Update for 6/2/23
It’s the triumphant return of Carrie McNinch! New review today for You Can’t Get There From Here #57. She might catch up to King Cat yet!
McNinch, Carrie, You Don’t Get There From Here #57
You Don’t Get There From Here #57
Note: the link in the comic title is actually to her Patreon, as I don’t see a simple way to order her comics online. Get in touch with her and offer her some cash, I reckon you’ll wind up with some comics. So hey, it’s the return of Carrie! Not that she went anywhere, I just haven’t reviewed an issue of her series for 20 issues or so. Once again, I plead with a benevolent billionaire to give me enough money to hire an assistant, so that I have any chance at all of keeping up with all mini comics series in the world. So what’s she been up to in the interim? Well, things haven’t been going great in her life. These strips are all from early 2019, just for context. She talks a few times in these strips about putting the finishing touches on #48, which means she’s really been cranking these out. She’s obviously dealing with some severe depression in several of these strips, so keep in that mind if it’s triggering. She’s back living with her mom, has two sick cats she’s trying to keep alive through various medicines and methods, can’t seem to get a job she likes (and usually ends up cat or dog sitting) and at one point even ends up getting home and biting into what’s actually a beef burrito. For somebody who’s been a vegetarian as long as she has, believe me, that’s devastating. About halfway through the comic, just when it seems like she’s at her lowest, it’s time for a long planned trip to Japan. This really picks her spirits up, even though she does manage to get a cold on the long flight. She wanders from place to place and seems to have a fantastic time, culminating in the Penis Festival that’s mentioned below. Do the statues and decorations get even more outlandish as it goes on? Reader, you know they do. As always, her comics are a treat, although I do hope her luck has picked up a bit over the last few years. No price listed, but she was talking about the harsh reality that she’s have to raise her prices soon, so maybe $5.
Update for 5/21/23
New review today for Santos Sisters #3 by Greg and Fake Petre, and is the accidental theme this week reviewing comics from series that have gone at least 4 issues (and in the next case, several dozen more)? Sure looks like it!
Petre, Greg & Fake – Santos Sisters #3
It’s more fun with those lovable Santos Sisters, who are in serious danger of becoming bit characters in their own comic. Not that that’s always a bad thing; in this case it’s mostly because the background characters are clearly demanding more time on the page. This one has a few different stories in it. First up is one about Crazy Eightball dealing with an ex in a less than rational manner. Hey, her name has “crazy” in it! Todd (everybody remembers Todd from past issues) had apparently complimented her outfit, which led her to believe that he was complimenting her, which all ends up in a brawl at the local Oliver Garden. Then there’s the tale of the football players who were kicked off the team for steroids, their plan for revenge, and a real life demonstration on how the Santos Sisters use their swords for weapons without ending up just murdering everybody. There’s also silent (and all-ages!) piece about getting outskated and then getting even, and finally a trip to the zoo that ends in a massive animal breakout and a brief fracas with that dude on the cover who’s holding a sword and barely wearing any clothes. Another funny issue with, like I said, a cast of characters who’s rapidly taking things over. Issue #4 just came out (which prompted this review; keeping up with all of the comics in the world is a tough business), and #5 is also coming soon, so now’s the perfect time to get yourself a pile of their comics. $5
Update for 5/29/23
New review today for Eyeland #10 by Nick Forker. Don’t be alarmed by the issue jump in reviews, but I do explain everything in it.
Forker, Nick – Eyeland #10
I’m breaking one of my usual “rules” to review #10 long before I review #3-9. Why would I do such a thing? Well, Eyeland isn’t (at least so far) a linear story, and I needed some help in deciding whether or not to go back and review the rest of the series. So after reading the latest issue, my conclusion is… yeah, maybe, if I have time! Riveting stuff, I know. So what’s this comic about? Nick was going through a move in New York while he was trying to put this issue together, which was going to make sticking to his monthly schedule difficult, to say the least. So he pulled together various sketchbook pages and stories about his experiences together to meet his deadline. I’m always and forever impressed with anybody who keeps up a monthly schedule (Dave Sim, for all of his MANY other faults, kept it up for decades, which actually may not be the best endorsement for the schedule considering what happened to his brain, so never mind), but it looks like he’s dialed it back a bit since, as there’s only one new issue out so far in 2023. My mind is clearly all over the place for this one, so let’s finally just get to the comic, shall we? There are several short pieces (anywhere from a panel to a couple of pages) about every aspect of moving, and since we’ve all been there to some degree, there’s some relatable and funny stuff in here. Also he said he’s moved 30 times in New York City, which maybe earns this man some sort of medal? He also talks about finally giving up coffee, giving up on screens for books, and finally ends up with a piece about how he’s done standing in his own way and is going to “take the path of liberation for all beings.” But a lot more complicated and nuanced than that, as I’m trying to summarize rather than plagiarize. It’s probably required reading if you’re ever planning on moving to New York, and even if you’re not there’s still plenty to like in here, as always. Aw, what the heck. I’ll review #3 in a few weeks and see where that takes me. $5
Update for 5/25/23
Meeting Comics are back! New review today for Gone Ghost: A Val Cannon Mystery by Andrew Neal.
