Friday, September 29, 2006

Nothing by C. Hollow It’s so rare to get something tangible for free these days, but if you go to C. Hollow’s website, you can get a copy of Nothing #1 for free.

Nothing #1 is a tight issue where Captain Hollow searches his own feelings for what life and death mean to him. If you assume Captain Hollow is C. Hollow and the Sweet Nothing is his wife, then this is an open and shut case of “What does life mean to me?” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

In fact, Nothing is about something. It’s about the relationships we have with our mothers, our fathers, our significant others, and even the relationship we have with ourselves.

The characters are crudely drawn, but whole. The backgrounds are chunky, but serviceable. In short, Hollow uses basic structures to communicate to the reader what may be going on at any time. It’s kind of rudimentary, but effective in it’s own way. A few quick observations about the comic: Captain Hollow and the Sweet Nothing both have these little swirls for eyes. There are no hints beyond words as to what’s happening inside. The hand-lettered font has this odd habit of highlighting certain letters. It’s kind of distracting at first, but not as distracting as the weird random bold words you find in Marvel comics.
What I like about Nothing is that you have this guy making comics and putting “Issue No. 1 Summer, 2006 Free” on the cover. He’s giving his comics away. AND issue number two is the same price. It’s free. Go to his website and almost every day there’s a new one panel comic. Here’s someone honing their craft and doing everything he can to get his work into your hands. Do us both a favor and go check out Nothing. Maybe he starts charging for the next issue, I don’t know. But if you hurry, it still says “Free.”

There are samples of both issues at Hollow's website. Issue #1 is 29 pages with a color cover.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rocket Science Anthology by Various Artists
Eight artists contributed to this anthology comic. The common thread holding each story together is that each artist has to begin with the last image featured in the previous artist’s story.

The first story begins with a musical note and ends with a hacksaw. The second story then begins with the hacksaw and ends with a coat hanger. The third story begins with the coat hanger… You get the picture.

A few of the artists have more than one story in the anthology. I think Ralph Kidson’s work stood out the most. It seemed rushed, but highly energetic. It’s a little difficult to tag each artist’s work by using the key on the inside back cover, but I think I have most of them figured out. This is Kidson’s birds arguing right before something terrible happens.
Richard Cowdry takes a new look at a Popeye type character. The raucous sailor gets his bar mates drunk and introduces one sodden soul to his, ahem… Bluto. Rocket Science is labeled as an “adult anthology.”

Tilly Aviram has a very brief two-page alien tale using a simple style that skips backgrounds and details, but delivers maximum story.

As anthologies go, this one is about average. It’s nothing earthshaking, but nothing bores you to tears either. Rocket Science is nicely packaged with an excellent cover that manages to evoke old sci-fi monster comics on the front, and feature a short doodle by each artist on the back. Gavin Burrows, Richard Cowdry, Ralph Kidson, Sam Chivers, Craig Burston, Toby Parsons, Tilly Aviram, and Peter Poole contributed to this comic.
Rocket Science is 40-pages and available by emailing Gavin Burrows at It’s listed at 2 pounds, so that’s like $3 American. Email Gavin (Mr. All Flee) to get some details.

Also ask him about the intriguing pub-fueled follow up possibly titled Piss-up in a Brewery.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wunderground exhibit in Providence, RI

If you live anywhere near Providence, RI you would be crazy not to attend the ”Wunderground” show at the Rhode Island School of Design. I stumbled across this over at the Comics Comics blog. The show features posters, as well as some larger pieces of art and sculpture, from 1995 to the present. The artists should be familiar to mini-comics fans: Mat Brinkman, Brian Chippendale, Jim Drain, and Leif Goldberg.

Go check out Dan Nadel’s short report with pictures.

I mean come on, Mat Brinkman’s 20-foot tall ogre (“Maximum Ogredrive”) made from paper mache…

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This is Still America by George

This is Still America: “It’s the same Every Time” has one of the most interesting covers I’ve seen lately. George (no last name given) takes thin graph paper and draws a boy’s huge head front and center. Down the left spine the title of the mini really draws your attention with effective use of color and shape. It’s quite striking. The more subdued back cover is almost as arresting. He uses red lines that remind you of something you would get from an Etch a Sketch to create a background for the main image. I hope this comes through in the scan that I’ve made.
Inside, George does something very odd with his line work. Figures are fully outlined, but delineating features fade in and out, or don’t exist at all. Background lines are half formed. It’s as if he’s made the full drawing and then went back and erased bits and pieces. It makes the reader fill in the blanks, but really requires very minimal effort. In fact it lends a dreamy quality to the whole story. You’re not sure if you’re in the past or present without the story cues.
The story fades in and out from recollections, dreams, and memories. The protagonist dreams of events from his childhood, but the weird dream details bleed through. That’s when you get this image of a giant teddy bear grasping a jumbo jet. The kid is a passenger in the jet.
This is a nice package for a mini-comic. I like the red bleeding edges to the pages and the overall look and feel. Even Kate commented that it looked cool. This is Still America is 22-pages for $2. Email the artist at to request a copy.

