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.
Marshall, Joe – Planet Named Desire #9
WebsiteÂ (down as of 4/1/10)
Planet Named Desire #9 Now Available! $2
Getting up to #9 in comics these days is no small achievement, and you can tell just from looking at this that Joe has his shit together. It’s artistically solid and the whole packaging just looks great. There are a few stories in here. The first, about a greedy monkey, is either about an old morality tale or it should be. Great story, and you can never go wrong with a monkey. The second is about an old rock and a tree and bunch of people trying to figure out what they can do with them. The third is the most moving of the bunch, about a bird that’s dying and trapped in the wall. Then there’s one last story that I’ll leave as a surprise because, hey, I’ve already convinced you to give this a shot, right? Seriously, I never have a problem with comics that are all about telling you to slow down and enjoy what you have, and this comic has all kinds of that. I don’t know about the back issues (maybe he peaked with this one or something) but you can’t go wrong with #9. Check out the website, learn more about this and decide for yourself.
Marshall, Joe – Planet Named Desire #7
WebsiteÂ (down as of 4/1/10)
Planet Named Desire #7 Now Available! $2
I’m a sucker for a good autobio comic; I’ve said it time and time again. I’m especially a sucker for the ones that are by people who usually write fiction, as it’s a rare glimpse into their personal life. There are three stories in here, all about Joe and what makes him tick. The first one is about how he draws bigger women because when he tries to go skinny they look sickly (and he goes on about how women are smarter than men), the second one is about how he doesn’t own a TV or VCR and prefers nature, and the third one is about the birth of his new son. He manages the difficult task of not being preachy really well, as it would have been easy for him to condemn people who don’t appreciate the outdoors or don’t agree with his viewpoint on women. It’s a good issue, he should try rambling like this more often. He also sent a few more back issues with this one, and I’ll get to them one day, but he has a diverse array of back issues, and that’s only in the few I’ve seen. It’s always good to see somebody who’s not afraid to experiment. These are cheap comics too, it’s worth ordering a few. Contact info is down there…
Marshall, Joe – Planet Named Desire #6
WebsiteÂ (down as of 4/1/10)
Planet Named Desire #6 Now Available! $2
Who wants to know how the world began? Or, well, at least an excellent theory on how the world began? Joe answers that timeless question with this issue from way back in 1999 (kids, ask your parents). Essentially, things started, some life forms made it, some did not, and the gods and goddesses took care of everything. The earth goddess was especially competent, things essentially ran themselves, which left plenty of time for her to have sex with, well, everyone. Still, she ran out of gods and goddesses to have sex with soon enough, and happened across a lonely monkey boy. You can probably guess what happened next, and that led to human life on earth, but probably not the way that you’ve heard it. Great stuff from Joe, a little raw maybe compared to his later work, but a solid issue with a self-contained story. Well worth a look, as is pretty much everything else on this page.
Marshall, Joe – Planet Named Desire
Planet Named Desire #8 Now Available! $2
Two really great stories in this one. The first is the tale of a young swordsman who is trying to train with the best swordsman in the land. It’s about patience and not accepting everything as it appears. The second is all pictures, about a dog and its quest to find the meaning of life. It was done extremely well, with drawn backgrounds and pictures of a whole cast of characters. Then at the end of the book you have a few full page panels which showcase just how incredible of an artist this guy is. This is a great series (from what I can tell from the issues I’ve seen, anyway), and I don’t think it gets anywhere near the attention it deserves. Yes, I would be saying that even if I wasn’t selling some copies on my website. Contact info is up there if you need more samples!