Friday, November 06, 2009

Well it seems I've missed blogging a bit, since I started a website of film photography, primarily of places and things here in NYC. I guess it's in my blood... Anyway, really been digging the cool comic shops here in New York.

Desert Island in Brooklyn just knocks my socks off and I love the front of it. This is a shot from Fantagraphics Flickr Page.

And of course Rocketship Comics, right down the street from my new favorite whiskey bar is always a fine store to visit.

Have to admit that I've been most impressed with Bergen Street Comics, which is just a 15 minute walk from Rocketship. I love these guys. Their store is not what you normally expect from a comic shop. Inside it's all gorgeous wood and aesthetically pleasing. When Kate and I walked in the first time, she was like, "Wow, this doesn't even feel like a comic shop." She's right. It feels more like a well stocked independent book store that just happens to specialize in comics. And EVERY time I've been there, someone gets up from behind the counter, walks over to me, and politely asks, "Do you need any help finding something?" That's it. Pretty damn simple. I tell them no thanks, and they disappear like a ghost. Back to browsing... That's really nice.

Over here in Manhattan, I haven't found as many new places. The new to me Forbidden Planet in Union Square is jam packed with good stuff and TONS of mini comics. That was a nice surprise. Plus it's really close to The Strand, which means I get loaded down with comic books and book books all on one subway trip.

So, who knows. Maybe I'll get back to cranking this rusty old thing up. It's certainly been nice to get email and questions from people still about mini-comics.

In the meantime, if you are intereseted in photos of the city, check me out over at Still Life.

Hope everyone is enjoying their fall.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Contest Winner!

Hey folks, thank you SO much for all the nice comments and emails. Your kind words really mean a lot to me. I've met a lot of great people through this blog and am lucky to have my life enriched by knowing many of you.

Twenty-six people emailed to enter the contest for the box of comics and Kate picked the winning number. And the winner is... Sarah Morean. Congrats, Sarah!

It's kind of cool, because Sarah review minis too over at The Daily Crosshatch. The box of mini-comics will be on it's way shortly.

So long!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hiatus and Contest
I'm sure this will come as no surprise as I haven't updated here since late June, but I'm going to take extended time away from posting reviews on SIZE MATTERS.

Between work, exploring the city, and spending quality time with Kate, my life is embarrassingly full right now. Last year was one of those years, and I've been seriously re-evaluating things and what's important to me. I'm working on my own comic and spending a lot of time reading books and writing.

I will keep SIZE MATTERS up as a resource. Maybe I'll revisit reviewing when winter hits and I'm not out running the streets. In the meantime, I'll probably post pages of my own stuff here when I feel like sharing.

For all of you who are waiting on reviews, I'm sorry if I haven't got to your work. Luckily, there's a bunch of other reviewers who are much more dedicated to showing your stuff to the world. I started SIZE MATTERS on July 20th, 2005 when I noticed there wasn't sufficient coverage of minis. I'm so happy that has changed.

For now, it's time to move on. I've got too many other things rattling around in my head to concentrate. I'll see most of you around. I'll keep abreast of what people are doing on Facebook and I'll still check out local shows and events.

I'd like to thank everyone who has read the blog over the years. Thank you, thank you. I'm really glad I was able to share some of these amazing mini-comics with you. And thank you to everyone who sent in minis for review. I've always been impressed with the creativity and energy that I've discovered in your work. You guys and gals are awesome.

Before I turn out the lights, here's a very quick look at some interesting stuff that I was hoping to review before I shut down. Please visit the links provided to find out more.

City Under Sand and Casual Sex by David Beyer Nine Gallons by Susie Cagle Big Un Visits the City by Brian Leonard Nurse Nurse 3 and 4 by Katie Skelley Candy or Medicine Volume Six by Josh Blair, et al Here's Blobby by Patrick Morgan Sunward by Jason Viola The Moth or the Flame by Joshua Ray Stephens This is a gorgeous hardcover book. Sam and Dan by Jeff Lok Exploding Head Man by Jason Overby Look at this beautiful envelope from Jason. I'm gonna miss that kind of shit. And one last thing - I have a huge box of mini-comics sitting in a sub 500 square foot apartment. I need to get rid of these beautiful little things. So, if you want a big box full of mini-comics (probably about 100 minis I would guess), drop me an email titled "I want that box of mini-comics!"