Monday, September 18, 2006

National Waste #6 by Leif Goldberg
Leif Goldberg’s awkward and angular images may be a turn off for some readers, but there’s something underneath that works. When you look at his art you'll notice similarities to Christopher Forgues (CF from the Kramers Ergot books). Goldberg's National Waste drawings remind me a bit of a friend’s elaborate study hall drawings in high school. This connection isn't a suggestion that his work is amateurish; instead it’s full of passion and unconcerned with traditional drawing rules and regulations.

Goldberg ignores laws of physics or behavior and the result is engrossing. The flat lines of an ink pen come alive as a strange bird crashes through a ceiling.

Later a bevy of vicious looking rat-like creatures devour a corrupt diplomat from the inside out – they start with his eyes.

Goldberg’s work is politically charged, but not preachy. The destruction of the environment is a familiar subject in his comics, which feature technicolor animals traipsing through damaged forests.

The sixth issue of National Waste is 3 separate stories interspersed with vivid color pages. The last story is especially well crafted as a wandering pilgrim steps from the familiar into uncharted territory. It’s a nice way to end the book, as it reflects how Goldberg’s comics sometimes make you feel. You know exactly where you are when you pick the comic up, but afterwards you’re somewhere else entirely.

Grab your copy of National Waste # 6 from the Bodega online shop or Quimby’s.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Zombre vs. Slappy: Megathunder Showdown and Duppy by Ansis Purins Occasionally, I’ll open up a mini-comic and it immediately clicks. Either it’s the format, the materials, the art, or the total package, but something just gets you. Ansis Purins’ minis are like that. Take Zombre vs. Slappy: Megathunder Showdown, for instance; Purins doesn’t use any words beyond “HAR,” “HAA,” and one “HOLY SHIT,” but through gestures, movement, and grimaces, he effectively telegraphs his story.

Zombre vs. Slappy is 12 pages of zombie slapstick printed on green paper stock. The cover is gorgeous as Zombre, or maybe Slappy, gives the reader a grin and a huge thumbs up against a throbbing background. Inside, Purins entertains you with exaggerated movements and a thick-lined style. His art is perfect for this offbeat comedy. Everything on the page stands out, especially the little details like puddles or blades of grass. It’s like he’s chosen to take what works in cartooning, but added a much thicker line. Occasionaly, the scenes feel somewhat crowded or claustrophobic, I think mostly due to the shading and raindrops.

Zombre vs. Slappy: Megathunder Showdown is available on Purins’ website store for $2. If you read only one Zombie comic this month, burn all the others and read something cool like this instead.

Or read Duppy, but quit reading all that awful derivative crap and enjoy something unique. Duppy is a more substantial mini than Zombre vs. Slappy. While the later was more visual and intense, Duppy opens up a bit, allowing the art to breathe on the page.

Duppy is a larger format and page count (36 pages), and Purins adds more variety this time out. I like the brave housewife vs. zombie and the startled housewife vs. love struck robot. He also, just for kicks, throws in a zombie vs. bobcat battle for good measure. Purins has a nice handle on visual storytelling in this one; the first story alone is almost worth the $3 price tag.

Duppy is available on Purins’ website too, but you can also grab his books at the following online venues:, Midtown, GLOBAL HOBO, Poopsheet Shop, and Arcade Distro.

His next comic, out soon, is called GNOME GATHERING. Purins says it's "A 10 page story about 3 cosmic hippie underlings (ie:dwarf,elf,hobbit) that do waaay to many drugs. They talk about classic rock albums and smoke tons of weed. Their life is pretty good until the Wizard assigns them to do work for the national park that they all live in. Kinda weird I know. Zombre,SLAPPY, and the Park ranger from the ZOMBRE mini are in it."

The core story of Gnome Gathering will be in ELF WORLD #1 from the lovely folks at Family Style.

Finally, I leave you with the inside back cover of Duppy. Enjoy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Km of Dummy Torpedoes by Rob Jackson and Brian Morris

Rob Jackson and Brian Morris’ art book is a loosely connected one of a kind series of drawings assembled in a different order for each book. In this way, each book is an original. Not all drawings appear in each book, meaning mine might be totally different from yours. Some of the pages are very clever, while others funny. A few drawings are simply there, but when viewed together they make a neat statement.

Roughly a third of the drawings are in color, colored with what looks like magic markers. The other drawings are simple black and white. The book consists of black construction paper with the drawings themselves cut out and pasted onto each page. This makes the book a very hefty 28 pages.

You can find samples at Jackson’s website. Get your own copy by emailing Rob at the website.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Return to Regularly Scheduled Program

Sorry for the huge delay in posting. Adjusting to a new job and then moving really put a dent in my comics related activities. The good news is that the new job is fantastic, and I've figured out how to better manage my time. Other good news is that Kate and I are officially moved in to our new condo downtown. Between cleaning the old place, packing, painting the new place, moving, and then assembling IKEA furniture every night until 1am, we had no time left for anything else.

It's worth it though and kind of weird, because Kate and I both feel like we're now officially married. This is our first home purchase after renting for too many years, and it just feels so right. Our place is in the Mass. Ave Art District, so we're surrounded by art galleries and cool restaurants and bars. We finally feel like we fit in our neighborhood. I still hate all of you that can afford to live on the coast, but this amazing new space makes up for it a little bit.
I've assembled a stack of mini-comics that are waiting to be reviewed. If you're out there waiting for a review, I double dog swear I will get to it soon. My address for reviews has obviously changed. A few people already have the new address, but if you don't and you need to send something, email me at