Friday, March 30, 2007

Elfworld Almost Upon Us
Hey folks, got a message from François Vigneault and Family Style headquarters that Elfword ships next month. It will premier at the
Alternative Press Expo April 21st & 22nd and also as a part of the
"We're Rollin', They're Hatin" art show in Chicago, opening that same weekend.


The long-awaited indie-comics fantasy anthology is here! Compiled by
Jeffrey Brown, edited by François Vigneault, designed by Jonas Madden-

Begun years ago by the venerable Jeffrey Brown, Elfworld brings
together an amazing mix of alternative comics stars and up-and-coming
creators to tackle the fantasy comic. At turns hilarious, mysterious,
surprising, and action-packed, these 16 stories breathe new artistic
life into one of comics' most popular genres.

Elfworld Volume One features 128 pages of work from Jeffrey Brown
(Unlikely), Martin Cendreda (MOME), Liz Prince (Will You Still Love
Me if I Wet the Bed?), Kazimir Strzepek (Mourning Star), and many
more. Full-color, wrap-around painted cover by Jesse Reklaw
(Slowwave, 2006 Best American Comics).

Jeffrey Brown
Martin Cendera
K. Thor Jensen
Dave McKenna
Erik Nebel & Jesse Reklaw
Jason Overby
Liz Prince
Ansis Purins
Ron Regè, Jr. & Souther Salazar
Grant Reynolds
Dalton Sharp
Kazimir Strzepek
Jason Turner & Jody Turner
François Vigneault
Matt Wiegle & Sean Collins

Available now for pre-order.

For mature readers.
Trade paperback. 6" x 9", 128pp, b&w. $12.95
ISBN 978-0-9794178-0-1

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Chicago Comics, Now Online

This is pretty fucking exciting. Chicago Comics, one of my favorite comic shops, now has an online shop. When I want to shop for comics, I go to Chicago Comics (and Quimby's). It's a three hour drive, but it's always worth it. Visit their mini-comics page for the finest mini-comics. You won't reget it. They also have a great selection of comics and graphic novels if you don't have a real comic shop near you. These guys always have the best stuff. I've relied on them for years.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Habitual Entertainment #3 Will Dinski is no stranger around the SIZE MATTERS offices. Back in December of 2005 we showed you issues one and two of Habitual Entertainment.

Issue 3 is almost a total break from the style and feel of those minis. It’s a larger format and he uses a stiffer paper stock for the covers. Inside, all of the pages are a reddish-pink color with black ink as the only other tone.
Will’s story covers almost 150 years in 24 pages. He begins with a farmer, his newborn child, and his wife who dies during childbirth. Without the wife, the farmer and the kid grow apart, clash, and attempt to come together again as the father ages.

I’ve forgotten the most important part, I guess. The father doesn’t use traditional tractors and combines. He uses these huge spherical robots that, standing next to each other, look like Power Girl’s breasts. That explains how you get this classic line from son to father: “That giant tit of yours tried to kill me!”
Check out Will’s website and blog for information on his comics. He’s published three issues of Habitual Entertainment and several other minis. Issue 3 of Habitual Entertainment is $3 and worth every penny.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Lost Mini-Comics... Starting with Barrelhouse #2
Over the weekend I found a huge envelope stuffed with mini-comics. These minis have been patiently waiting for some kind soul to review them. And the creators who made the mini-comics? Waiting for some kind soul to review their comics. If you were/are one of those creators, I'm sorry. I'm spending the next two or three weeks reviewing this envelope full of minis.

It starts tonight with Barrelhouse: Pus Drunk #2 written by R. Lee and illustrated by Dug Belan. Barrelhouse tells the story of a seventeen year old landscape laborer who is a little messed up in the head. He's got the misplaced anger and aggression so common for a fellow of that age. He’s also got a funky, irritating diarrhea of the mouth that annoys everyone who meets him.
As his tale unwinds, we watch him stumble through his workdays enraging his co-workers. After the coworkers have had enough they beat him senseless; this is where things get weird.
Barrelhouse feels a bit like an old EC horror comic. The story is mostly advanced through narrative; very little actual conversation happens between characters. Instead, Lee’s tale is punctuated by Belan’s illustrations. It’s like a kids book gone horribly wrong.

