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Seck, Steve – Life is Good #7


Life is Good #7

Is this the end for our heroes? I can’t explain that any more without giving away way too much, but this issue ended with a few big things wrapped up and no clear direction moving forward. Which would be fine; this comic has been fun but I wouldn’t mind seeing Steve branch out a bit. Then again, he invested so much time in these characters that I am a little curious to see what he’d do next. Mr. Decisive, that’s me. So how about the specifics of this one? Things start with a very thorough recap (I have just enough of an ego to think that maybe my incessant pestering on this issue is getting through to a few people which, if true, will have made it all worthwhile), then Brownie has a chat with the Sewer Gator about the direction of his comic (which the Sewer Gator stole and published without Brownie knowing about it). Meanwhile, Charles is eating himself to death in his effort to stop littering and Dr. Peace Rock has a plan to pin everything on Charles (and get back in the good graces of Unity). This wouldn’t sound all that strange if it wasn’t for the cast of characters, but there are no actual humans in this comic and even the background characters are odd enough to make you sit up and take note. Anyway, things come to the confrontation that has been coming for issues now, but I can’t really talk about that, so you’ll just have to read it to see what happens. Or if you haven’t read the rest of the series then I guess you don’t have to read it to see what happens, but I think the whole thing is worth a look. Hey, come to think of it, now it’s about the perfect size for a collected edition, and it’s a finite story to boot. I’ve stumbled across his master plan! In case I didn’t talk about the specifics enough this time around (I do have a tendency to ramble about ancillary things), his art has only gotten better and has moved up to “pretty damned good,” and I’d even say that the plotting has gotten tighter. The writing was never bad, but it’s remained entertaining all the way through, and who can ask for more? $4

Seck, Steve – Life is Good #6


Life is Good #6

Huzzah to Steve for including a concise, informative recap of past issues right on the inside front cover! Hey, if I’m going to bitch about all the people who don’t take that simple step, it stands to reason that I should praise the people who manage to do it, right? Anyway, if you’re not caught up in the series and have plans to at some point (it’s generally funny with a thoroughly ridiculous cast of characters and it looks great, so why wouldn’t you?), I’ll probably spoil a few bits from the past. This time around Charles is trying to come to grips with his “littering addiction,” Sewer Gator gets his revenge on Charles (possibly the most good-natured beating I’ve ever seen), and Peace Rock and Unity Flower continue to see their relationship fall apart (and she finally starts to see through Unity Flower). Also starring Brownie! Seriously, it’s odd that what started out as the main character gets less focus this time around, but at this point all of the other characters are more interesting anyway. Not that Brownie doesn’t have a thing to do, as his crudely drawn daily comics are discovered by Sewer Gator, who then exploits them for all they’re worth. That opening scene with Charles talking about his litter addiction in front of an AA group was beautiful, as was Unity Flower’s hiring a worker to take care of his duties. Steve’s built up a nice little universe here and it’ll be interesting to see what he makes of it over the coming issues. $4

Seck, Steve – Life is Good #5


Life is Good #5

Steve went and snuck in an extra comic along with #5, as this is a flip book that also contains #4. If you already bought #4, well, tough luck I guess. You could always give your original copy to somebody else who might like it to try and get Steve another regular reader, or you could just silently fume about it, but there are plenty of worse things to be mad about if that’s the way you wanted to go. Anyway, this issue, as you could probably tell from the cover, deals with Unity Flower and Dr. Peace Rock. Just the two of them, so if you’re looking for that elusive character development of the main characters, forget it. If you’re looking for development of these side characters (that may blossom into main characters, what do I know about it?) then you’re in luck! Unity Flower is, it turns out, desperately lonely. She’s been having a really rough time of it in the online dating world, so when a hippie comes into her bookstore and takes an interest in how she runs the place, she naturally becomes way too trusting way too fast. Dr. Peace Rock has his own ideas for an ideal bookstore, and they tend to equal very few people actually buying books at the store. Other than that the issue is a descent into hippie madness, as being a vegan was declared to be not pure enough and selling fiction books in her bookstore was considered to be morally indefensible. From there it’s all about Unity trying to figure out if not being alone with somebody that she was gradually starting to hate was worth the trouble. No sense in totally spoiling the ending, but Steve finally referenced back to that scene in #2 with these two stumbling across the drinking pond. The trouble is that that exact scene was a little hazy in my mind (I do read a lot of these funny books and my memory has never been the greatest), so I could have used a bit more of a refresher than an instruction to buy #2 if I was interested. It’s around here somewhere, and that’s a minor complaint anyway. There are also a few extra pages of content to make you slightly less cranky if you already bought #4, but if you decide to make this issue your life’s cause then I guess you can just wait for the hypothetical collection to come out. That’ll show him! $4

Seck, Steve – Life is Good #4


Life is Good #4

Steve apparently decided to skip all that character development stuff this time around and went with an issue that was all about drinking and hanging out with an asshole.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, this still being a free country for at least another week and all, but it was a little jarring.  Brownie is on top of the world and heads off to a bar that is celebrating happy hour all day.  Apparently he found a job?  That should warrant at least a mention.  Anyway, he meets Charles at the bar, but Sewer Gator is with him, and the two of them start a drinking contest.  Brownie finally convinces Charles to ditch the loser, but he is drunk so his definition of “ditching” involves telling the guy where they are going to escape his company.  A literal pissing contest ensues and, without giving too much more away, I do very much approve of the depiction of cops as literal fuzz.  It ends up being a pretty funny comic, but I was just starting to get a wee bit invested in the characters and only fleeting references to their lives are included in this issue.  Ah well, can’t have everything, and a good comic is still a good comic even if it’s not exactly what I was looking for.  It’s smaller than the other ones, so it’s a measly $2 this time around if you’re just looking to give the series a try.