I'll have Kate pick a random number between 1 and the number of emails received between now and August 31st. The corresponding email response that matches the random number will win the comics and I'll ship them out to you.

I'll see you around.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Up a Blind Alley and Paunch by Scott Smith Scott Smith's Up A Blind Alley, subtitled "When did I get to be so boring," entertains with its deadpan humor and laconic pace. Scott's art is rather stiff, but it works well in this mini-comic. For instance, there's a panel to panel transition that has Scott talking to a girl at a boring party. It's one of those situations where he doesn't know anyone and feels awkward. In the first panel as the girl faces him, he starts to say something about teaching. Rather abruptly in the next panel, the girl's head is turned away from him. His thought bubble says, "Fair enough." The stiffness of Scott's art adds to the feeling that one might get at such an event.

The stories in the 36-page Up A Blind Alley meander into each other kind of like life unfolds. Before you know it, Scott slips off to a local pub and runs into this: I enjoyed Scott's work here. It's slice of life, autobiographical stuff that most of us can easily relate to. He records awkward moments that revolve around the unpredictability of our fellow travelers.

The pages of Blind Alley are cream colored and Scott uses some nice shading to give his art some depth. This one has a nice, deep black cover with a hand colored figure of the artist walking in a blind alley, scratching his head. It's a good juxtaposition with the content inside.

In Scott's fourth and latest issue of Paunch he steps out from the autobiographical and into more straightforward storytelling. Three of the four stories ("Cat in a Bag," "Forbes Thorpe in... Speed Date," and "Charlie Cymric: Part Four") are character pieces about a creepy old guy, a creepy younger guy, and a guy recently out of prison. In the fourth piece, Scott gets back to Scott's observations on things that bug him - some game show hosts, sunglasses worn inside, bed head, drinking tea just to be cool.

You can check out more of Scott's stuff at his blog. I'm sorry I don't see a price for these, but if you email Scott, I'm sure he can give ou the scoop. One last thing, I liked this little "Thank You" page:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yearbooks by Nicholas Breutzman, Shaun Feltz, and Raighne Hogan Flipping the mailing envelope of an ordinary SIZE MATTERS package revealed this: Inside Yearbooks, these very panels show up in a dream sequence, as main character Ryan dreams that a teacher, pushed by the emotions of the children's intense art, goes batshit insane on the kids in a classroom. Yearbooks is written by Nicholas Breutzman and Shaun Feltz, Nicholas handles the art, and Raighne Hogan adds the colors. It's a joint effort for sure, but it flows in a natural manner from start to finish. The story, from creepy dream sequence to almost apocalyptic ending, perfectly captures the creepiness and angst of high school, and Nicholas' art only adds to the effect. He does a fantastic job of capturing emotion in the character's faces, especially the creepy, blank stare of the bespectacled art teacher. When you look at this whole package, what really makes this project crackle with energy is the vibrancy of Raighne Hogan's colors. The red of Ryan's hair, the mostly green background, and the bright pink skin tones give the pages an extra pop. The subtly shifting panel layouts keep things lively as well.
The voyage that Ryan takes as he gets to know more about his art teacher resonates with that slightly off kilter vibe that marks our high school years. Everything seems a little more charged and mysterious. This is very captivating cartooning in a sleek and seductive package. It's only 40 pages for $13, but the over-sized (11"x8") landscape orientation packs in a lot of material.

Get your own copy at the 2D Cloud website.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Jim8Ball's Carnival of Comics This could be the best deal in mini-comics: 25 black and white minis with color covers packed into a circus-inspired box for $20. Feast your eyes on this: I sat down and opened this box of minis from Jim Coon over the weekend, expecting to find a handful of good minis and a pile of stinkers. No such luck. I smirked and laughed my way through almost all of them, except for a three issue series called Super Soap that just didn't do it for me.