Neal, Andrew – Gone Ghost: A Val Cannon Mystery
Gone Ghost: A Val Cannon Mystery
Should Meeting Comics change into nothing but Val solving mysteries? I mean, I like the rest of the cast too much to wish for that to happen completely (this comic flashes back to 1996, so only one other member of the modern crew is still around), but I certainly wouldn’t mind if it became a regular thing. This is set a few months after the events of Val’s last mystery (Where the Rent Went), and it’s at a Halloween party, which is a setting that’s always just full of possibilities. The mystery itself takes several pages to get going, but before that we get the joy of seeing Val’s roommates set boundaries with her (the five of them want Val all to themselves; she had been going outside the house for sex and agrees to go “steady” with them only) and an incident with a raccoon in an attic. It also nicely sets up an issue-long problem, one that is rare for a sex machine like Val: she’s blocked from sex at every turn, by an increasingly ridiculous series of events, in the funniest bit of the comic. Eventually we find out (through a cop stopping by her Halloween party) that there’s a missing woman and he’s hoping she can help out, since she’s famous from her last successful solving of a mystery. As always, this issue is packed with details, from the various costumes sprinkled throughout (some time sensitive to the 90’s, some not) to the fun of trying to spot the missing woman in the background. Here’s as close to a spoiler as I’ll get: she was at the party all along! Andrew was also nice enough to send along his “making of” zine for this issue, and if you’re interested in his process, I can’t recommend it enough. Bits that didn’t fit, his artistic process, a comic from him in 1996 about a story that took place at the house that inspired Val’s old house with all the roommates, just a fascinating pile of information. If you’re wondering if I’m recommending this, it should be obvious by now, but yeah, it’s not like Andrew suddenly lost his touch since the last issue. And it’s self-contained, so you don’t have to read all the older issues of Meeting Comics (even though you should, assuming you like to laugh). Maybe get Val’s two mystery issues, and if you like those, branch off from there to the rest of the series. $7
Update for 5/23/23
New review today for Blood Desert #1 by Adam Yeater, and yes, this is one of those comics where you can get the general gist of it from the title.
Yeater, Adam – Blood Desert #1
When somebody sends me a pile of comics, I like to go back to the beginning and review that first. Makes sense, right? Well, I also have to include the caveat that the vast majority of artists improve as they make more comics, so anything I say about #1 was most likely already fixed by #26. Yep, according to his website, he’s already up to #26, and this one was released three years ago, making him incredibly prolific. I mentioned in my last review of his work that I’d read an interview with him where he mentioned his grindhouse and gore influences, and this one seems right in line with those sensibilities. Our hero (?), or at least the guy on the cover, is wandering around a post-apocalyptic landscape and stumbles across a military base. He finds a CD player, which distracts him from the gigantic monster that’s creeping up behind him. The rest of the issue is a mostly silent tale of him trying to get away from the creature, with a nuke thrown in, as you may have guessed from the title. It’s… fine. I’m at a place where I need either a bit more substance in a comic or a whole lot more mayhem, and this one didn’t land on either axis. I’m also assuming the chaos ratchets up in future issues, so maybe I’ll skip ahead to issue #10 or so for the next review, especially as it doesn’t seem like I have to worry about keeping up with any long, complex narrative. This particular issue was so-so for me, but if you like his general aesthetic, there is a whole lot more of it out there in the world, so you’re in luck! $5
Update for 5/17/23
New review today for Brooklyn Tattoo by Adam Suerte, who’s been absent from this website for far too long.
