Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Rosie Stories by Diana Tamblyn
You know how mini-comics can be about anything the artist wants, right? Well, Diana Tamblyn's The Rosie Stories is about her love for her new baby, Rosie. This comic feels so personal and so right with the world, that you start to feel a kinship with Rosie, Diana, and her husband. That's part of the charm with mini-comics; while the big comic publishers push the same old crap on a captive audience, minis and small publishers are free to explore the important things in our lives. With Diana's new comic, you know exactly where her passion lies (not to pigeonhole her though, she also sent me a neat litle mini that mixes up some single panel pages, Poor Sailor style, devoted to some local musicians).
The Rosie Stories is split into four sections and an introduction over 16 pages. It begins with a prelude to Rosie's birth. Diana has the fears, uncertainty, and then the overwhelming joy as Rosie is born. A highlight of the mini to us outsiders are the crazy-cute "Lil Rosie" stories. In these two stories, Diana's Rosie reminds the reader of a younger Lucy from Peanuts. She's cute but headstrong.

Diana's art is a good mix of bold lines and strong black and white art. Occasionally you feel overwhlemed by her facial expressions and heavy line, but you always know where she stands in relation to ther art. She's never indecisive. I always appreciate her commitment to her work and she gives everything up to the reader in this very personal story.

Check out her website for samples of her work. Diana has a nice back catalog of minis available and she's a very consistent and honest artist. Tthe Rosie Stories is still available for $3 from her website.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Chunky Gnars by Chris Cornwell For those of you lamenting the early demise of Cold Heat in pamphlet form, you'll be happy to find Chris Cornwell's salute of sorts - The Chunky Gnars. The cover of Chris's mini takes the form of a flier for a Chocolate Gun tribute band called The Chunky Gnars. Inside you'll find a tight little story starring Castle and the ultra creepy Senator Wastmor. The Senator is still pissed off and hopes to use the lead singer of The Chunky Gnars for revenge.

Over 16 pages, Chris does his usual fantastic job of mixing up panel structure and patterns, moving effortlessly from four or six panels to 36 tiny panels of silent images. The story feels comforting and familiar to Cold Heat readers and Chris is talented enough to play with the characters in a way that doesn't feel cheap or inappropriate.

If you're infamiliar with Chris's work, check out his stuff on the Locals Rule page at Pittsburgh's Copacetic Comics or past reviews here at Size Matters.
Get your own copy of Chunky Gnars from the Picturebox website for only $3.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Capacity #7 by Theo Ellsworth
If you’re not familiar with Theo’s work, he strikes the perfect balance between children’s storybooks and comics. He's wildly imaginative and just a little bit silly. Reading issues of Capacity, or anything else of his, is always a lot of fun. Often the level of detail and obsessiveness is a bit startling, but this tendency keeps you engaged as you read. See what I mean. This 32-page comic has two longer stories ("Witch Medicine" and "Wizards Tale") and several one page pinups and gags. "Wizards Tale" features a man who comes face to face with every dream he had ever dreamt. Here's a page from that story.
An example of one of the gag pages.
For more of Theo's work visit his website. His stuff can be found at Chicago Comics and Quimby's. If you aren't near Chicago Comics or Quimby's, you can buy Theo's comics online at the excellent Secret Acres online shop. Capacity issue 7 can be yours for $5. Grab issue 6 whie you are there for $3.50. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Treehouse and Other Stories by Davi Shy
Davi Shy turns in a quiet mini-comic with the saddest goldfish story you will ever read. Seriously. Treehouse is five short pieces over a dozen pages featuring her meditations on daily life.

What sets this mini apart from many others mining this same vein is the dash of color she uses throughout these stories. In "Welcome to the Treehouse II" she begins with different shades of safe and secure blue. In "Other Stories from Summer 2007," she expands the color palatte with the shock of light green leaves just outside a window. In "Everyday Dilemma" and the goldfish story, she introduces shades of pink and red.

You don't see many $2 mini-comics that use color and it's enough, along with the sad fish story, to set this one apart. Davi ably captures the small moments in life; the most accomplished panels feature still life drawings rather than movement or action.

Check out more from Davi at her blog. You can buy copies of Treehouse for $2 from Chicago Comics.

