It’s time for another gaggle of comics from America’s favorite funny man, Robb Mirsky! OK fine, maybe not all of America, but give them time. This is a collection of shorties that mostly appeared in various other anthologies, but even if you’ve bought every comic put out over the last several years, at least a few of these appear to be new. And even if you did, why not get them in one handy package? This is the part of the review where I attempt to talk about funny things without sucking all the joy out of them, which has had mixed results in the past. So if you’re looking for something short: if you already like his work, or if you just need a laugh, absolutely give this one a shot. For you folks who like to know exactly what you’re getting, stories in here include a lesson on trash, a relentlessly cheery man out for a walk, an action hero pushed out of an airplane (that was maybe the funniest thing in here for several reasons), a few four panel strips with the lovable duo of Dingus and Dum-Dum, a pretty great Halloween story that I maybe shouldn’t have ruined by using the punchline as the sample image, and a few other bits that I’m leaving for you. There’s also a story where Robb is visited by his younger punk self as he’s driving his kids to school, berating older Robb for changing and selling out. It’s a fantastic piece for any former punk (or punk-adjacent) person, and he did a solid job of defending his life choices to his punkier self. I mention this one in detail mostly because he ended up pulling out a punk album that he hadn’t heard in years by NOFX, which in my punky days was considered to be a sellout band because (reasons long forgotten, if they were ever real). Which wasn’t the punchline he was intending, I reckon, but a hilarious illustration to me of the hopeless endeavor of remaining a “pure punk” with constantly changing rules. Kids, I’m old enough to have watched friends have to deal with Green Day going from small punk band to megastars and the turmoil they went through. The struggle is real! And silly. $10
Generic Action Hero
What a fantastic example of a title saying everything the reader needs to know. The sampled page, in case you were curious, is the second page of the mini comic. First our hero has to endure the standard villain monologue, then the rest of the comic shows how he gets out of this predicament, with at least one more heroic act completed while falling from the plane. Oh, and Robb wasn’t kidding about that bonus poster. It’s everything you could want out of a poster for a generic action hero, that’s for sure. This is the part of the review where I would usually say that I don’t want to spoil anything further, but in this case, a thought experiment for the reader seems like a better idea. If you saw a generic action movie where the hero was pushed out of a plane while handcuffed and blindfolded, how do you think he would get out of it? He can’t punch gravity, after all. A hint: in these types of scenarios, the villain usually provides the means for the hero to get out of it, either through overkill or an inability to help themselves. Work it out from there! As for whether or not this was a good read, I mean, yeah, of course it was. Robb’s stuff is consistently funny, and that’s absolutely the case when he’s using as big of a target as this as the subject of his comic. Sludgy will always have a special place in my heart, but I’m glad that Robb takes the time to make shorties like this one too. $3
Hey, if the place selling the comics is calling it #4.5, I’ll do the same. It’s Sludgy! That’s what I say out loud when I see one of these comics, which is maybe odd and/or the sign of a problem, but it’s true nonetheless. This time around our favorite goop monster with the heart of gold is once again on the outside looking in, watching an older guy enjoying his day. They’re both in a park, but the old man is sitting on a park bench and feeding the birds, while poor Sludgy is alone in the bushes and he just wants to make a friend. But this time around, there’s a twist: the person he meets is blind. Is this all that’s been standing in Sludgy’s way of making a pal, or is it more his personality or goopy body? You’ll have to read it to find out, which I’m guessing most people of good taste reading this are already doing, so I guess this is more of an alert: there’s a new Sludgy comic out there! It’s an awfully sweet issue, and the mayhem is kept to a minimum, but if you’re still capable of processing joy there’s not much to complain about here. It’s probably a solid starting point if you are new to the series too, as you get a good peek into Sludgy’s world while still having a pile of backstory to catch up on once you figure out that you love it. $5
Dingus and Dum-Dum
Note: his main website (which you can reach through his Instagram page) is still listed as high risk for viruses for me, which may be a problem on his end or a problem on my end. You can still contact him through Instagram, so just do that if you want his comics. Oh, also I’m reviewing his comic. This is the third of three minis he sent me recently, but you’ll have to wait for review of the other one. Why? Because I grabbed this one randomly to review, obviously. Is this mini the most straightforward of Robb’s comics that I’ve seen so far? Good golly, it absolutely is. You could plop most of these four panel strips into any Sunday comics from a newspaper (I’m just assuming that’s still a thing) and they wouldn’t seem that out of place. That being said, they’re still funny, and maybe it’s just me but the humor seems to have an edge to it, like Dingus could legit snap at any moment. But yes, this is a comic you could leave lying around on a living room table without freaking out if a child saw it. The gist of this comic is that Dingus has a terrible gambling problem, with a few solid punchlines along the way to illustrate that fact. This also has the same physical layout as his previous mini that I reviewed, meaning that if you fold it open you’re treated to a full page (and full color) Sunday style comic that serves as a delightful epilogue to the comic itself. Give it a look, if only so you can determine if you’re more like a Dingus or more like a Dum-Dum.
