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Vigneault, Francois – Bird Brain #2


Bird Brain #2

If anybody out there hates birds, it’s probably best to move along to the next review. Who hates birds? Well, somebody is bound to, right? People either hate or love all sorts of things that seem to mild to me to feel strongly about either way. Anyway, this is another collection of birds Francois has observed and drawn in his travels. Birds that he has observed include herons, ospreys, tree swallows, hummingbirds, swallows, bald eagles, Candian geese, screech owls, warblers and a few more to leave you some surprises, as I have no idea what constitutes a spoiler in this sort of book. He does a masterful job of conveying the birds, but that’s no surprise because he’s also extremely gifted in drawing people. There’s also a nice introspective author’s note in the back detailing why he loves larger birds and how their sudden acts of violence remind him that our world, though appearing tame, really isn’t far from that sort of thing. In case you think that this is simply a collection of bird drawings, well, no. He makes them funny on occasion and includes his observations throughout, so if you like his other stuff there’s no reason in the world to think that you wouldn’t like this one. And who doesn’t like his other stuff? $2.50

Elfworld Volume 2 #1 edited by Francois Vigneault


Elfworld Volume 2 #1

I have no idea how I missed the first issue of this series. This seems like something that’s right up my alley, as I like my small press comics with a sprinkling of dorky sorcerers and such, even though finding quality examples of that genre is exceedingly difficult (and hey, send me an e-mail if I’m wrong). I do have to say that I don’t think you’re allowed to start the second volume of a series if you only put out one issue in the first series, but I don’t get to  make the rules on such things. With this lineup of talent it was pretty much a sure thing that this book would be damned near indispensable, and I think that ends up being accurate. First up is Grant Reynolds (who has either been quiet lately or he’s just stopped sending me review comics) with a tense chase between two creatures. Very few people outside of Jim Woodring can pull off “what the fuck IS that thing?” better than Grant and those skills are heavily on display here. Next is a piece by Alec Longstreth in which a wizard tries to audition new animals to deliver messages after his owl dies. I chuckled a few times and his cartoony art was perfect for this. Also a clear sign that this book wasn’t going to be either straight fantasy or straight parody of fantasy. Ben Costa and J.R. Parks are up next with a piece about the dangers of pulling a prank on your boss when you work in some kind of evil lair of doom. The Mute by David Enos deals with a mute (duh) wandering around, getting into adventures and saving the girl. Um, spoiler alert, but not really, because that’s not the end of the story so there. This was maybe the highlight of the book, although I may still contradict myself before finishing this review. Jane Samborski is next with a detailed list of dragon rating rituals listed by the types of dragon, and might I just add that this woman has a variety of dragon poses down cold, which I can’t imagine is an easy thing. Dash Shaw has a shortie next that’s the highlight of the book (see what I did there?) about an orc in his final moments before his execution. Brilliant, that’s what it was, and after a story that brutal it was nice to get a laugh out of the ending. Finally there’s a short Icecreamlandiaish (look up their other comics on this site to see what that means) by Eve Englezos and Joshua Moutray that I won’t get into because describing a one panel story is the same thing as ruining it. I guess if you hate all things fantasy you might not like this book, but even then there are pieces that only tangentially relate to fantasy, and it still has a pile of your favorite artists (if you have good taste, that is), so I’d say it’s worth picking up. I also need to mention the production design, as that Sammy Harkham cover and the work that Francois put into designing this book were both top-notch. Look closely at that cover; it took me a minute to get exactly what was going on there. So yeah, I’d say you should buy this book, and if the back of it is to be believed there will even be a new one out soon. $6