Seck, Steve – Life is Good #3


Life is Good #3

Reality is starting to sink in by this issue for Brownie, as he sees that those precious unemployment benefits aren’t going to cut it but he still has time to kill before he can find another job.  While having no money and living in a big city.  Hijinx ensue, as it really is tough to find anything entertaining to do for free in such an environment.  Then there’s the return of the altruistic hippies who are, surprise surprise, mostly in it to make themselves feel better and not so much to help others or the world.  I know, that’s a horrible thing to say about the hippies who really are trying to save the world, but I’ve met a lot more hippies in my time who just wanted the moral high ground than I have hippies who really wanted to save the planet.  The ones who were most amusing were the ones who didn’t get the disconnect, but then again I am generally profoundly cynical and the inevitable destruction of the planet doesn’t amuse most people as much as it does me. Yep, I can still bring a review down, no question about it.  Other happenings this time around include a drunk fight on the street that costs money to watch (and the method for blocking out this fight was hysterical), hanging out with a friend who used to be cool and seeing how sad his life has gotten, and the lengths these two will go to in order to get booze when they’re both broke.  Once again it’s a pile of funny, especially if you’re unemployed or have been recently and can relate to exactly what these sad sacks are talking about. Check it out why don’t you, that creature that blocks their view of the fight is worth the price of admission all by himself… $4

Seck, Steve – Life is Good #2


Life is Good #2

Hippies!  You see a couple of them on the cover, looming over the city like some bespectacled Godzillas.  Godzilli?  I don’t think there was ever a need for a plural of “Godzilla,” so who knows?  Anyway, hippies are a good chunk of the theme this issue, as Charles wakes up from another drunken bender to hear two hippies bemoaning the sad state of his pond before it devolves into an argument about bumper stickers.  Naturally, they decide to team up on some sort of crusade that isn’t clearly defined yet, but there are still two more issues to come in this pile, so I’m sure all will be made clear later.  Meanwhile Brownie wakes up after that same bender, needing to get down to the unemployment office, with very little time to spare and no money.  After not doing much but getting drunk for a few days he doesn’t look all that presentable, and that’s not necessarily the best shape to enter an unemployment office in.  Good news follows, unexpectedly so, but you have to realize that this would be a pretty boring comic if it really stayed good news, right?  It’s another solid issue, and damned relatable to me in my current unemployed state (except for the whole “getting unemployment checks” angle; no, nobody pays me to write on my own website about comics.) The character development is still a bit on the thin side, but this is a funny book, not something that is designed to delve into the past of these two and find out why Charles is so lazy.  A couple of clues would be nice, but it’s early in the series yet and Steve still does an excellent job of nailing the funny bits.  Check it out already, chances are it will make you smile, and there’s not a thing wrong with that.  $4

Seck, Steve – Life is Good #1


Life is Good #1

Ah, the idea of all creatures living together in harmony.  I don’t think that was on Steve’s mind as he wrote and drew this, but I generally can’t read minds, so what do I know?  I was mostly commenting on the fact that there are so many different anthropomorphized beings in this comic that it has to represent some sort of perfect world.  There’s the bottle on the cover (the main character, and that makes it extra funny when he eventually descends into drunkenness), an alligator, a carrot, a cat, snakes, a chicken, an octopus, a dog, an ice cream cone, a turtle, a mustard bottle, a pig, and something that appears to the letter “T” with eyes.  If nothing else, the man gets points for creativity.  Anyway, things start off with Brown (the main character, also know as “Brownie”) in a meeting with his boss.  He obviously isn’t thought of all that highly, as his boss takes a lengthy call with the, um, “guy” still sitting there, and the boss eventually gets down to the business of firing him.  Sure, it’s a lousy job, but Brown had always hoped to quit in a blaze of glory, and getting fired has robbed him of that plan.  Brown’s friend Charles the alligator (or is it a crocodile?  What’s the difference again?) insists that Brown get drunk for at least a week, as getting fired for the first time is a perfect excuse to do so, and Brownie eventually succumbs, but only after a seriously bizarre dream.  Hijinx, naturally, ensue.  Steve has a great ear for dialogue, as several simple lines left me chuckling that could have been banal as hell in the wrong hands. This is early days of the series (he sent along the next three issues as well), and the backgrounds are occasionally a little scratchy or vague, but the variety of the characters helps a lot, as does the engaging nature of the story.  It’s possible you’ve read your last mini comic story about getting fired and moving on with your life afterwards, but if you aren’t predisposed against the genre so far I’d say this is worth a look.  It’s hard to hate something that is this consistently funny and engaging unless you’re just trapped in a cycle of cynicism…  $4