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Barrett, Pat – Oak & Linden #2



Oak & Linden #2

I know, I should probably include multiple contact links for authors more often, it’s just that if I did that for everybody then I wouldn’t know when to stop. Do I list their Facebook pages too? What about Twitter? Google Plus? The next two or three methods we adopt to communicate with each other without ever having to see other humans (I’m for a version of Twitter where you can only communicate using three to five emoticons for each message)? Eh, I’ll probably be forced to change with the times like everybody else sooner or later. Speaking of these times, that Center for Cartoon Studies sure is producing a bumper crop of mini comics these days. Granted, they’re often assignments from these classes, which makes them a little rough in spots, but the same thing is exactly true for the genuine “amateur” mini comics. This time around Pat went with mostly short pieces because (as he mentions in one of the stories) he had to do a lot of short pieces for class around this time. Which means that the next chapter of Petrified Girlfriend isn’t in here, which was a bit of a disappointment. Stories in this one include the downfall of the (large, cloud-ridden) gods, thinking while drawing a mountain, three million for a boat (which sounds steep, but you also have to consider that the man renting the boat was not wearing pants, which can cause prices to go up), an amusing night at the movies, and the pile of food that ensues when the author is back in New York for one day. Don’t fret, as there are also a couple of longer pieces. The first deals with a Captain Kirk-like starship captain who’s marooned on a strange planet with “intriguing, buxom creatures.” They don’t fall for his charms, but they do mention what their planet is made out of, much to their chagrin. Finally there’s a story of a robbery at a hanging and what’s inside of the rich man’s wallet. Overall a couple of the single page pieces didn’t do much for me, but what can you say, the man was making them for a daily diary strip class. That still leaves a pile of stories ranging from just interesting to great, which makes it a comic worth seeking out. $3.50

Barrett, Pat – Oak & Linden #1


Oak & Linden #1

I should mention right off the bat that I reviewed the fourth issue of this series a few weeks back and that it’s just about never a good idea to go and review earlier comics from an artist after you’ve already read their later, more polished work. Right away there’s an element of “why weren’t you as good at the beginning as you were after you’d had a few years to polish your skills” about the whole thing that’s just not fair to an artist. That being said, the guy did send me a whole pile of his comics, so what am I going to do, not talk about them? And with that kind of set-up you’d probably think that this comic was horrible, when instead it was just mixed, which is what you can expect with most first issues anyway. There are four stories in this one, and I did like how Pat listed them all on the cover. First up is a piece about a time traveling Abraham Lincoln, taken from when he was a young man in 1832. If you like zipatone then you’ll love this one, but in terms of a story it’s pretty thin. Still, there are a few funny bits if you like over-the-top hyperbole between two brightly colored foes. Next up is a story “from the future” about a hip-hop robot and his rapid rise and fall. Hey, such things would be a bit of novelty act, even in the future. Another OK story, but again nothing to really fully hold your interest, unless you’re extremely interested in a hypothetical hip-hop robot in the future. Next is easily the best story in the comic about a petrified girlfriend. Well, she doesn’t start out that way, but she’s increasingly telling her boyfriend that she’s cold and that he has to warm her up soon, but the boyfriend gets to her too late and she ends up petrified. Hey, anybody who has ever dated somebody who’s extremely susceptible to cold has wondered if that was possible. The boyfriend takes advantage of the situation to finally show her Star Wars, but years pass and things move on for the boyfriend. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers but I did thoroughly enjoy that story and apparently it was continued in future issues. Finally there’s a silent piece about a man with an old film projector for a head and his dream about playing in a baseball game. I did like the ending for that one, but overall it was another OK story. So if I had read this one first (instead of #4), would I have been so “meh” about it? Probably not; the potential of both the art and the writing is pretty obvious here, and we already know that he put it all together a few issues down the road. If the man becomes a small press comics god then you might want a copy of this one to see where he came from, if not then it looks like there are plenty of better, later comics of his available, so maybe you should stick with those. $6