Suerte, Adam – Brooklyn Tattoo
He’s back! I always feel like sending out an alert of some kind when I see a new comic from somebody that I haven’t heard from in a decade or more. If you’re new around these parts, or even if you only starting reading around 2010 or so, Adam did a four issue series in the aughts detailing his year of apprenticeship at a tattoo parlor. It was fascinating stuff, with my only (minor) complaint being that if it took him most of decade to tell the story of his year as a apprentice, it didn’t seem likely that we’d be getting the rest of the story. Well, I’m thrilled to report that he proved me wrong, as this tells the tale of everything that happened after that. He also included a few pages/bits from that series, as this is meant to tell the whole story of his time as a tattoo artist. One more thing before I start talking about the actual comic. I just went back and read my reviews for Aprendiz (I actually still have a few issues of that for sale, so if you’re interested I’ll check with Adam to see if he’d like to sell them or would prefer to have them back) and I said maybe the dumbest thing I’ve ever said in a review, and boy howdy is that ever saying something. In the review for the second issue I mentioned that he must be having a tough time as a tattoo artist making comics, because I didn’t see a lot of overlap in the two areas. Holy shit was that stupid. It’s significantly more rare to run into people at comic cons without a tattoo than with one, and I’m thinking that was also true in 2004 or whenever that review came out. Whatta dummy I was/am. It’s always nice to throw in reminders like that, just in case people start to think of me as an authority or something. Nope, I’ve just been doing this a long time. Easy to confuse seniority with expertise. Anyway, what about this comic? It’s the comprehensive story of his time in art school, meandering a bit with a soulless job, and eventually taking a gig as an apprentice to tattoo artists. That story is told in the other series (I still don’t think it would be a bad idea to collect it, but that’s obviously his call), and this is mostly focused on getting his own business off the ground and then keeping it running. One fascinating subplot is that Sophie Crumb, through mutual friends, ended up working as an apprentice at his shop. She was young and new to New York, so she did what most young people do in that situation, and word eventually got back to her dad. There’s a hilarious scene where Robert Crumb did everything but accuse Adam of ruining his daughter, despite the fact that they never hung out outside of work (there was an age gap), and all the while Adam was starstruck while being lectured by one of his comics heroes. Interest picked up quickly wherever his shop ended up (not just his, he did have partners), but doing all this in Brooklyn meant he was bound to run into one completely unethical conglomerate that bought his building. This meant a series of annoyances, large and small, until he eventually got a new place, and boy am I ever shortening that nightmare down for the review. There’s so much more that goes into every aspect of being a tattoo artists than I ever expected, not the least of which is all the business nonsense. Also I loved his art style before (I confirmed this by reading the old reviews), but I’d say he’s gotten even better since then. And the amount of detail! Every page, every panel, looks like it took about a week to do. Even the backgrounds (that would be solid black in a lot of comics) are packed with little doodads and icons. It’s already a lot of story at 140ish pages, but this is absolutely a book that rewards you for taking your time with each page. There are also some short pieces after the story by Sophie Crumb, Jason Mitchell, Myke Maldonado and Mark Bode about their time at the shop, and I’ll leave them as a surprise to the reader. Except for Myke’s, as the finale to that story was terrifying. So basically if you’ve been wondering whatever happened to this guy, good news! Everything worked out for him, more or less, and he even got through the pandemic OK (but that’s apparently going to be the story for his next comic). If this is your first time hearing about him, you are in luck. This is a hell of a read, and has me once again contemplating getting a tattoo with his artwork, especially if my plans work out and I get to New York in September for a visit. Check it out, you will not be disappointed. $20
Update for 5/15/23
New review for an oldish comic: Scrambled Circuits #2 by Cameron Callahan. Hey, I already mentioned that my review pile here is getting tiny, so if you’d like more current reviews, send in your newest comic! Or wait a couple of days and I’ll review something hot off the presses…
Callahan, Cameron – Scrambled Circuits #2
Scrambled Circuits #2 (link to the collected edition)
I dug deep into the random pile of comics, stickers and such today, and I came up with this one from 2010. Readers from the future, if you’re confused, it’s currently 2023. But hey, this must have been sent in the last few years (the random pile is of indeterminate age and origin), so it has to be around somewhere, right? …OK, further review shows a collected edition, but not this individual issue. Still, I’ve come this far, so onwards! The collected edition has the first three issues and some new material, so you’re basically getting this issue in a Scrambled Circuits sandwich. In case anybody is still reading this, what’s the actual comic about? It’s a series of short pieces featuring Primus, a robot going through some things that may or may not be a stand-in for Cameron. Or maybe just things he’s observed; I have no context here. Subjects include trying to get out and face the day, realizing how terrible everything is but also realizing that the need to create would disappear without it, his terrifying origin story (of the robot, not Cameron), the pieces that you get as a child that adds up to you as an adult, a remembered incident with a hyperactive kid who may or may not have been a bully, flirting by text (this was a newish thing in 2010), what we all think will eventually happen with q-tips, focusing on the right things over Thanksgiving dinner with the family, having an immature sex ed teacher, and finding Belgium. It’s a pretty solid comic overall, with maybe a few weaker pieces, but it’s impossible to judge this man. After all, he’s still doing comics and it’s 13 years later. I doubt he hit his high water mark creatively in 2010. Still, there’s enough good stuff here to make me wonder what the collected edition is like, so hey, maybe you will too. If you can find this I’m guessing it’s in the $3-5 range, if not the collected edition is $15.
