Blog Archives

Dinski,Will – Fingerprints



I have a list of people making mini comics who should really have been published by now (well, not a literal list, but I could rattle some names off the top of my head pretty easily), and Will Dinski has long been one of those names.  His “Habitual Entertainment” series, “An Endorsement of Smoking” and some other shorties have long had me wondering why none of the “big” small press publishers have gobbled him up yet.  Well, the wait is over, as Top Shelf turns out to be the smart ones of the group.  In this gorgeous graphic novel Will tells the story of a plastic surgeon, a female actor that he has basically completely remade (and she’s almost JUST RIGHT), the surgeon’s assistant and a closeted gay male movie star.  Oh, and the aging wife of the surgeon, can’t forget her.  We get to see these mostly soulless people in all their glory, and our “hero” the surgeon has the world by the tail before his assistant starts her own practice with a revolutionary new invention: a helmet you can put on to change your features into one of the two previously mentioned stars.  The order of the plastic surgery universe is turned on its head, but gosh, that invention sure did come about awfully quick, and who knows what the side effects will be?  Anybody who has seen Will’s work knows that it’s damned near flawless, and this time you get that quality alongside a full color package.  He says plenty about the culture’s obsession of youth and beauty over common sense, but it never gets to a the preachy obnoxiousness which would have been so very justified.  He even manages to be funny!  I often say that books are worth a look, but your buying this one will probably help convince Top Shelf that he deserves more graphic novels as well, which will lead to more wonderful books like this one about any number of topics that are undoubtedly floating around Will’s brain.  Think of a purchase of this book as a step towards the artistic development of one of the more gifted artists around and do your small press civic duty!  $14.95  Oh, and “duty” probably comes across too strong, as that implies it’s more a chore than anything else.  Not so!  But if you wonder why there aren’t more quality comic options available, supporting a book like this will only increase those choices in the future.  I’m having trouble thinking of a single thing wrong with that…

Various Good Minnesotans – Good Minnesotan #4


Good Minnesotan #4

I’m in  a bit of a pickle here.  You see, the Good Minnesotans responsible for putting this anthology together sent a collection of minis that make up GM #4, all bundled up in a lovely slipcase.  However, they recently had a successful fundraiser that will let them print this whole pile of comics in (what I believe to be) one volume.  So my righteous rant about how silly it is to put a table of contents with page listings when there are no page numbers in the comics can’t go anywhere because they will probably have that problem fixed in the final edition.  That’s fine, there’s no reason to focus on the negative with a pile of  stories like this anyway.  It will also make my selection of a sample image from each of the 5 minis seems a little excessive (and guys, if this is too many for you let me know and I’ll take most of them down), but I’m trying to give a flavor for the whole thing here.  I was also going to break this down into five sections, one for each mini, but as they aren’t numbered in any way I’m just going to go with my usual clumpy review.  Tales in here include some creepy microscopic organisms by Justin Skarhus, The Poo Lagoon by Lupi (sadly, it seems to be a true story), is it a caraway seed or a rat turd by Sarah Julius (I think), Nic Breutzman as a child watching his neighborhood being built and marveling at the quiet at the end of the day, Kevin Cannon’s recap of the men who tried to be the first to reach the North (and South) Pole, a pile of creepy and moody photographs by Buck Sutter, planting mama with the onions by Anna Bongiovanni, Renny Kissling’s silent tale of an alien being tortured,Meghan Hogan’s adventures of crocheted animals, Martha Iserman with the adventures of her stuffed parrot-beaked puffer fish, and some food thievery by Raighne Hogan.  There is one mini that stands alone as a complete story, by both Justin Skarlus and Raighne Hogan (each taking half the book) about a terminator-ish creature that doesn’t seem to have much of an ability to stick with one target, but that’s probably because I’m imposing that idea onto that character.  It’s a bizarre pile of transporting vaginas, submachine guns, brain-eating and quiet contemplation.  You’d love it!  So, at the end of the day, I don’t know what the final version of this comic is going to look like.  I hope they can keep the front and back cover of the slipcase, and I hope they manage to number the pages to go along with their table of contents, and I hope it’s clear that I’m not even commenting on about 1/3 of the stories in this to leave some surprises for you people.  If you’ve seen the past issues of this series you know that “Good Minnesotan” is a mark of quality, and they didn’t disappoint this time around.

