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Howard, Luke – Our Mother



Our Mother

Quick show of hands, who suffers from some form of clinical depression? All the technology at our disposal and nobody seems any closer at being able to fix any of that for a sustained period of time. This comic is the story of Luke’s mother and her history of depression… sort of. Things start off with a darkly hilarious bit about her parents meeting a mysterious figure in an alley and trying to come up with the best way to make their daughter’s life miserable. They settle on making it so that she doesn’t even want to eat food any more, and from there we get to see the incredibly awkward explanation given by Luke’s father (while his mother is slumped insensate on the couch) about why he’s leaving them. Still, a comic purely about her depression would be unspeakably, well, depressing, so Luke mixes it up with a science fiction story about giant robots in the future who are looking for living humans to care for, the humans who are seemingly invisible to them, and the fruitless nature of them trying to change anything. We also get peeks into Luke trying to give his mother any kind of happiness or relief, a quest to find and use a mysterious portal, the attempted training of an ape and finally the actual history of her depression and the efforts she’s made to get over it. The ending sort of petered out about, but since Luke actually incorporated that fact into the story I think he gets a pass on it. Plus we get to see a farting hotdog, which I did not think I would be doing when I woke up this morning. If you have any history of depression or know anybody who does (which should cover the entire population at this point), there’s a lot to love in here. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find something in here to help you or your loved one. If not, at least you get 20 minutes or so away from the harsh realities of the world, and isn’t that more or less priceless? $9


Various Artists – Irene #4



Irene #4

As far as I can tell there’s no editor listed for this anthology (unless I’m supposed to assume that Amy Lockhart is the editor because she’s the first person named on the credits page?), but whoever put this thing together deserves a medal for having Ben Juers do single page strips in between the other stories. They never fail to be at least amusing, and most of them are hilarious, which is a welcome break from some of the stories in here. They can get a bit depressing which, as some of them are based on real life, is the way things actually happened, so it’s hard to complain about it. But between those comics, the true life stories and the more abstract pieces, this is a damned well-rounded collection. As always, I’m not going to go through and review every bit of this anthology, as that’s half the fun for people who are going to be reading this for themselves. But I will mention my favorite bits! Emi Gennis starts things off with the story of Lake Nyos in Cameroon and what happened there in 1986. Over a million tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere around the lake, which led to only six inhabitants of the nearby town waking up the next day, unsure if the world had ended. On the other end of the spectrum, Andy Warner has one of the best opening page brawls that I’ve ever seen in a comic, and follows through with a wordless tale about a band against some “bad guys.” James K. Hindle has a thoughtful piece about a young boy, a young girl he meets, a fire in the town and how it all comes together. Laura Terry’s story starts off where it ends, and we slowly come to meet and understand the “dark” being she keeps seeing that won’t leave her alone. Mazen Kerbaj lets us in on the secret thoughts of boats, Jackie Roche tells the story (that I’d never heard) of where Lincoln was taken after he was shot but before he died, Georgia Webber refers to her recently losing her ability to speak and how much social media has meant to her since then, and things wrap up with Jan Berger’s piece on awakenings, seeing what’s real and how to save the world. I’m leaving a bunch of stuff out, as this is over 150 pages and, as is usually the case in anthologies, there were a few stories/pages that didn’t do a whole lot for me. But the good vastly outweighed the not-so-good (I won’t even call them “bad”), and there’s plenty in here to recommend it to people. $15