Update for 5/11/23
New review today for Jonesy by Maggie Umber. Once again, consider that new email address as fully functional, so disregard the old one. And hey, if I sold your comics online back in the day and you’re wondering if I have any copies left, ask away! If you’re out, I very well may still have a few copies laying around that I should have gotten back to you about already. Have I mentioned that I’m spectacularly disorganized with that sort of thing? Probably why the store was such a disaster. Ah well.
Umber, Maggie – Jonesy
This is one gorgeous comic. I believe it’s entirely painted (looks like water colors), which helps you fall right into the dream-like nature of the story. Which is fitting, as this is based on a dream. The text you see on the front cover actually wraps around to the back, and if I had to guess I’d say it was taken from a dream journal. The story itself is wordless, so the text goes a long way to giving the reader some idea of what to expect. The panels keep the sense of surrealism going nicely. You have the artist as one of those big hot dog looking things with arms that are outside car dealerships, or a hand and pen being held up against what could either be the actual outdoors or a drawing of it. And then there’s the giant abandoned tank engine that’s missing an eye. Oh, and the cat face. I guess what I’m saying is that even with the text to give you clues, there’s still plenty in here for the reader to interpret for themselves. Which also means that it’s best for a reviewer to shut up about it, other than to say once again that his is beautifully done and worth checking out for anybody who’s in a remotely abstract frame of mind. $8
Update for 5/9/23
New review today for Generic Action Hero by Robb Mirsky. I thought I’d already reviewed all of his comics, but there it was, at the bottom of a random pile of comics. Oh, and I’m listing a new email address as contact info, if anybody had questions or review submissions. The old one was 99% spam, so if you’ve sent me a direct question over the last few years, maybe try again? I went through the whole thing recently, but there’s a good chance I missed a few real emails while blinded by spam…
Mirsky, Robb – Generic Action Hero
Generic Action Hero
What a fantastic example of a title saying everything the reader needs to know. The sampled page, in case you were curious, is the second page of the mini comic. First our hero has to endure the standard villain monologue, then the rest of the comic shows how he gets out of this predicament, with at least one more heroic act completed while falling from the plane. Oh, and Robb wasn’t kidding about that bonus poster. It’s everything you could want out of a poster for a generic action hero, that’s for sure. This is the part of the review where I would usually say that I don’t want to spoil anything further, but in this case, a thought experiment for the reader seems like a better idea. If you saw a generic action movie where the hero was pushed out of a plane while handcuffed and blindfolded, how do you think he would get out of it? He can’t punch gravity, after all. A hint: in these types of scenarios, the villain usually provides the means for the hero to get out of it, either through overkill or an inability to help themselves. Work it out from there! As for whether or not this was a good read, I mean, yeah, of course it was. Robb’s stuff is consistently funny, and that’s absolutely the case when he’s using as big of a target as this as the subject of his comic. Sludgy will always have a special place in my heart, but I’m glad that Robb takes the time to make shorties like this one too. $3
Update for 4/27/23
New review today for Nugget #3 by Tony DiPasquale. The nuggetiest issue yet!
DiPasquale, Tony – Nugget #3
Sweet Christmas, but is this ever one gorgeous comic. It’s a double-sized issue compared to the last two, and it’s in full, glorious color. I would have said before this that the little dude would do just fine in black and white, but this proves me wrong. Before I spoil a single thing, if you’re wondering when you should get on this Nugget train, the answer is now clear: start right here. I’ve liked his previous work quite a bit, don’t get me wrong, but he’s on another level with this one. This is one of those cases where a sample image really should say it all. For those of you who prefer a little more detail before parting with $12 (which is a steal for this much comic), fine, I’ll do that reviewing thing. Stories in here deal with things like dreaming and waking up in an existential crisis, the mental image of what will happen when several floating squids are collected versus reality, peeking behind the veil, the cycle of drunkenness, Nugget making himself into a tree (which leads to an absolutely stunning double page center spread) and the impression that other people would get after seeing said tree, a normal day out with a pal, increasingly terrifying dreams while sleeping outside, and a funny bit on the back inside cover about dealing with a rough critic. The back cover is also something else, but I’ll leave that as a total surprise. The two biggest stories in here, and maybe the best (but don’t make me rank them, because I’m not capable in this issue), were left out until now, so’s I can spend more time on them. There’s an extended adventure where Nugget gets sucked into the monster (or benevolent deity?) in the sample image, only to be spat out as four separate pieces, each of which gets into its own adventure. It’s spectacular, and I’m running out of superlatives here, but if this comic only contained that story I still would have left satisfied. And there’s a deeply disturbing piece about Nugget coming across a few dead people/creatures in the forest, and his sudden ability to pluck out their eye and see their last moments through it. Alarming and wonderful. Are there a few other stories I’m not mentioning at all? You’d better believe it. Get yourself a copy, you absolutely will not be disappointed. $12