From 9am to noon this Friday, Chicago Comics is having a 30% off sale. Kate and I were already planning on going to Chicago for Thanksgiving, so it looks like I'll be saving myslf 30% on comics. Nice.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Magic Hour Issues One and Two by Alex Holden
Alex Holden’s Magic Hour captures the curious mix of childhood reality and unreality. Ricky gets mixed up with Black Eye Eddie, who may or not be a zombie. The other kids are certainly sure that Eddie and his sister Carlotta are more than they seem. Ricky and his friends are focused on tagging trains and walls with lifted spray paint, but along the way they run into a few problems.

Issue one of Magic Hour is two stories in one package. The second story, “Stay Out of the Gorgon Yard,” is actually a separate 24-page mini-comic stapled into the main mini-comic. The art in “The Gorgon Yard” is light blue against a pitch black paper. This color scheme gives the story a nice creepy effect.

Alex’s art matures a bit with the second issue. His lines, more assured and confident, are thickly drawn and his backgrounds are sketched out just enough to suggest a convincing backdrop for his tales.

The second issue is part one of a story titled “Field Trip.” Ricky and Black Eye Eddie hook up with the older teen, Moose, to tag some trains. Most of the issue details the quest for spray paint, but Alex drops a tantalizing surprise on the last page of this 18-page mini.

Reading these two comics leaves you with the weird sense that anything can happen in Magic Hour. The possibilities are endless, just like that feeling you had when you were a kid running on the streets –that weird old lady’s house is most assuredly haunted, and the big old dude in the wife beater that lives down the street certainly eats children. These types of little details pop up matter of factly in Magic Hour with regularity and Alex does such a good job of telling his story that you don’t question where the story goes.

You can check out Alex's blog and pick up copies of Magic Hour for $2 at USS Catastrophe.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Road of Knives by Zak Smith and Shawn Cheng
Road of Knives is a print version of Zak Smith, Shawn Cheng,and Nicholas Di Genova’s excellent battle blog, Road of Knives. In the foreground of the first panel, Zak drops in a nightmarish beast hunched over with an absurdly large axe. Underneath in the next panel, Shawn draws a pair of ominous-looking, ferociously armed serpentine warriors – and a much less ominous little guy. This little dude looks totally out of place. He’s definitely outclassed by the other menacing figures on the page.

On the next page the battle begins; coiled figures unload on each other as swords slice through flesh. On page 5 the little dude is almost crushed by a severed head. He disappears after that as the battle heats up. Later on page 11, you see him hauling ass away from the battle site. At this point, both artists’ canvases expand. The monsters grow to terrible heights, filling the page with their swollen and grotesque bodies.

Both artists excel at this type of subject matter. And this format allows unfettered imagination and a ridiculous game of one-upmanship.

Road of Knives features 16 pages of beastly carnage underneath a gorgeous silver screen printed cover. Get your copy for $2 from the Partyka online store.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Souther Salazar this weekend at GR2

All you folks on the West coast might like to attend Souther's show at GR2. I know I'd go if I was anywhere near LA.



Make It Real at GR2, October 13 - October 31
Reception: Saturday, October 13, 6:30 -10:00

GR2
2062 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 445-9276

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Super by Kevin Breslawski
The SPX Expo is coming up and Kevin Breslawski's Super is one of those minis that I love finding at SPX. Super isn't just a comic it's a little surprise pack of art and fun. His first two issues (issue three should be out by SPX weekend) come packed in a tiny manila envelope stuffed with stickers and buttons. You can tell that he's spent a great deal of time making his comic package special to the reader.

Each issue of Super is a 2" X 4" eight-page mini. Inside each mini you'll find short stories and cool drawings. Kevin packs a lot of detail into each colorful issue.


To order Super from Kevin, visit his blog order page. Issues of Super are $3 with $1 shipping.

I apologize for the lack of updates lately. I've been buried in work and any free time is spent hanging out with Chloe the Diggity Dog.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

San Francisco Zine Fest From Fran├žois Vigneault, SFZF 2007 organizing committee:

"The San Francisco Zine Fest is returning October 5th and 6th. The Bay Area’s most beloved conference for zines, comics, and crafts, the Zine Fest is celebrating its sixth anniversary with a move to a beautiful new location, the Women’s Building. As always, the Zine Fest is free and open to the public! Over 50 small-press and DIY creators will be selling, trading, and otherwise sharing their work with over a thousand attendees. The exhibitors, from elder statesmen of the DIY movement such as RE/Search Publications to first time self-publishers, showcase the diversity, vitality, and ongoing exuberance of the small press movement. While the majority of the exhibitors hail from the Bay Area, creators from across the West Coast and country will be present.

