The Comic Queen

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Single-Panel Reviews 04/19/05

Miniature Sulk
Top Shelf $8
By Jeffrey Brown
This latest offering by Jeffrey Brown is a mix of styles and stories—a Brown sampler, if you will. There are one-page nuggets, a mini-comic, and even random one-panel funnies, however, most of the stories are two or three pages long. In all of these, Brown presents anywhere from present-day-in-the-life tales to stories from childhood and wish fulfillment day dreams. I’ve enjoy Brown’s humor work the most, and many of the stories contain his wink-and-a-nudge humor, so this book was a real treat. If you haven’t read any of Brown’s books before, this would definitely be a good one to try.
Bottom line: A-

Mnemovore #1 (of 6)
Vertigo $2.95
Writer: Hans Rodionoff and Ray Fawkes; Artist: Mike Huddleston; Colorist: Jeromy Cox
The sample art in Previews first attracted me to this book, and the great art spills right out onto the cover, which is absolutely gorgeous. The story is about Olympic hopeful snowboarder Kaley Markowic who is just coming out of a coma due to a serious snowboarding accident. Kaley is dealing with life with partial amnesia from brain damage—and it seems there is more than just damage in her noggin to worry about. This science-fiction/mild horror plot just gets off the ground in this issue, but what I found to be unique was the wonderful job of pacing the writer and artist create together, especially during the last 11 pages. This first taste of the horror is controlled like few comics seem to manage. I think this first issue bodes for well for the mini-series.
Bottom line: B+

Hoax #1
Mental Note Press $2.95
By Eleanor Davis, Karl Kressboch, Nate Neal, Lydia Gregg, and Mitch Hess
Touted as “an all new anthology by all new artists,” the book is impressive for a first outing, and really is a solid anthology in its own right. It contains five stories by five different creators, of which my favorite was “Yolk” by Eleanor Davis. The different stories do share common elements, most overtly is the disturbing nature of the comics. Though disturbing to different degrees, and in different ways, each of the stories contained a point to the “horror” – this wasn’t just mindless shock-value writing or art. While not all the stories were my cup of tea, I do appreciate the high level of skill displayed. If you have enjoyed anthologies put out by publishers like Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly, you will want to check this book out.
Bottom line: B+

True Story, Swear to God: 100 Stories
AiT/Planet Lar $9.95
By Tom Beland
*Sigh* Tom Beland’s work is sooo dreamy. This is what I might as well write, because reviewing Beland’s work is basically a gush-fest. He’s just so damn good at what he does, I seriously can’t find anything to complain about. I hate that. This collection of Beland’s work contains 100 of his daily strips broken out into themes such as “Life,” “Family,” and “Food.” He follows a similar formula in each strip, and delivers like very few other humor cartoonists can. The strip formula he follows isn’t particularly earth shattering, it’s how he tells the “microstory” that is an extra-bases line drive each strip. (You know, I really shouldn’t have baseball on while I’m writing reviews.) I highly recommend both this book and the True Story, Swear to God comic series as well. Great writing, awesome cartooning: what more could a reader want?
Bottom line: A


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