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Breutzman, Nicholas – Yearbooks (with Shaun Feltz & Raighne Hogan)



Yearbooks (with Shaun Feltz & Raighne Hogan)

Technically this should probably be on the Various Good Minnesotans page, but as it’s mostly the work of Nicholas (as artist and one of two writers), he gets his own page!  Besides, all those various folks from Minnesota are all going to be doing their own solo work soon, if they’re not already, so why not start giving them all their own pages now?  Before I even get into the story here, I have to say that the art is absolutely gorgeous.  Nicholas uses the silences of his characters beautifully to convey emotions that would take him pages of exposition and Raighne nails the drabness of high school while still managing the vibrancy of the students and the general high school art world.  As for the story, it’s the tale of a young high school student as he tries to navigate the hallways and avoid getting beat up, learn something from a wise art teacher (but one who’s reluctant to show his own work), and deal with his feelings, whatever they are, for an attractive female friend.  It’s all tied together by a dream Ryan as he imagines a younger class, all doing their bleak and honest art projects, which causes their teacher to turn into a literal moonbat.  In the meantime there’s Ryan trying to learn the basics from his art teacher while coming to the sudden realization that the guy, his expertise notwithstanding, is a bit of a creep.  No, I can’t say more without ruining the comic.  There are many books that go back to the high school years in sort of a perfunctory way, dealing with the actual events but without managing to capture the mood.  The whole art team does that beautifully here, as Ryan knows that minding his own business is not enough to avoid confrontations, his female friend struggles basically alone to grow up while being young, gorgeous and a loner, and the whole book beautifully illustrates that the only person you can count on in high school is yourself.  Another great comic from this crew, here’s hoping that they stick with their anthology while managing to put out great projects like this.  I wouldn’t have guessed Minnesota to be one of the places that could legitimately be called the future of comics, but if these people keep this up they might well get there.  $13


Various Good Minnesotans – Good Minnesotan #3



Good Minnesotan #3

These people just keep improving the design scheme of these anthologies. This one can go right on your bookshelf, what with the spine and all.  If they keep this up #4 is going to have one of those gold-embossed covers that the big companies were using for a few years back when I cared about such things.  How about the contents?  I’d say this is their strongest issue yet, or at least certainly their most consistent.  Not a bad story in the bunch.  I should note that all these stories have brief bios of the creators before the stories as well as contact info and your best place to get all that is either through their website or by buying the book, as I’m far too lazy to list all that stuff here.  Noah Harmon has a piece about a squid trying to communicate an idea, Toby Jones details his ethical and practical struggle with mice, Madeline Queripel sums up a courtship in one page, Meghan Hogan has the start of a graphic novel about great horned owls (and she might want to avoid dark text against a dark background, but other than that it was fascinating), Justin Skarhus & Raighne Hogan tell the tale of a day of vari0us inescapable sexcapades, Ed Moorman details a year of firsts in one night, Abigail Mullen wants a small house, Anna Bonguivanni eats a baby (and wins the prize for the most gorgeous artwork in the book), Reynold Kissling helps demonstrate why even starting a relationship is so difficult, and Danno Klonowski has a stream of true nonsense from the local crazy person.  I left two stories out, mostly because they could have been comics in their own right.  John & Luke Holden spell out an utterly directionless life just about as well as I’ve ever seen, as a total lump of a man loses his last job and wanders around trying to barely not be homeless, and Nicholas Breutzman shows us the ongoing war between desperate meth addicts and people who live in secluded homes.  This is the best work yet from pretty much everybody listed (that I’ve seen anyway, as a few of them have some pretty extensive credits listed before this book) and it does an excellent job of keeping the reader engaged for its 100+ pages.  Send them some money and/or start thinking about beginning one of these anthologies in your own neck of the woods, why don’t you? $12


Various Good Minnesotans – Good Minnesotan #2


Good Minnesotan #2

Huzzah for a second issue!  Even better news is that this was actually sent to me months ago and I’m just now getting to it, meaning that the third issue is almost out as well.  That level of productivity is never a bad thing.  OK, so the first review was mostly gushing due to how I impressed I was at the concept, so this time I’ll stick more to the content.  It’s the same cast of artists with a few new people thrown in.  First up is Back Pages by Ed Moorman, a fictional (?) conversation with a confrontational Bob Dylan in 1966.  Thoroughly engaging and sharp, and it’s certainly not hard to imagine that conversation taking place with Bob Dylan.  Next is Halloween (Revisited) by Gail Kern, and I have to apologize for using the last page of her story as the sample for this issue.  Regular readers of this site know that I hate spoilers, but that image of the headless horseman frantically trying to save his head is going to be lodged in my brain for weeks.  Meghan Hogan is up next with a bit of poetry about wanting to fight a shark, followed by a surprisingly mournful tale of growing old with someone and the mistakes they made along the way.  Next is an untitled piece by Joseph Nixon, a mostly impressionistic “origin story” on how he knew he wanted to be a painter, which is probably at least a little bit more interesting than most.  Raighne Hogan & Alex Witts team up next to tell the tale of a dictator, his methods and the inevitable conclusion.  Luke has a long but tiny (if you see the pictures you’ll know what I mean) story about… oh crap, a wordless story I have to interpret.  OK, there’s a bird chirping a story to a human about a large monsterish creature going for a walk, playing with its shadow and jumping out of a car.  Yep, that’s why they pay me the big bucks.  Finally there’s The Ripoff by Nicholas Breutzman, possibly the highlight of a collection of solid pieces, involving a pierced penis and the very literal usage of the title.  If you like your anthologies diverse and thought-provoking, you could do a whole lot worse than this.  The $12 price tag may scare a few people off but this thing is packed, and I didn’t even go into all the extra sketches and images at the back of the book.  Worth a look.