Baxter, Derek & Canini, Brian – Drawing Under the Influence

June 2, 2016



Drawing Under the Influence

Is it possible for a really great collection of comics to be undermined by its premise? That might not make any sense, so let me try again: this comic collects a bunch of strips that Derek and Brian did for their website when they realized that it had been left without being updated for ages (I can relate). In the interests of getting a bunch of strips up quickly, they decided that Brian would do a number of simple stick figure drawings to keep things regularly updated. But by the time this plan came together they had more or less abandoned the stick figure idea and had come up with a few dozen mostly full color strips, sometimes one page long and sometimes longer. And those are almost universally great! But there’s a large chunk in the middle of this book called The Adventures of Bugman that looks awful and drags the rest of the book down. But (extra but) it’s the only chunk of the book that literally looks like it was drawn under the influence. So if you’re looking for authenticity, go straight to that story! If you’re looking for stories that will get you literally laughing out loud (and getting odd looks because you’re reading it at work, at least if you’re me) then I can highly recommend the rest of the book. Subjects include the origin of the Drunken Cat (and, in hindsight, it’s hilarious that they thought this origin would be an epic tale), recurring strips about the smartest caveman learning that it wasn’t a good time to be all that smart, recurring strips about a maggot giving advice to kids who didn’t understand his ulterior motives, recurring strips of Big Puff and his unwelcome advice about being better people, the tragic tale of peanut butter and jelly, Drunken Cat and his adventures (that rarely end well, although I would think all the booze would help him better tolerate a lady who says “like” all the time), the redshirts finally getting their revenge on Kirk, and a longer story about the importance of air, told in old timey special speak. Like I said, overall it’s pretty damned great, and it’s hard to bitch too much about the sloppiness of one long drunken comic in a book where that is literally in the title. $16.99


Baxter, Derek & Canini, Brian – Never Stop Drinking

May 2, 2016



Never Stop Drinking

Huzzah, a book of (mostly) single panel strips! Yeah, I go back and forth on the concept, but I always like them when they’re funny, and the bulk of these are funny. Sometimes I missed the references (there’s an recurring gag with what the characters of “Doug” are up to today, but I don’t know what that was so the humor was lost on me), but overall this is a really solid bunch of strips. I don’t fully get the mechanics of having a writer and an artist for single panel strips, but then again these were mostly done in bars, so I’m probably overthinking it. Subjects include a recurring gag where a kid eats from a different type of cereal every day (the joke is in the title of the cereal and his reactions), where all those barrels came from in Donkey Kong, a better ending for Lost, the Crest Cavity fighters taking care of some prisoners, recurring strips of the inner monologue of a dumb dog, Hammy Sagar, trying to avoid a nemesis, the descent into madness of a piece of ravioli, the good of a cure of all the diseases after looking at actual people for a bit, Sue Storm as a stripper, and the master plan of Aquaman. And all kinds of other subjects, as this book is packed, but what’s the fun of me spoiling the subjects of strips when they’re mostly only a panel long? I won’t be a party to that madness. This is also in full color, so the strips look great (drunkenness aside), and a number of them have beer rings (I’m assuming) like the dog image you see on the cover. Authentic! But yeah, if you’re a fan of funny things then there’s plenty for you to enjoy in here. $17


Canini, Brian – Drunken Cat Comics Anniversary

September 22, 2012


Drunken Cat Comics Anniversary

This is a special for the 11 year anniversary of Brian’s assorted comics, and I just have one question: where the hell is the Ruffians story? There are updates for a few of his older comics (otherwise known as “new stories”), but Ruffians, which was far and away his longest series, is nowhere to be found. Boo! Ah well, I can still judge the rest of the book on its merits. Our “host” for this comic is the drunken cat from the name who, if memory serves (and it probably doesn’t), has never really gotten this much face time before. The cat introduces us to the new stories and does make a passing reference to Ruffians, so at least it isn’t completely disregarded. New stories in here include Satan’s high school reunion (in which we catch up with Satan after he was introduced in Brian’s first comic 11 years ago), Fall Back (in which our hero goes back in time to try to recapture his perfect past love) and Big Metal Robots (in which… aw, the title tells you everything you need to know). Satan’s story had more than a few funny bits, the time traveling story managed to be a bit heartbreaking, and the story about robots sure did have robots punching and kicking big monsters. Kind of a waste of time for most of it, but the ending made it all worthwhile. The drunken cat shenanigans were also pretty funny, although that probably would not have been the case if the comic had gone on for much longer. 11 years is a damned long time in small press comics and, even though I haven’t seen much new from the guy in the last few years (which may well be entirely my fault), Brian has managed to amass a decent pile of comics over his time. Here’s to 11 more years, and to his getting back to work on Ruffians. Or, if he’s not going to get back to it, he should at least have the decency to put out a mini comic where all of the characters in that series get taken out in as many gruesome ways as is humanly possible. $4

Baxter, Derek – The Life and Death of Mr. Burger

April 25, 2012


The Life and Death of Mr. Burger

Hamburgers! You know they’re always one bad day away from turning evil. Well, this particular hamburger is, anyway. Things start off with our hero missing his bus, which causes him to miss an important meeting, which causes him to get fired from his job. And, what with the economy still being terrible and all, he decides to dress up as a lady hamburger and attack his old office and workmates with a chainsaw. He ends up in prison for 18 years and finally gets out, but things have changed considerably since he went in. It’s better if I don’t get into too many spoilers from there, even though the title does kind of give things away. This is Derek’s first comic that I know of (not a “graphic novel” as he mentions on the inside cover though, unless that’s become an all-encompassing term for all comics and nobody told me about the rule change) and it’s funny as hell, which always helps. I’m not a big fan of the computer animation turned into a comic idea, as everything comes off as slightly blurred. A background or two after the first page probably wouldn’t have killed the guy either, as it often appeared that the characters were talking to each other in a vacuum. But hey, first comic = learning experience, right? And he got a lot right (that ghost garden panel especially was fantastic). It’s worth a look, especially if you like to see hamburgers on an extreme downward spiral. $3