Special guests this year are John Marr, writer of the seminal zine Murder Can Be Fun, a cavalcade of bizarre and often very funny tales of untimely death; and Joe Sayers, the cartoonist behind the weekly strip Thingpart and the recently released Teen Power!, a collection of hilarious comics all drawn in five minutes or less. Q&A sessions will be held with both special guests on Saturday. Several panel discussions and hands-on workshops will be held throughout the day on Saturday, including a class on the basics of silk screening taught by John Isaacson, whose book Do It Yourself Screenprinting was recently released by Microcosm Publishing. Other events include ongoing raffle drawings throughout the Fest and a special awards ceremony.

The San Francisco Zine Fest was begun in 2001 by Jenn Starfiend, and is currently run by a hard-working group of volunteers, including members of Family Style, Just Visiting and 327 Market, along with many others.

The San Francisco Zine Fest will be held from 2:00pm-8:00pm on Friday, October 5th, and from 11:00am-7:00pm on Saturday, October 6th. Admission is free on both days.

The Women’s Building is located at 3543 18th St. #8 San Francisco, CA 94110 (between Valencia and Guerrero in the Mission).

For more information, including a full list of exhibitors and workshop schedule, visit the website."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Trains are Mint #3 by Oliver East

Hey look, it's another issue of Trains Are Mint! If you don't already read Oliver East's wonderful mini-comic, then take a glance at these pages.
I prattled on about Trains Are Mint Issue 1 in this post. From last Neovembert:

Trains Are Mint is a great example of what mini-comics do so well. East takes something important or interesting to him, and puts it on the page for a small audience to discover. What I like about East’s effort is the extra touches. The watercolor art is gorgeous. He uses a neutral, stiff card stock for the cover with plenty of information for the reader inside the back cover.

This goes triple for issue three. Oliver is a little more adventurous in his panel layouts this time around. There's a very funny bit where he encounters a lady jogging; he throws you off a bit until your eyes hit the last panel at the bottom of the page.

Oliver's website is here. Click on any of the three issues (the man is leaning on them) for page samples and ordering information.

Monday, August 20, 2007

This is Still America: Part Two by George
Last September, we took a look at This is Still America. I recall being very surprised by the line art. George has a very distinctive way of drawing his lines, especially in the background. Forms are not fully drawn; they're more like suggestions of a drawing.

That's been toned down a bit in the second issue, subtitled "Where the fuck is everybody?"
This issue is much more grounded in reality than the previous one. George concentrates on the dreary past with his overbearing and physically abusive father. There's less of the soaring dream sequences and more pain. The father is mentally and physically abusive to the son, showing you how easy it is for the child to seek an alternate reality.
Things do get very weird in the end when the father makes a bonfire with his son's toys. Any reality melts under the pressure of so much anger.

Like the first issue, this one is only $2. It's 32 pages of black and white art with a very cool blue edge to each page. The first issue featured red bleeding edges on all the pages. These little details really make George's minis stand out. You can get your copy at Bodega Distribution.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Only Skin by Sean Ford

Only Skin: New Tales of the Slow Apocalypse is a pretty large mini-comic. It's oversized comic size, kind of like a Golden Age comic. It's designed well, from the Chester Brown inspired cover to the title page echoing Anders Nilsen's Big Questions. I also like the recycled off-white paper that reminds you a bit of newsprint.

Inside, Sean crafts a 36-page mystery involving grisly disappearances at a remote gas station.

Single mother Cassie and her son Clay tend to the gas station. Meanwhile, folks in the town are starting to organize and discuss the disappearances. Sean has a wonderful night scene where Clay is woken by a ghost. The ghost is of the "charming Peanuts ghost at Halloween" variety and makes a nice contrast of white against the black of the woods.

Only Skin is a great start to a well made comic series. It ends with a heck of a cliffhanger, so I can't wait to see issue #2. You can check out Sean's blog for more samples of the art. He's even got some cool color pages on display. You can get a copy of Only Skin at Quimbys or I Know Joe Kimpel for only $4. I think you'll probably be seeing a lot more of Sean Ford.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Okay, I love this - Self Comics
Got an email from Luca Genovese, who wanted to point out his mini-comics website Self Comics.

