- Posted by Ed Sizemore on September 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm
- Category: Minicomics
Review by Ed Sizemore
Under Bunnies by Eric Leland
This is a beautifully crafted book. I love the cardboard covers and spiral binding. The story is wonderful, too. It’s about bunnies stealing carrots and has a Fantastic Mr. Fox feel to it. This is a must-own.
The Last Island by Alex Cahill
This is a story about a boy on a desert island and the odd things that begin to happen to him. Or so it seems. There’s a fantastic twist at the end that will make you go back and re-read the book. You can read a preview of the book at New Radio Comics.
Octobox: A Box of 8 Eight-Page Minicomics and Fleek by Pam Bliss
This is an artist Johanna introduced me to, and I’m very glad she did. Fleek is a fun tease of a book. The junkyard receives a box and tries to identify it. We’re never shown what’s in the box as they debate what it is. Perfect for eight pages.
I highly recommend the Octobox. It’s a great sample of the various styles of story Pam tells with her comics. There’s a travelogue, a couple of slice-of-life tales, a couple of dreams, urban fantasy, and a meditation. Also included is an instruction book on making your own eight-page minicomic with advice on how to structure the story. I can’t wait to buy more stuff from Pam.
Gimmick Illustrated #1 Vlak by Jason Little
I’m a big fan of Little’s Bee Comix, so it was thrilling to get to meet him. Vlak is done like a photo book of a vacation. It’s an odd but intriguing tale. There isn’t much of a plot; it’s a man going through a sparsely populated town and catching a train. There’s lots of suspense with no explanation yet. I’m definitely going to pick up the next volume.
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: 2010 Year in Review by Various
I love the fact that the CBLDF did their year in review as a minicomic. This is another must-read, if they are at the next comic show you attend. Pick this up, then donate. Actually, don’t wait. Donate now. These people are doing great things and need our support.
Milky Way Shuffle by Eilo, published by Koyama Press
This was a good read, although the art is a little busy for my tastes. Also, I can’t say I’m a fan of the character designs. It’s a nerd-saves-the-day story, so I have to confess I’m sympathetic to the plot. Also, it has a good sense of humor.
In the Parlor Room by Jeremy Sorese
This is another comic I picked up because it was beautifully constructed. I love the yellow band and the Velcro flap. The interior art is as beautiful as the book. It’s the story of a couple of thieves having free reign in an abandoned, flooded city. You can read it free online. However, you’ll miss the joy of the physical book itself. This is another must-own.
Oh boy, comics! #1 by Neil Brideau
I initially bought this because it had hand-stitched binding. The artwork is simple but highly effective. This is a collection of earlier works. There are fun nonsense rhymes, illustrated poems, and short stories. I was struck by how much I enjoyed the writing. I love seeing someone play with language, and the stories are of a perfectly length. Brideau even has a minicomic of the month club. If I have any money left after NYCC/NYAF, I plan on joining.
Wall Street Cat: Money Takes Naps by Sara Lindo
Okay, it’s a comic about a cat, so it’s not really a hard sell for me. This is a delightful fantasy where Lindo’s cat serves as a stress counselor for a Wall Street firm. The art is just as good as the story. Plus, this has a beautiful full-color cover. I do love cat comics.
The Rise & Fall of Studly Pete: Chapter 0 by Renee Lott
This is a short preview of the webcomic. The art is well done, but there isn’t enough story to know if I’ll like the webcomic. I assume if the name doesn’t attract you, then the comic isn’t for you.
Impartial? by Gregory Robison
This is a fictional account of how Washington DC’s first newspaper, The Impartial, got started. It’s not a bad read, but it doesn’t have a real ending. Robison just stops telling the story. I’m also not convinced Robison isn’t reading 21st century motivations and politics into 18th century people. This really needs to be a full-length graphic novel — there are just too many unanswered questions.
Black Magic Tales by Carolyn Belefski & Joe Carabeo
This is the same team that did The Legettes, which I enjoyed. The minicomic is a sample from a longer comic. It’s about a pair of crooks with incredible luck and skill. It was fun, and I’ll definitely check out the full comic. You can see preview pages of the completed first volume.
Map to Worlds End, Cyrano de Bergerac’s Ballade, and Unsung by Ken Wong
I’ve been a huge fan of Ken Wong since I discovered him at MOCCA three years ago. He is the most innovative creator of comics that I know. I’m always impressed with this newest works. These three are no exception.
Map to Worlds End is just what the name implies, a road map to the end of the world. It’s a great pastiche of the old Rand McNally maps. There are references to the Book of Revelation, Mayan mythology, Planet of the Apes, Harold Camping, and more. You’ll spend hours figuring out the references. The blend of dystopian sci-fi and religion is perfect for me.
Cyrano de Bergerac’s Ballade is an adaptation of the fight scene Cyrano has with Valvert from the first act of the play. There’s a clever device for illustrating a poem with a repeating refrain. This is done in comic strip format, with the final page longer than the rest. The final panel of the final page is the refrain, and thus, it is always visible as you flip through the book.
Unsung is the story of a man whose heroic feats can’t be made public. The President has a private meeting with Dr. Unsung to thank him for all he’s done. Again, the construction is brilliant. It’s a single sheet folded very small. As you unfold the page, the story unfolds. As the page gets bigger, so does the mystery of Dr. Unsung and how he’s able to do all these amazing deeds.
Swamp Talk! by Mike Stanley
This is a neat little work. It’s a small eight-page comic made from a single sheet of paper. It’s book style but uses no staples. Instead, it’s done by making a single cut in the paper and some very ingenious folding. The story is about an alligator janitor enjoying some music.
Strange Fruit Comics #1-4 by Joel Christian Gill
The series subtitle, “Obscure Black History Comics”, says it all. The stories include a slave who escaped by being mailed north, the story of the first black professional basketball player, and the first American stage magician. I hope that Gill does a huge collection of stories. These four issues only whet your appetite for more. You can see previews of the comics at his website.
The Matter #1-2 by Various
This is an anthology. It’s a mix of comics and very short prose stories. Two comics, “Turriimo” and “Brink”, are continuing stories. I enjoyed all the pieces. My favorite piece would be the sci-fi psychological tale “Brink”. My only complaint is with the anthology’s grim tone. A few humor pieces would be nice.
There is a website listed in the books, but currently, the website doesn’t exist. This is a problem because Turriimo is done mostly in Somali, and you’re directed to the website for a translation. There is an active Facebook page for the anthology.
Secret Prison #5 by Various
This is a newspaper-style anthology. These were more miss than hit with me. I enjoyed the comic strips by Tommy Rudmose on the inside front cover. I liked a piece by Box Brown and Mike Sgier, which I took to be an homage to Steve Ditko. You can see the piece here. As a fan of Jack Kirby’s art, Tom Scioli’s Myth of 8-Opus is always a delight to look at. The rest didn’t really connect with me.
Overall, I was surprised at my batting average for minicomics. Part of my success may have been my taking my time this year and reading before I buy. I’m glad that I got to add several new artists to my shopping list for next year.