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Hart, Tom – She’s Not Into Poetry



She’s Not Into Poetry

Do you ever feel like you’ve wished something into existence? Well, that’s this graphic novel. I’ve been hoping for a collection of all of Tom’s early mini comics basically since a few of them went out of print in the 90’s, and here they are. All the titles are in the tags and sure, I have copies of about 2/3 of them, but that’s still 1/3 that I previously had no access to. And since I have some of the original comics, that means that I have 20 year old belly lint by Tom Hart, because he taped that to two of his minis. Um, yay? Does that mean I can clone him once the technology is perfected? I have to think through the ethical implications of that responsibility. Oh, am I not talking about the comics yet? How about this: these comics were a solid chunk of the reason why I fell in love with small press comics, and the fact that these had mostly disappeared down the memory hole in the early 00’s was a solid chunk of the reason why I started a small press comics review site where books like these could all be lumped together. So yeah, you could say that the guy influenced my life just a bit. Oh, here’s one valid question I could answer with this review: do these comics hold up as more than nostalgia? Yes. Yes, they do. Want specifics? Wodaabe Comics is the earliest (and rawest) and it still made me laugh several times. Love Looks Left, if there is any justice in this world, is being taught in all these various cartoonists schools as the perfect mini comic. Maria mixes some casual background horror with a quiet day with the ducks with an obsessed stalker seemlessly. New Hat and Ramadan are both basically prequel comics for Hutch Owens, even though I’m pretty sure Hutch Owens was done at roughly the same time. Vital supplementary comics, the both of them. This comic does make me miss the days when I could occasionally come across a new Tom Hart mini comic in Quimby’s or Chicago Comics, and it looks like those days are gone for good. But it does fill me with hope to know that a guy with this brain is helping to teach the next generation of cartoonists. Just in case you are the only person on earth who has every single comic here, this volume does contain a new introduction, afterward, and a list of his favorite things/influences/people, then and now. $14.95

Hart, Tom – The Most Powerful Gate


The Most Powerful Gate

I wonder how many 24 hour comics Tom did back in the day?  This is another one (from 6/24/95), and all of the comics I’ve seen from him with this format seem to be of the 24 hour variety.  As usual, that means a slight dip in the quality of the art, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the quality of the story, and Tom does know a trick or two to speed up the process (like drawing some of the action in the dark).  This one is the story of a man and his monkey and another man on an island.  The man on the island spends most of the issue saying (seemingly) random things, and the monkey ends up sick from too many bananas.  There’s eventually a convergence of sorts, but the ending is highly open to interpretation and, even though this is 15 (!) years old, my hesitance to use any sort of spoilers still remains.  Hey, who knows, maybe Tom or some publishing company will wise up and put a bunch of these old minis back in print one of these days.  I will say that compared to some of his other minis this one didn’t do as much for me, which is sort of like saying that it would suck for somebody to hand you $100 after that same person had spent the past few months handing you $1000 every day.  Still worth a look, and seeing as how Fantagraphics just put out a collection of some of the best small press comics from the 80’s, would it really be a terrible thing to do the same thing for the best minis from the 90’s?  It’s pretty much impossible to find minis from either era, after all…