Lee doesn’t list a website on the comic, but I found it for sale at Atomic Books. $2 will secure a copy of this 24-page black and white comic. You can also write R. Lee at

R. Lee
PO Box 1421
Oshkosh, WI 54903

Oh and the title, Pus Drunk? You’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Not Mini-Comics

I'm a little perturbed at the Tiny Showcase folks. Not for anything they've done wrong, mind you, but for everything they've done right.

Every Tuesday, early evening they sent out an email alerting Tiny Showcasers about that night's print. Said print hits the net at about 7:30pm. About six months to a year ago, you could slack off and forget about the print until about 8:30 or 9:00pm. The limited edition print would still be there waiting for you...

Well, no more. The secret is out. If you snooze, you lose. Prints disappear in a flash, unless they're really off the wall. They've even upped their print runs to no avail. The word is out. I've seen the Tiny folks lauded in a few national magazines lately, so the good old days are fading. I've been lucky enough to get an Allison Cole print, a Ron Rege, Jr. print, and a few others, but I've just missed a few amazing ones lately, including this one.
And this one. Anyway, the reason I'm sharing is because even though they might not be so tiny anymore, the Tiny Showcase folks still think small. A portion of proceeds from prints sold still go to causes of the artist's choice.

If you haven't discovered Tiny Showcase, check them out. Their home page is a great resource for print fans. And if you want to get in on the action every Tuesday night, act quickly.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Couple from Craig Atkinson
Craig Atkinson is the man behind Café Royal. I try not to offer crazy advice here, but I’m departing from that policy. Take $50 or $100, visit Café Royal, and start ordering things. Order pretty much anything, and then simply wait for your package to arrive. After your package arrives, whisper a silent thank you and enjoy.

Café Royal reminds me of a British version of the online shop USS Catastrophe mixed with the sensibility of Paper Rodeo.

As an introduction to Café Royal, Craig sent a couple of his own books.

Book 1 is a 100 page square bound paperback collecting drawings, makeshift signs, Spanish napkins, and a few images of street art. Craig’s style is that lovely, loose, sketchy line that gives everything a touch of the crumbles. In one section, he sketches a succession of radios and electronics. They look like they could either work flawlessly or fall apart at the first human touch.

Social Club, a 150 page square bound paperback, continues where Book 1 ends. Like Book 1, Social Club collects drawings, sketches, and assorted ephemera. In this volume, Craig concentrates a bit more on human faces and figures. Love these wrestlers.
If you’re a fan of the work of Mark Todd, Gary Panter, Mat Brinkman, or Brian Chippendale, you’ll find much to like in Craig Atkinson’s work. Book 1 is 10 pounds, the larger Social Club is 12 pounds. If that’s too steep for you, pick up a copy of Craig’s Happy Birthday for a mere 2 pounds.

Café Royal’s website has work from several artists available. Check out all the preview samples and go spend some money. You'll be happy you did.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Small Presser in Need of Help

I received word from Mr. Big himself, Matt Dembicki, that a long time veteran of self-published comics, Mike Roden is battling colon cancer. That sucks on so many levels. First of all, I hate that good people get nasty diseases like cancer. It’s one of the reasons that my day job is a program manager for a non-profit health services research institute. Not enough people care enough to improve our healthcare system; we could focus on prevention if we weren’t too busy whoring ourselves out to big pharmaceutical companies and special interest groups.