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


Dinski, Will – Others: Two Short Stories About the Disenchanted and Solitary


Others: Two Short Stories About the Disenchanted and Solitary

Here’s another mini from Will Dinski that defies scanning. I’m hoping that scan looks better on the website than it does on my preview page, but here’s an online edition of the first story of this mini, just in case. That tweed binding pretty much kills any attempt to scan the innards, sorry. As it says in the extended title, there are two stories here. The first is about a Pressman who works nights but, due to a disinterest in sleeping, takes his place as a regular nine to five worker, all the way down to sitting in rush hour traffic for no good reason. The second is told from the perspective of a bird but deals with crowds and the inevitablity of being drawn back into them whether you like it or not. It’s a surprisingly cheerful book for something that seemed so melancholy from the description. As always, the man has an amazing ability to pack some serious insights into a tiny thing. And you can even read the first half of it for free! $5

Dinski, Will – An Endorsement of Smoking


An Endorsement of Smoking

Here’s a short mini from Will that unfortunately defies scanning. The cover looks like a pack of cigarettes (in case you can’t tell from the scan) and the comic folds open into essentially one big page. It really would give too much away if I were to scan a chunk of it, and you can see his artwork above anyway, so just look around. The story here is as it says, an endorsement of smoking. Will goes into the nature of addiction, the social stigma against it and gaining the ability to tell the difference between a need and a want. Yes, he really does do all that in one giant page. Another absolutely gorgeous book from Will, and I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about it. $5

Dinski, Will – Habitual Entertainment #3


Habitual Entertainment #3 Now Available! $3

OK, this is the third try at writing a review for this book. One more deletion and I’m just going to assume that the great holy Jesus God doesn’t want this thing posted. So! This is the story of a father and son, the father working the earth (along with his giant robots that look like tits) while the son wants more from his life. This is all in the shadow of the mother dying while giving birth. Well, as is always the case with entertainment involving giant robots, things get a bit ugly from there. Speaking of ugly, the solid red choice for the pages didn’t appeal to me. One man’s opinion, but there you go. Just… ugly. Of course, that’s not too big of a deal when the story is still fascinating, the art is still great and you have an ending like that. Still worth checking out and maybe the red (which is a deeper red than the scanner was willing to show for whatever reason) won’t bug you like it did me… $3

Dinski, Will – Habitual Entertainment #2: Fool’s Gold


Habitual Entertainment #2: Fool’s Gold

OK, I’m convinced. Whatever doubts I had after that first issue are completely gone. First off, the cover and the packaging are again just about perfect. Then you have the inside, which is its own pile of wonderfulness. It’s about a man, lounging on his bed, wasting the days away, until he gets a call from his temp agency asking if he wants to be a secret shopper. That’s one of those people who shop at a place and then write about it later for the company to evaluate the experience, just in case you’ve never heard of it. Anyway, this guy, an “aspiring” actor, decides to take this assignment and make a play out of it, putting up fliers all over town, talking to neighbors, even telling his ex-fiancee AND his nemesis. So the stage is set, the “play” is planned, and you have to read it to find out what happens next. What I liked so much about this is that there’s very litte internal dialogue or narration, so we have no idea exactly why this guy wants to turn this very brief job into an absurdist play seen by as many people as possible. There’s still plenty of meat on what could be a sparse character though because of his interactions with his ex and his nemesis, who seems awfully friendly with the guy to hate him so much. So kudos on the whole thing, and for once I’m not going to bitch about not having longer stories. I think his idea to have each of these start and end in one issue is perfect so far, so why not keep it up? $3

Dinski, Will – Habitual Entertainment #1


Habitual Entertainment #1

Holy crap does this book look great. I’ll get to the inside in a minute, but the cover and packaging are fantastic. There’s a black filmy wrapping covering a blue and red cover that’s slightly thicker than the other pages. It’s all the more impressive because it looks like he did the whole thing himself, so kudos for that. As for the comic, that’s pretty great too. It’s a completely self-contained story about an office, the people who work there and the asshole son of the boss who’s going to wind up running the company some day. Oh, and it’s about what it takes to push a man to kill. Sort of. Good stuff all around and, as usual, if I tell you much more than that it’s going to start ruining things. I have another issue to review in a week or so that’ll help tell me for sure, but from one issue it sure looks like Will is a pretty damned gifted cartoonist and somebody you should probably keep an eye on. $3