m going to tell you how it ends, so stop here if you don’t want to know.Â It turns out that Foxy is also a fan of comics, she sees the pile he’s getting and tells him that they should get together to chat.Â Ah, the dream of the single comic fan everywhere: that the person you’re interested in is secretly interested not only in comics, but in the kind of comics you read.Â Bravo to the whole set, here’s hoping it gets picked up at a few places here in the U.S. so more people get a chance to see it.Â If the $16.50 price scares you, well come on, what else are you going to spend that money on, food?Â It’s not like that food is going to sitting on your shelf for years to come, or here’s hoping it’s not.Â The whole package is worth picking up.
Tempo Lush #9: You Are Such a Pathetic Loser
If you can read that text on the lower half of the scan, you already know what the book is all about.Â If you can’t, it says “22 responses to an insult”, and yep, that’s what you get here.Â It tells you some excellent responses by being dismissive, foul mouthed, self deprecating, psychological, sexist, visual, sensitive, and violent, among other ways, and you can count how many are left for yourself if you’d like.Â It’s a simple concept done well, and he once again manages to make the last panel excellent and completely unexpected.Â There really just isn’t a whole lot more to be said about this, so for once I’m just going to shut up about instead of rambling on and on.Â $16.50 for the set, and still not a stinker in the bunch…
Tempo Lush #8: The Sculptor
Hey look, a silent comic!Â I was wondering if Richy was going to get around to that in this set.Â This is the story of a man who sees a huge chunk of rock and sets to sculpting it.Â Um, this might be clear from the title.Â As he is sculpting he is noticed by a rich man, who offers him a sizable chunk of change once it’s finished.Â Sadly, sculpting takes precision and the artist is briefly distracted, which leads to some serious damage.Â The artist is devastated but still determined, and he eventually gets another offer to finish his sculpture.Â Still, there are so many distractions out there, and it’s so easy to deliver that fatal blow to a sculpture.Â If I say more than this I’ll ruin the ending, and it was a delightful ending that I somehow didn’t see coming (one of those “oh, of course that’s where it was going” reactions, but clever enough for me to miss it).Â Another solid entry to this collection, which is a perfect 8 for 8 so far, and is right around $16.50 for the set.
Tempo Lush #6: The A-Z of Absolute Truth
Well, that is certainly a definitive title.Â This mini is a slight change from a mini comic format I’ve seen more than a few times in my years of reading as many minis as humanly possible: doing an image per letter of the alphabet.Â This time around it’s done in the guise of a comic adaptation of song lyrics, and I get the distinct impression that the band is Richy’s as well.Â Shame on him, he’s not allowed to be good at comics AND music.Â The rest of us might well get a complex of some kind.Â Anyway, some of the choices for letters are amusing (I particularly enjoyed the randomness of mentioning volcanoes (and then saying, for some reason, that they never tear your home apart), how God and homosexuals hate each other and the cliffhanger of never explaining the reference to the octopus), some mildly amusing and some just plain lazy.Â I mean, cat and dog?Â Maybe it rolls of the tongue better in the song.Â If it was all by itself maybe this comic would be considered so-so, but in the rich tapestry of the whole teddy bear box seat it’s a wonderfully complementary mini.Â $16.50 for the set of ten comics.
Tempo Lush #4: Mish Mash Mosh
Not only has Richy managed to come up with something fresh and interesting for each of the three minis I’ve read so far, he has also managed to make a great mini involving multiple ideas with this one.Â Yes, this means single panel gag strips, and stories of a few panels, and even a “big” story involving the entire back page.Â When this tiny thing is folded open, that is, as a big story involving only one panel wouldn’t be that impressive.Â Or would it?Â Hey, there’s an idea for somebody with writer’s block: can you cram an entire story in one panel?Â Better yet, should you?Â OK, I’m wandering.Â As I said, this comic has several things going on, including making pies in the shape of famous actors, a llama in disguise, falling in love with your therapist, an old man counting people he’d like to kill, Tori Amos’s previous life as a doodle, freezing time to steal mints, and trying to rein in the powers of Cereal Box Tip Over Girl.Â Then there’s the big story, and it’s all about finding the perfect woman, featuring a few guest artists and models, all combining to turn what should be a good idea into something hideous.Â If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I appreciate how Richy crams these minis full.Â Even on the legal and link pages he’s managing to throw a joke or two in there, making the most out of the tiny amount of space he has to use.Â I’m very clearly smitten with this set, and this is without even being halfway through it.Â I’m sure there’s a stinker in here somewhere, as the law of averages says that at least one of these minis was rushed out or half-baked.Â So far so great though, and I’m gradually starting to believe that that might be true for all the minis.Â The collection is $16.50 US, and I have mentioned the adorable little teddy bear container that holds all these minis, right?
Tempo Lush #2: Dr. Geary’s Notes on Subject 14D
Richy goes with something completely different for the second issue of this series, as this one deals with a mysterious new life form.Â Note to the readers: when you get this comic open it up completely and then read it like a regular page.Â Sometimes these fold-outs get a little tricky, this time it was as simple as could be and thus had me fooled.Â Anyway, an egg is found on an island (it doesn’t really need much more setup than that) and hatches to reveal a lumpish creature with serious intelligence and the ability to depict whatever it wants to on its belly.Â It also carries a bit of a grudge, as it remembers the scientist that it attacked (after said scientist drew blood) and seems to want to do the man some serious damage.Â It is ordered that the creature be destroyed, and any more given away would completely spoil this tiny thing.Â Let’s just say that the creature may know more than it seems, and would this comic really just up and kill that adorable little blob?Â This comes on graph paper (if I remember my schoolin’ correctly), which is a nice touch with the format of being told as a series of scientific notes.Â Another solid entry in this batch of ten which, as mentioned above, goes for about $16.50 in US dollars at the moment.
Tempo Lush #1: Lucy the Octopus
Three cheers for the mini comic box set!Â I don’t see nearly enough of these things.Â Mostly because people don’t create enough mini comics to put one of these things together, I suppose.Â This is the first of 10 comics included in this collection, which comes in a tiny and adorable teddy bear/comic holder.Â Sadly it defies scanning, but a look at his website should give you a clue.Â So how about the comic?Â This is a series of short pieces about octopi (a word you don’t get to use nearly enough) that generally manage to be funny.Â There’s incomprehensible childhood taunting that makes just as much sense for octopi (tee-hee) as it does for anything else, giving the gift of pets to the little children, accessorizing, wishing for popularity, Lucy’s misguided attempt to stand up to bullying, and a slightly longer piece about how baby octopi are born (and what happens to the parents).Â Like I said, it’s generally funny stuff, and I loved how it’s a fold-out comic, meaning that it takes a little bit of puzzling to figure out how it all fits together.Â Not too much, as the stories make the order abundantly clear, but I do love the fold-outs for whatever reason.Â And did I mention the fact that this whole issue is in vibrant, necessary (for underwater stories) color?Â Like I said, this is only the first of 10, so there are plenty more to come.Â No price for individual issue, but this thing is roughly $16.50 if you convert it to US dollars.Â UPDATE: screw you spellcheck, octopi is too the plural for octopus!Â Also, according to Wikipedia, octopuses and octopodes.Â You can have those last two, I’m sticking with octopi.