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Winter, JB – Izzy Challenge #5


Izzy Challenge #5

This has turned into a weekend of anthology comics here at ye olde Optical Sloth, and these are a couple of good ones to contrast.  The other comic reviewed was the first issue of the Trubble Club anthology, in case anybody reads this years down the line and wants to compare.  In this issue, JB recruited people to do a panel each, based on a state, and have the story be about Izzy traveling through all 50 states.  It had to be all ages stuff, JB sent an image of Izzy along and the artist had to fill in the backgrounds.  With Trubble Club, well, I’m not entirely sure how they did their stories, but they certainly weren’t all ages (a plus in my book), and they had a whole page to set up a story, not just one panel.  It’s probably silly to compare the two books, as they’re aiming to do completely different things, and… you know, that’s a good argument, so I will.  This comic is less about a story than it is about the challenge to have 50 artists represent something from each state, whether or not that something has anything to do with reality.  Looking at JB’s website I can see that he/she has experimented with the individual panel idea before in different ways, and I’m all for people pushing the boundaries of this “graphic art” idea as far as it can go, so kudos to him/her.  There’s also a deal up at the moment (through the end of December) where you can get #1-5 of this series for $3.50, which is a good a chance as any to see what other experiments have been going on with the Izzy Challenges.  So, to sum up, the Izzy Challenge books are a fascinating look into single panels from all over the country (because that’s what they were trying to do) and Trubble Club is a fascinating look into utterly random jam comics that somehow stick to a basic theme (because that’s what THEY were trying to do).  Can you believe I’m not rich from such utterly random commentary yet?  Yeah, me too.  Oh, and as for the list of contributors to this book, check out that website listed above, as I’m not typing 50 names in here.  Some of the people I know are listed on this page are Jack Turnbull, Isaac Cates, Barry Rodges, Sarah Morean, Joshua Cotter and Matt Feazell, but that’s a very incomplete list.  $1

Morean, Sarah – Winter Comic


Winter Comic

What’s a better time to talk about a comic about winter than the start of July? Granted, it’s not even all that warm at the moment, but it’s the thought that counts. This is the story of two people at a bus stop, chatting about how much they love the cold weather. Yep, it’s really as simple as that. This is a tiny mini at $.50 and it’ll probably take you even less time to read than the one up there that’s only a quarter. Still, if you desperately need to see some kind of snow at the moment, you could do a whole lot worse than this.

Morean, Sarah – More!



Seems like it’s been a week for mostly tiny minis, and this one is the tiniest of them all. It’s only a quarter, as you can see from that giant price on the cover, and it’ll take you about 30 seconds to read it. However, they are a very funny 30 seconds, so take that for what it’s worth. How much is 30 seconds of funny worth to you� If it’s a quarter, you’re in luck! This is the story of the wonders of small children and their appreciation for the finer things in life. Or how they’re mostly obnoxious little assholes. Is it appropriate to call children assholes? Well, if not then they should stop acting like them. $.25

Morean, Sarah – A Bad Time For A Polar Bear


A Bad Time For A Polar Bear

Ah, the simple minis, I do love them so. This one is various different kinds of one panel scenes involving, oddly enough, a polar bear having a bad time. Visiting his father in a zoo, being lit on fire, trying to stay on the melting ice, waiting for a phone call from its friends, and having mixed feelings about the warmth of a bear rug are some of the problems this guy (or gal) must face. Sarah was kind enough to send a few more books along with this, so I’ll have the chance to check the rest of her stuff out soon enough. For now, what’s not to like about a polar bear having a bad time� Especially for a measly dollar, this is well worth a look.

Morean, Sarah – Human



The mark of a great autobiographical story is, to me, the fact that I really want to see what happens next to the author when the story is done. That’s certainly true here. Sarah lays out her dating history, all the way from the first kiss on to current day, dealing in frank terms with screw-ups and STD’s along the way. OK, the STD was singular, but I’m pretty sure the screw-ups are plural. It’s a completely engrossing story; I wouldn’t have believed I just read 120 pages if I hadn’t checked on her website. She lays everything out here, hanging out with friends, trying to figure out the right person to date and who to keep as “just friends”, talking about where to live and who to be. And it’s funny! If you get the impression that it’s just a dryly told life store, forget it, I laughed out loud more than a few times here. It’s $9, which may seem steep to some of you, but there’s a whole lot of comic here, well worth it in my book. As for me, I’m still looking forward to seeing what happens next…

Moorman, Ed Choy (editor) – Ghost Comics



Ghost Comics (edited by Ed Choy Moorman)

Sometimes I make these reviews overly complicated, and I probably will with this one too, so I wanted to sum it up simply: this is a collection of different takes on ghost stories from some of the best small press cartoonists around.  Ta-da!  What more do you need to know?  There are all kinds of highlights to choose from, and somehow there’s not a stinker in the bunch.  That’s a rare thing with anthologies, but Ed has put together quite a cast here.  Things start off strong with Hob’s tale of a dinosaur ghost witnessing everything that follows its death and the eventual destruction of the earth.  From there Jeffrey Brown talks about making a fool of himself to a member of a band he likes, Corinne Mucha implies that the “ghosts” in her dorm were really just an excuse to get people to sleep together for protection, Maris Wicks goes into detail about the creepy and non-creepy aspects of living with a ghost as a kid, Madleine Queripel relates the reality of trying to scatter ashes, Toby Jones (professional boyfriend) goes into how useless he is when confronted with death, Lucy Knisley visits an old school she attended briefly and is shocked by the sheer number of ghosts still around, Allison Cole finds a practical way to rid herself of ghosts, Evan Palmer tells the tale of a knight misguidedly trying to win love, and Jessica McLeod warns of the dangers of ghost tomatoes.  Then there’s my favorite (among many “favorite”) story: Kevin Cannon’s tale of all the major landmarks of the world joining together into a Voltron-like creation to fight evil, how one member of that band is destroyed  and, as a ghost, sees a plot to destroy the world.  Any more detail than that would ruin it, but trust me, it’s a purely awesome thing.  If that still hasn’t convinced you, here’s everybody else involved: Ed Choy Moorman (duh), Aidan Koch, Mike Lowery, Sean Lynch, Sarah Morean, Jillian Schroeder, Zak Sally, Abby Mullen, Eileen Shaughnessy, Tuesday Bassen, Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig, Jenny Tondera, John Hankiewicz, Will Dinski, Mark Scott, Monica Anderson, Warren Craghead III and John Porcellino.  Topping off that pile of talent is the fact that this is a benefit anthology, with proceeds going to the RS Eden, which started off as a chemical dependency center and evolved into helping community members at need in all sorts of areas.  So it’s for a good cause, it’s packed with talent and it’s only $10.  Sounds like a no-brainer to me.  $10