Vigneault, Francois – Bird Brain #4


Bird Brain #4

Hey, all you bird watchers out there! Are there any of you? How many do you figure wandering around this country? Just curious. This here is a book for you, and as it’s already on #4, I’d say you have some catching up to do. Luckily there are a few things of interest to the rest of us too, not to mention the fact that reading about these different birds was vastly more entertaining than I would have figured. That’ll show me not to underestimate a book by this man. The only thing I regret was that it wasn’t in full color, but that would be insanely expensive for a niche project in a niche genre. We do get a color center spread, so at least there’s that. I feel a little silly doing a review, as it’s all about Francois bird watching, but I have to say something, right? In this issue Francois wanders around to different areas and makes astute and occasionally funny observations about the creatures he sees. No, they aren’t all birds. I also thoroughly enjoyed the afterward, as he talked about how happy he was that this project is giving him a reason to get out of city and connect with nature a bit. I had one question about this book, or maybe bird watching in general: in the text piece for the center spread Francois mentioned that he and a friend found this dead bird, so he picked it up, took it home and froze it for “future examination.” That part I could almost get, but they also named the dead bird, and that was downright baffling to me. Anybody care to clue me in on any aspect of that? Overall, yes, you’re still getting a Francois Vigneault comic, and after his “Friends” series you should already know that this will be a good read. Unless you only read violent comics, in which case you probably went to the wrong site to begin with. $3

Vigneault, Francois – Friends #3


Friends #3 Now Available! $4

I may resort to gushing in this review, which I apologize for in advance, not because I’m sorry I like the comic so much, I’m just sorry about the gushing; it’s unseemly. This whole issue is dedicated to the story of the Jacks from the previous issue. They deal with crushes, friendship, reality and when exactly it’s time to leave a town. One of the Jack’s is set on leaving, while the other has known for a little while that he doesn’t want to go (mostly because of a crush on a girl) but hasn’t made that information known. Gah, every time I think of a point I want to make I realize that it’s ruining something about the comic, and I enjoyed this so thoroughly that everybody should be able to read it without much of a preconceived notion, or so the logic goes in my brain, anyway. Francois bemoans the fact in the back of this that it took almost a year to get this issue out, but sometimes that’s a good thing. There are layers and layers of meaning here and the art has made another leap forward. There’s also a pretty through synopsis to start things off, so it’s not the end of the world if you missed the last issue. Absolutely, positively essential reading. $4

Vigneault, Francois – Friends #2


Friends #2

Well, the second issue is usually the one that convinces me of a book, and I’m officailly won over with this one. It’s not a continuing story, by the way, so let’s establish that right now. The first story in here is about two guys named Jack who want to join a card counting scam in Vegas. One of the Jacks hates everybody and sees the value in keeping this information secret before they leave, the other one has different ideas. The second story (or really series of stories) is about some of the various crushes that Francois has. The fascinating thing about this, besides the fact that I love the hopeless crush stories anyway, is that the subjects here know that they’re going to be in a comic, and they know why. Or at least they do eventually, but I may have said too much already. There’s a bit of sloppiness in the early crush stories, but as they’re called “sketchbook confessions” I think that’s allowed. That’s as close as I come to criticism here. A thoroughly enjoyable comic, which is the reason I keep doing this website. $3

Vigneault, Francois – Friends #1: Speak Now, Or Forever


Friends #1: Speak Now, Or Forever

Sometimes the simplest stories are also the most enjoyable. This is about a guy who meets a girl on a bus from Chicago to L.A. Sounds simple enough, or at least it probably does if you’ve never met a girl or a guy on a bus, train or other random place where you only had a finite amount of time to get to know them. The art is a bit raw here and there, and yes, that cover is off-center, but this is also his first comic (or at least I got that impression from the letter) and those kinds of things tend to work themselves out after a few issues. The important thing is that the man can write, as it would have been really easy for this to slip into silly melodrama or “woe is me” stuff. Never happens, and it’s a pretty damned good story because of it. This is the first in a series; no idea yet if it’s one big story or just little ones under the same title. I should have the second issue up here in a few weeks, which should clear that mystery up. Until then check out the website, unless you don’t like comics. $4