Slowpoke: America Gone Bonkers

Jen Sorensen is deeply concerned about the mismatch between the crazy behavior we’ve come to accept as normal and what America should stand for. She’s mad about the distractions government serves up in lieu of handling real problems. She’s disturbed by how odd our popular culture can be. So she draws cartoons, because making fun is her catharsis. Her primary warning is that “fighting terrorism” should not be a blanket “get out of jail free” card. We need to examine […]

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The Interman

In his introduction, Mark Schultz places this original full-color graphic novel firmly in the thoughtful adventure tradition, where exciting heroes engage in daring action that tests their core values. It’s a good analysis. Van Meach, a normal man with extraordinary abilities, was created as part of a cold war CIA program. His body is able to adapt as needed to extreme situations, so he can survive any environment by growing gills or changing his cell structure subconsciously. Now he’s a […]

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Slowpoke: Café Pompous

This collection of weekly alternative newspaper strips by Jen Sorensen won the Xeric Grant. The name “Slowpoke” comes from an appreciation of the need to slow down to appreciate life. Slowpokes, according to the author, “value quality over quickness” and so don’t always fit into the modern world. The four-panel strips elaborate on that theme, whether presenting personal character insights or larger cultural commentary. Café Pompous is, of course, located at the corner of Malaise and Ennui. The strips deal […]

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Scooter Girl

In Chynna Clugston’s Scooter Girl, Ashton Archer is king. He’s immaculately dressed in the coolest clothes, rides the snazziest scooter, gets any girl he wants, and oh yeah, he’s loaded. For generations, it’s a family trait to be the luckiest, most charming, sexiest, most popular guy around. Then Margaret arrives. Suddenly, he’s a klutz. Nothing unusual about that — many boys become tongue-tied and stumble-footed when they meet a beautiful girl and develop a crush. Ashton, though, gets it bad. […]

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Little Gloomy

Vaguely reminiscent of a modern-day Harvey Comics, Little Gloomy is the story of a group of friends… all of whom happen to resemble little monsters from classic movies. Except for Gloomy. She’s a normal girl, by our standards; the oddest of all, by theirs. In this story, Simon, a Mad Scientist, hatches a dastardly plan: if he can’t have Gloomy, no one else will. Meanwhile, Gloomy and Larry, a Werewolf, head out to the bar, where Frank, a Monster, is […]

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99 Ways to Tell a Story

99 Ways to Tell a Story has been billed as a how-to book, but it’s more accurate to talk about it in reference to its subtitle. Matt Madden has been conducting “Exercises in Style”, telling the same short comic story 99 different ways (inspired by the work of Raymond Queneau). Madden is known as a proponent of formalism, the idea that creativity isn’t necessarily constrained by boundaries. Instead, artificial restraints (like restricting the number of pages or requiring that a […]

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Crimson Hero Volume 2

Since this is a sports manga, here comes a key competition in this volume: Nobara challenges the boys’ team. If she scores against them, they promise to stop harassing her while she’s trying to rebuild the girls’ team. The two other girls she’s managed to interest are wowed by her confidence, while a sympathetic boy chides her for her lack of patience. Both qualities are necessary to make her a viable protagonist and drive the story forward at a good […]

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Aishiteruze Baby

Kippei’s an easygoing guy who just happens to be the crush object of most of the girls in his school. They hit on him constantly, but he likes Kokoro, an attraction fueled and complicated by her refusal to play along or pay much attention to him in return. His life becomes much more complicated when he’s told to take care of his cousin Yuzuyu, an adorable five-year-old whose mother, Kippei’s aunt, has deserted her child after her husband’s death. I […]

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