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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.


Doyle, Tim – Amazing Adult Fantasy #21



Amazing Adult Fantasy #21

It’s always a bit odd to read these diary comics in anything other than sequential order.  After all, you are reading about the lives of these people, and in this case things jump ahead 5 months.  Oh well, it’s my own fault for getting a random selection of these from the cheapie Poopsheet sale.  This time around Tim is running a comics shop, so there’s lots of inside info on that, and who among us who reads comics isn’t at least a little curious about the specifics behind the stores?  Also included in this issue are strips about playing a gig alongside accidental hippies, talking to one friend on the phone when you think you’re talking to another friend of the same name, a text rant about how it’s impossible to be a good rich Christian, being too fat to fit in your good clothes, going on a diet, choking on broccoli, destroying a toilet, and offending Spielberg fans.  There was also an annoying turn for the last third of the comic as Tim was starting up some sort of mystery project but was unable to talk about it, finally revealing towards the end that his comic store had taken over another store.  Why the mystery?  Were these things printed daily or something?  Oh well, it did let him go nuts with the random imagery.  He also announces in this issue that it’s only going up to #24, which he apparently stuck to.  All told, it’s a fun series.  A bit of a time capsule, granted, but it’s funny on occasion and insightful, which is all you can ask for from these things.  Like I mentioned in the last review, these are $5 for collections of 6 issues, which would make on nice beefy comic.


Doyle, Tim – Amazing Adult Fantasy #16



Amazing Adult Fantasy #16

That there is an excellent title for a mostly mundane diary comic.  Tim did this strip for two years, from 2001-2003, and put out 24 issues.  These issues have been collected into larger books , which means they’re still available, which means I’m allowed to ramble about them here.  Not that there would be anything stopping me otherwise.  This issue details December of 2002, but Tim mostly does a good job of making it seem timeless, as he keeps the topical references to a minimum.  I doubt if that was a conscious strategy to make the work more universal, but kudos to the guy either way.  Every day is three panels and topics include trying to motivate himself to paint, drinking, going out to shows and movies, dealing with car insurance, getting his first credit card, stealing Mario, getting screwed (figuratively) at Kinko’s, and the usual general hanging out.  Hey, it’s a diary strip, the format is pretty well established by now.  Of course, the fact that he was doing this 8 years ago tells me that he may well have been at least mildly innovative with the format, it’s just been imitated since then.  But wait, there’s more!  Tim submitted a strip to Young American Comics for their Bizmar issue and he reprints it here after it was (probably rightly) rejected.  Finally the book takes a sharply depressing turn as the last page is dedicated to stories of illegal abortions and their consequences from 1969-1970.  Yeah, let’s outlaw that again, you conservative nutjobs.   My only complaint is that the print is occasionally smashed up a bit and/or a bit faint, but never really to the point where it’s completely illegible.  It’s a pretty decent book overall and I do have at least one more issue to read, so that’ll give me a more thorough understanding of the guy.  Meanwhile, these collections of this series are a measly $5 per 6 issue collection, which is a steal.