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Heinly, Beth – Girls Named Meghan: A Teenage Memoir


Girls Named Meghan: A Teenage Memoir

Ah, teenage friendships. Often a mess, but they can still leave lasting impressions for the rest of your life, especially the ones that were (in hindsight) a terrible idea. This is the story of Beth’s teenage years and how they intersected with a girl named Meghan in her school. To start things off we see two girls named Meghan, best friends with each other, and they’ve seemingly bonded over Bon Jovi (the story starts in 1996). One Meghan vanishes for a few months, and when she comics back the Meghans have split up. Beth’s Meghan (just referred to as “Meghan” from now on, OK?) tried to kill herself, which kind of but not really explains their split, but Beth was looking for a best friend, Meghan was newly friendless, so it seemed to make sense to pursue her. And it worked, sort of, as Meghan quickly because Beth’s best friend. Still, her obvious trauma made things tricky, to put it mildly. They joined up with a couple of other friends to make up a coven (it was a thing at the time, believe you me), which went well enough until Meghan freaked out and tried to kill herself in front of them all. Then Meghan came back, in full goth phase, and the warning signs really started piling up at this point. Not to get into too much more, as there’s lots to discover here for yourself, but their eventual breakup was messy, confused, violent, and very real. Beth also says up front that the story is based on memories, so obviously she could be getting a few things wrong. But the best thing I can say about it is that it really calls back to the days of teenage friendships, and you’d better believe that a few names/faces I haven’t thought of in decades popped into me head while reading this. If you’re looking for a nostalgia joyride/cringefest, you’d have a hard time finding a better way to do it than reading this book. $15

Aulisio, Pat (editor) – Dirty #1


Dirty #1

At least I’m pretty sure Pat is the editor for this issue, with all that artistic expression going on around that guy it’s hard to tell sometimes.  This is another anthology by what appear to be locals around Philadelphia, as they include a class schedule for people interested in signing up… back in September.  Just a note to anybody who sends me time sensitive comics: send me an e-mail mentioning this fact, as if it comes on a note with the comic those two things often get separated.  I try to do new releases first and then go back to the older stuff, but what with the whole “Pat Aulisio Tuesdays” theme I’ve just been grabbing whichever book of his is handy.  Wasn’t there a comic here somewhere?  Ah yes.  This is short but tall and vibrantly colorful.  There’s Ian Harker with a piece about… yeah, not going to touch that one.  Beth Heinly has the sampled piece, as I have an elderly grandmother’s resistance to cat-related strips.  Box Brown, Pat Aulisio and James T. Arnold share a page of strips about fantasy, the distant future and animal funnies respectively.  Bradford Haubrich then has the bulk of the comic with different pieces using layered techniques to make a better whole.  Or something, I’m not so good with the technical descriptions of art, in case that wasn’t blindingly obvious by now.  Steven Streisguth brings up the rear with a couple of gorgeous black and white pieces.  Pterodactyl is the group putting this together, and their motto is in part: “To revive the enjoyment and practice of creating art for personal fulfillment, to create exhibitions and experiences that resonate with diverse audiences, and to bring people together through the arts.”  Sounds good to me and, especially if you know and love the people involved, this is definitely worth checking out.  How you get a copy is another question, but I’ll pass it along here if I find anything out…

Harker, Ian (editor) – Secret Prison #1


Secret Prison #1

Ah, the wonders of the newspaper style anthology comic.  It’s impossible for me to scan, but luckily I was able to um, “borrow for all time” (sounds so much nicer than stealing, and I’ll be happy to take them down and have this instead posted with no images if necessary) a couple of images, so you don’t have to go into this blind.  One problem with this springs instantly to mind: I’m not sure how people are supposed to get a copy of it outside of being at one of the cons where this and the upcoming issue #2 will be presented.  I say “presented” instead of “sold”, as this one is listed as free right there on the cover.  At the moment Pat is trying to pull together the funds for the second issue.  By donating to the cause you can get the first and second issues in the mail, so that’s at least one way to see them, and you have the added benefit of helping out a worthy endeavor.  As usual with anthologies, this one is a bit of a mixed bag.  More good than bad though, including strips by Art Baxter (dealing with a reluctance to go forward and “living” with the consequences of working up the courage), Box Brown (in which a Googling quest to find news on Audie Murphy turns into self-reflection and slumber), Cyn Why on the high price of becoming Queen on the Internet (at least I think it’s her, if that list of the contributors at the start of the book is the order in which they appear), Kelly Phillips showing the life of a grumpy mountain, Steve Teare with a brutal beating, and Jason Clarke with a problem solver.  Actually, looking through the pieces I didn’t mention it’s not like there’s a ton of badness there either.  There’s Pat Aulisio’s  strip, sampled below, and his art keeps getting tighter all the time.  Bob Pistilli’s Skortch seems to be the start of something bigger and at least has the decency to show us lots of naked ladies while we wait for the story to develop.  Ian Harker has the quiet, sad life of a super villain (?) on an almost inconceivable world.  Beth Heinly has the simplest piece of the comic that I can’t talk about even a little without giving away.  Tommy Rudmose has a man literally confined to the panel walls. Andrea Grigoropl & Dan Fitz have a piece of a man, after being hit by a bus, making his own decision about going on with life.  That’s everything, and there’s not much bad there at all.  Some things need to be fleshed out a bit more, which will have a chance to happen if they can afford to make the next issue, but most everything in there works as a single page story.  I’ll update this page if I get a clear idea of where exactly you could get a copy of this and future issues, but in the meantime keep an eye out at cons.