Anyway, stepping off my soapbox… Mr. Roden has been diagnosed with colon cancer – a pretty nasty cancer as cancers go. It’s one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the US. Early detection certainly helps the prognosis for survival, but we do a pretty crappy job overall in colorectal (CRC) screening. Unfortunately, Mr. Roden has already been diagnosed with colon cancer and treatment, unlike prevention, is very costly. He’s probably facing radiation treatment, surgery, or chemotherapy. None of these treatments are any fun. They each carry their own risks and side effects and costs. Mr. Rosen is going to need some help.

Check out the details in this flyer. The good folks in the small press community want to do something to help him out. There’s a benefit through March 31st and they are planning some raffles at S.P.A.C.E..

If you'd like to contribute something, either comics, prints, T-shirts, original art, etc., please let Matt Dimbicki know at

The SIZE MATTERS office will be contributing over 200 mini-comics to the raffle. A good portion of these minis are mini-comics sent in to the SIZE MATTERS offices over the last two years, so each of you that have sent minis for review will be contributing in a way.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A word of advice: if you have a nagging, bone rattling cough for more than six weeks, it’s probably not a good sign. And if you try to battle said cough with massive amounts of Nyquil and whisky instead of reluctantly submitting to a round of antibiotics, you may have signed up for a nice case of bronchitis that leads to pneumonia. The Nyquil and whisky will certainly knock out the cough and help you sleep, but you’ve got to wake up and function in the real world at some point. Caffeine is a big help unless you’re piling a venti Starbucks and two Diet Cokes on top of the Nyquil. Hello heart arrhythmia.

Six weeks of dry coughing, an echo stress test, and a heart event monitor later, I feel pretty damn good. But that was a bad six weeks. Unfortunately, you devoted mini-comic crafters have continued cranking out fun stuff while I’ve been out of commission.

Some great things have been arriving in the mailbox. The Partyka gang sent some new stuff. Oliver East has another episode of Trains Are Mint, and Craig Atkinson sent in a few awesome books. In a moment of lucidity I snuck a review of Sarah Morean’s Bad Time for a Polar Bear in, but she also sent a couple of other minis, including the following mini-comic novel.

Human by Sarah Morean At 120 pages, Sarah Morean’s Human encompasses ten years of her romantic life. Sarah doesn’t shy away from honesty in her subject or art. One of the most charming aspects of her story is that she just draws. She doesn’t bother trying to perfect her line, she just draws. As a reader you’ll watch her style morph and change from chapter to chapter. She subtly alters ways of rendering her hair and glasses and other details to suit her mood and the story. It’s a very refreshing way to tell a long form tale.

About a third of the way through the story, things turn serious. Sarah shows a great deal of maturity and humor when her life changes. A things grow serious around her, she adapts, even making mini-comics for her latest beau. Now I want to see a copy of “Monkey Explosion.” “It is how all monkeys are born BOOM!”

Here’s a few samples of Human that show how Sarah’s art changes through the 120 pages. Get your own copy of Human from Sarah’s website. Human is a steep $9, but it’s much larger than your typical mini-comic.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Bad Time for a Polar Bear by Sarah Morean Sarah Morean sent in a few minis to the SIZE MATTERS offices. One of them, A Bad Time for a Polar Bear is undeniably cute and sad. Over 16 pages, Sarah’s polar bear stumbles upon times when it’s clearly bad to be a polar bear. For instance, you’re a polar bear and someone recognizes you are wearing a toupee - bad time for a polar bear. Or sitting on a couch at a party, martini in hand, and all the humans are clustered in a cozy, talkative group. You’re being ignored, and it’s another bad time for a polar bear.

On each page a single panel shows the reader a new situation for our polar bear friend. The art is simply drawn and dominated by the polar bear. Sarah keeps backgrounds to a minimum, relying on basic props for her gag. Every page delivers. This is a perfectly drawn and executed gag panel mini-comic. Yet it ends with a little punch in the gut. The last page of a polar bear trapped on a melting ice cap shows you where Sarah’s heart is in this comic.

A Bad Time for a Polar Bear is only a $1. Go to Sarah’s website store and buy a handful for all of your friends. Tune in tomorrow for another Sarah Morean mini-comic, Human.