Instagram (website setting off antiviral alarm bells)
Since this is the second website in a row to set off my antiviral software, maybe something’s wrong with that and not these websites. Either way, you can get to his regular website through his Instagram if it is just me. Oh hi, you caught me in the middle of a thought that’s unrelated to the review. This is a delightful mini comic by Robb, the first in a series of three that he sent my way. Sure, that means no Sludgy for the moment, but it’s also good to see him branching out. This is full color mayhem with two stories, and one bonus story if you can find it. The main stories follow the same theme: disaffected youths. Or lemons. First up is a cop hassling two kids for no good reason at all, which leads to an inevitable reaction from the youth. Next up is the excitement of a new mall opening up in town meeting up with the reality of a new mall opening up in town. Finally… maybe I should keep the last story a secret. You won’t see it on the regular pages of the comic, so give a little tug around the edges to see what I’m talking about. If you get there, you’ll get to a wordless tale that raises more questions than answers about the biological makeup of these creatures, with a solid punchline to boot. Good clean lemony fun all around here, so give it a shot why don’t you? $3.50
It’s everybody’s favorite constantly melting creature who’s just trying to have a good time, Sludgy! Which, in case you’re new to this, is actually more than one creature, and they can make more Sludgys through various bodily excretions. Vomit, specifically, at least as far as this issue is concerned. This one has three stories in it, each showing off a different aspect of life as a Sludgy. First up are two Sludgy friends as they travel through the forest. They get hungry and end up eating some mushrooms that have pretty extreme hallucinogenic side effects. Remember, these creatures can make conscious, sentient duplicates out of themselves, which is problematic enough when you’re not tripping in the forest. As it is, there’s some serious questions about which Sludgy is which and what aspects of what they’re seeing are actually happening. Next up in the story of a Sludgy whose home is in danger of being flooded, and since water can dissolve a Sludgy things get tense in a hurry. Finally there’s the Sludgy who just wants to introduce himself to a pair of young lovers. He stops himself, realizing that his appearance might cause a panic, and thinks he’s come up with a better way to say hello. I’ll leave it to the reader to discover whether or not he was correct. These comics are a hoot, and seemingly every story raises more questions about what exactly is going on with these creatures, so I’m curious to see what happens next. Bring on the Sludgys! $6
How much can you really do with several stories written about bricks? Quite a bit more than you’d imagine, I’d say. This is a collection of several stories featuring this brick (or is it a different brick every time? Bricks are short on identifying features) having adventures. Sometimes they’re single page stories, sometimes they go a few pages or even longer. The whole book is silent outside of his crossover with Robb Mirsky and his Dingus and Dum-Dum characters, as their chattiness clearly could not be contained. This is yet another review where I try not to spoil too much from a mostly wordless comic, because if I did that you’d have no incentive to see what’s in here for yourself. His website also has several samples, because that’s how websites work. So, let’s see… in here you have bricks rocking out, bricks doing chores, bricks skateboarding, bricks pooping, bricks playing sports, bricks taking an eye exam, bricks carving a pumpkin, etc. There are a whole lot more stories in here, but even describing the premise tends to give away a huge chunk of the concept. I’ll just say that David is able to get more out of the three holes and square shape of a brick than I would have thought possible, and he has a few other comics available as well, so he’s not new to the concept. I read this one before the other comic he sent me, which apparently has the origin story of the brick, so maybe I’ll eventually find out how this brick got sentience? Eh, I’m just guessing here, but I doubt it. Some stories don’t need explanations. He put the price listing under Canadian monies, but it looks like it’s roughly $12 for any American types out there.
Well, this comic certainly lives up that tagline. Robb had a recap on the inside front cover dealing with what exactly a “Sludgy” is, which was a big help to somebody like me who was jumping in cold. The storyline itself didn’t seem like it needed much of a recap; this feels more like a series of adventures starring Sludgy, not some grand adventure where Sludgy saves the world at the end of it. Of course, if that does end up happening I’m going to end up feeling like a real idiot. This one starts off in fairly serious fashion, as two guys are digging a grave out in the swamp for a guy who’s currently in their trunk. When one of them goes back to retrieve the body he hears a voice from the woods and sees a shadowy figure. The man, what with him currently committing a crime at all, shoots at this shadow, which brings his partner to him. Then they both see the shadow, come to the same conclusion and shoot him a whole bunch of times. After that they split off to chase him, and mayhem ensues (yep, this is the point where I figure I’m getting to close to spoiler land). That covers a little more than half of the comic, but wait, there’s more! There’s an ongoing series of stories dealing with a mosquito who’s sucked up some toxic waste and the trail of destruction he leaves behind him, the natural result of a Sludgy sliding down a hill (and the hilarious conclusion), and the end result of a Sludgy trying to fly. As these creatures can split off from each other to make new Sludgys, there’s certainly a conversation here to be had about the nature of consciousness, whether or not the same consciousness in a different body is a new person or the same person, etc. But I’m not going to get into any of that, as it’s so clearly against the nature of this book, which is simply to have fun. That’s what ends up getting Sludgy into trouble every time, and it’s frankly refreshing to see in a comic about a toxic sludge monster. So yes, if you’re in the mood for some adorable horror (and you can keep those two ideas in your head without your brain exploding), this one is definitely worth a look. $6