Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Back to the real worldRelaxed in front of our favorite bakery in St. Barts, and ready for a hard day of doing nothing

I've never felt so rested after a vacation. But I've also never had such a difficult time readjusting to the real world. That's the problem with a perfect vacation on some island. You get used to the routine of doing whatever you want - or nothing at all besides laying on the beach. You eat more, drink more, and appreciate the person you are with more.

And then just when you get used to it, vacation is over. I think this is the time to start planning for next year.

Anyway, expect more reviews starting tonight. I came home to three packages of mini-comics that need to be added to the review pile. That pile is starting to make me a bit nervous again, so it looks like I'll need to step it up.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Vacation Time Again!

Leaving town in the morning for vacation. Kate and I are going back to our honeymoon villa in St. Barts from last year. Got some friends staying with the cats, so no worries there.

Be back next Saturday.
A Late Freeze by Danica Novgorodoff

Look at the eyes of the bear on the cover of A Late Freeze. She’s got her arm around her lover; in this case a robot, and her eyes reflect a longing for comfort and love. The robot holds a cone of cotton candy in his spindly hook of an arm. The title floats above them on an olive cover dotted with falling snowflakes. If you turn it over, you notice that the floating title is suspended between the extended tracks of a twisting roller coaster.

Before you even open this mini, Novgorodoff has already cued you in on the theme of her comic. Inside she crafts a moving tale of a robot that escapes from a factory only to fall in love with a bear. It seems absurd, yes, but with only infrequent headings or captions she takes something as universal as love and longing, and places it squarely in the intersection where nature and technology collide. This intersection is messy. The relationship between the bear and the robot is fraught with complications, but their union results in the cutest damn bear/robot/baby you’ve ever seen.

This mini has been getting a lot of love around the blogosphere lately. A Late Freeze deserves it. It's slickly produced, it's in full color, and it's a nice story. And then there’s this little batch of news from a Mr. Sime that doesn’t hurt either. Lots of positive reviews at that link.

So, why are so many people giving the love to the lady with the hard to pronounce last name? Because of the bittersweet story that she’s given us, I imagine. Her art has a wonderful looseness to it, and I really like that her signs and fonts look like a human hand has created them. Too often, people take the easy way out and just use computer fonts. That's fine, but it's nice to see a mini with very organic looking lettering and signage.

Here's Novgorodoff's web page for A Late Freeze. You can get your own copy of this 48 page full color, award winning book for $6.50.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Three New Minis from Little House

You must visit the Little House online shop of Drew Weing and Eleanor Davis. See those top three mini-comics? They’re new. Buy one of each, so you won’t kick yourself when they sell out.

That is all.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Spam, spam, spam, spam...

Woke up to this wonderful spam email:

I just found your Comic Book blog entry: http://shawnhoke.blogspot.com/ and I
think you may be of some help to me. I'm reaching out to you on behalf of M80
& Marvel regarding the X-Men MiniMates Collection. The X-Men MiniMate set is
being described as the most eagerly anticipated Marvel Minimates collection ever.
Since you are a fan of Comic Book, I thought that you might be interested in
posting the press release or post a review of the Collection on your blog? You
seem like a reputable influencer, so I think you'd be a big help to us.
Please let me know if you're interested!
Brandon, M80"

I'm not sure I want to miss out on "the most eagerly anticipated Marvel Minimates collection ever." I didn't even really know I needed an X-Men MiniMate set until this email. Now, I'm starting to feel like it's something I can't live without. Look for a future review from this "reputable influencer." You know all the X-men fans flock to SIZE MATTERS.

Monday, April 03, 2006

APE this weekend

The Alternative Press Expo is this weekend (April 8-9th) in San Francisco.

Definitely make sure you look up “Allied Ink” at tables 310-314. At these tables you’ll find:
John Porcellino and Misun Oh of King-Cat Comics
Dan Zettwoch from USS Catastrophe
Alvin Buenaventura of Buenaventura Press with Sammy Harkham, Vanessa Davis, and Ron Rege
Souther Salazar and Saelee Oh from Crashlander Books and Lemonaid Maid
Anders Nilsen from Airplane Books
Zak Sally from La Mano
Jason Miles from Drink Me
Like I said tables 310-314. Don’t miss them.

The Global Hobo table will have the following debut mini-comics:
American Born Chinese #3.3 by Gene Yang
Couch Tag #3 by Jesse Reklaw
Donuts for Lunch by Minty Lewis
An Inside Job #3 by Hob
PS Comics #2 by Minty Lewis
Survival of the Fittest Catalog by various

The Global Hobo gang will have tons of other minis at their table as well. Hobo creators Eli Bishop, Fredo, Andy Hartzell, Levon Jihanian, Minty Lewis, Tom Neely, Jesse Reklaw, Gin Stevens, and Gene Yang will be their with big goofy smiles on their faces. Go buy some comics from them.

The TCJ board also has an APE thread that might be worth keeping an eye on this week…
Happy Anniversary Ferret Press/PANEL

Got an email from Dara over at the Ferret Press/PANEL blog. Seems they are celebrating 3 years of comics bloggery this week and plan to put up a ton of content this week. While I was over there I stumbled upon a link to The Wurst Gallery that just made my morning. You’ve got to scroll down past the lovely Liefeld cover to get there. Yes, it’s an oddly swollen Strikeforce, but keep scrolling down to the March 31 entry on the Wurst.

The Gocco kit was discontinued? Sniffle. I always wanted to pick one of those up. Almost grabbed one at Paper Source the last time I was there, but I was too cheap. Anyway, there’s an online exhibit called We Love Gocco. Some of the prints are still available.

Vintage Vandals looks awesome as well. The artists take old paintings and add a new twist. If you scroll over the original paintings it reveals the added artwork.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Man Enough: A Queer Romance by Bill Roundy
Man Enough brings us out of the spare, poetic style of the last couple of minis reviewed, and brings us to a story-driven comic. While there’s much more in the way of story, the art is simpler. Man Enough is about half talking heads and torsos, but the story is engaging and fun enough to keep you hanging in with Roundy as he unveils the hook behind the title.

David meets Ethan at a party and the two hit it off immediately. David is psyched until a friend warns him that Ethan is not all that he seems to be. Oh boy. David and Ethan still go out, but it looks like things might not be working as well as they thought they hoped. Ethan is tired of explaining things. He just wants to move forward. Meanwhile, David is still kind of smitten. Just when you think that things are simmering down to the level of a casual friendship, a passing truck hits a puddle by the sidewalk, soaking David’s shirt and jacket. Hmm, things may get interesting after all.

Ethan coaxes David to his over-heated apartment, where David cries, “Wow. It’s jungle-hot in here.” After taking care of David’s wet clothes, Ethan delivers the line that instantly livens up any mini-comic: “I have a strap-on.”

Man Enough is a cute comic. It’s very human and the interaction feels true to life most of the time. Despite the simple art, there’s a real connection fostered by the easy conversations between David and Ethan. This page is a good example of how well the characters work together:
There’s also a color back up strip called “My Life in Gay Porn” by Roundy and illustrated by Tim Fish. It’s two pages and it's hilarious.

Man Enough will debut at APE. So make sure you look up Roundy and get your copy. In the meantime visit Roundy’s website.