We are translating, slowly but surely, all our catalouge but now there are just some. We produce 8 page stories that can be read, downloaded and printed for free. The PDF files of each story are ready to be printed out, folded and stapled, so you can physically have our minicomics, if you want to.

This a fantastic idea and they have several gorgeous minis that you can read online or print and savor. They are also in the process of translating more stories. So, bookmark them and check back often.

Here's a few pages to give you an idea.
Gloria by Luca Vanzella and Luca Genovese. Translated by Elisabetta Favalessa.

Persistance And Elegance by Paolo Parisi and translated by Alberto Corradi.

Tonight I’m Gonna Dream You Have Always Loved Me by Luca Vanzella and Lucia Biagi. Translated by Alexandra Uzunova.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pursuit by Corey Bechelli
Pursuit is a silent 12-page black and white mini-comic. Corey manages to create a menacing mood without text. Instead of words, he uses heavy doses of black ink, sometimes inverting the black and white colors.

The art is photo realistic and very slick. His perspective shots are dizzying as you trace the lone bird soaring through the tall city buildings. Each face, whether human or animal, shoots an acusatory look at the reader. It feels somewhat claustrophobic until the last two pages. These pages eschew the direct gazes from the previous pages, reaching towards the open sky instead.

There's no price on this one, but you can visit Corey's website for information and lots of other comics. Look around while you're there. He's got some fantastic illustrations, inlcuding Muddy Waters, Angela Davis, and Marlon Brando. The Angela Davis one looks ready for a t-shirt.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pitbull by Paolo Parisi
Paolo Parisi has created a fabulous mini-comic that seems ready to be snapped up by any of several small publishers. His book is fleshed out nicely, telling a complete story of interest to almost anyone. The art has a nice balance of detail and ambiguity, creating a pleasing page at an instant. The prose is as choppy and brutal as the subject matter - a tough street kid makes good pulverizing people in the ring. The Pitbull piles up wins, but the wear and tear on his body catches up. He uses drugs to numb the pain. His relationships outside the ring crumble and he's left facing an improbable comeback against a younger, quicker, and bigger fighter. Sounds a bit like the corny Rocky franchise, but Paolo doesn't take the easy way out with the Pitbull.

This is a high quality mini-comic from cover to cover. The thick, glossy cover is folded over a normal false cover and the interior art has a pleasing mix of black and white art with gray washed tones to lend depth to the backgrounds.

Pitbull is 56 pages and I think you can get your hands on it for 4 euros. Paolo's email is paolo.parisi1980@libero.it or paoloparisi80@gmail.com. Here's a review in Italian from one of my favorite websites, Canicola.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Smith Loves Wesson by Ratigher

Smith Loves Wesson is a wordless 24-page mini-comic printed on yellow paper. Ratigher’s art is tight and unadorned. Smith gets up, showers, and combs his hair a few times to get it just right and then… some other stuff happens.

I love this page with the t-shirts on the bed. Which one to choose?

Ratigher is in Italy, but I’m sure he would be happy to send some comics to wherever you may be. Smith Loves Wesson is only one euro, so that’s like a buck thirty the last time I looked.

Check out the DonnaBavosa website for this mini and several others.

Ratigher also sent a longer mini by Paolo Parisi. I'll look at that for tomorrow. Think Rocky Balboa but much seedier.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Two More by Chris Cornwell

First, Black Wings. This silent mini is done with what looks like a Sharpie. It even smelled kind of inky when I opened up the envelope.

Black Wings works best when Chris does a bit of background to clash with the character. The figure on the ground with the rock looks fantastic. The figure in the air is less convincing without the background.
The thing I like about this is it's mostly done with very short fat lines. Chris uses the occasional longer curved line to delineate the shape of the figure, but it's the short strokes that make up the bulk of the art.

It's unexpected and effective. Not sure how much Black Wings will cost you, but if you contact Chris at thefunkmunk@yahoo.com, he could probably help you out.

Quester

Quester is another silent mini that spans 40 sometimes awe-inspiring pages. There's much more of a visual kick to this one.


It's more like I Wanna Destroy You, but the art is more organic. Where Destroy had cut out art pasted together, Quester has thick inky lines making up the figures. The title of this mini is certainly apt; the main character goes on a mind boggling quest that transcends mind and body.

You can get a copy of Quester for $2.00 from Bill at the always fantastic Copacetic Comics website.