Jim's art is professional and deadly consistent. He's been making his own comics since the Reagan administration, so the consistency is understandable. But it's still nice to see that each of these minis are so solid. Most of them are quarter page format, with a few eighth of a page size ones thrown in. I started with the smaller format and a couple of them were my favorites - It Came From the Sea and Robot vs. Alien. Both of these 16-pagers are heavily indebted to the monster movies that Jim and I probably both grew up watching and both feature single panel per page layouts with captions telling the story.
I also really enjoyed the five-issue series Tail of the Tomcat Samurai. This felt a bit like Stan Sakai's awesome Usagi Yojimbo series, but Jim's tongue is a little firmer in cheek than Stan's. Each issue has a "to be continued" drop that makes you wonder what's about to happen next. Issue two has a particularly heinous surprise for Meowki San aka the TomCat Samurai. These eight-page minis are packed with shifting panel structures and an abnormal amount of action.

Lola and the Spaceman is probably the simplest of these minis, but it's also one of the best. A spaceman lands on Lola's planet and the two of them fall in love. Unfortunately spaceman's oxygen tank is limited. Poor Lola just wants to help her new love, but sometimes love hurts... This one is wordless, but Jim does a great job of showing the two character's emotions as the story unfolds.
Get more information at Jim's blog. He has multiple deals on this page, including a slightly risque mature audience pack. I would suggest the Robot and Monster Pack for $4 for starters. You can buy individual comics or any combination at his Etsy store.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lost Kisses and Worms by Brian John Mitchell These minuscule mini-comics are adorably sized. The cute factor ends there, however. Inside it’s sci-fi dread and hard-core issues of hate, guilt, and anger.

I love that each mini is barely larger than a postage stamp. And it’s also nice that they come in snug, clear plastic sleeves. Brian gets an A for packaging. Inside things don’t go so well. The two issues of Lost Kisses deal with a stick figure character’s feelings about an ex-girlfriend. Over two disturbing issues, the guy finds that he may or may not have indirectly led to his ex’s house being broken into, which leads to her being beaten into a coma.

Over 40-single panel pages, the main character talks to the reader in word balloons; underneath Brian types captions that usually telegraph the action above, but sometimes lead you in a different direction. It’s a bit disconcerting at times. For instance, at some point in issue 8 the ex goes from being in a coma to actually being dead. After rereading, I couldn’t figure out where it happened, where she went from coma to dead, but it did happen. I think. Brian’s art in Lost Kisses is stick figure drawings with minimal props and no background. It’s serviceable to the story, but unfortunately as flat and lifeless as the computer font in the captions.

Worms, with artwork by Kimberlee Traub, is physically similar to Lost Kisses. The panels are one per page and the mini-comic is tiny. The art is livelier, but still very basic. Her line is thicker and her drawings are more varied. Worms is the third part of a tense story where a girl wakes up in an ICU with an IV bag full of worms. The captions totally mimic the action drawn above, which gets tedious, but the story does grab you and move along quite nicely. You can check out more on Brian's minis at his SilberMedia website. Issues one through four are just $1 each, not sure about these two issues, but give Brian a shout on his website and he can give you the scoop.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Urgent Telex by Hurk Hurk's, er Lord Hurk's 44-page mini-comic Urgent Telex is a handsomely outfitted comic with screen printed covers and cool graph paper endpapers. Inside you'll find three stories and a few one page pinups. The best story is the creepy and colorful, "Glass Chops." A redneck type fellow sends his teeth off to hunt some pigs in the forest, but the teeth, who have morphed into little sentient creatures, find out that the pigs might be one step ahead. The longest story, "Bozak the Space Dictator," is less engaging (maybe after the technicolor glory of "Glass Chops" it couldn't be helped) but gets points for effectively lampooning our chimp of a an ex-president George Bush . Hurk's art is expressive and fun. Often it brings to mind some of the better work in the now defunct Nickelodeon Magazine. I especially enjoy the use of the benday dots in his backgrounds.

Hopefully, copies will be still be available a Hurk sent this in for review ages ago. Check his blog, website, and he's even got an Etsy shop. Definitely check out these posts on his blog of his latest work, The Odd Hour Presents.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

MoCCA Continued
My apologies to everyone at MoCCA who I didn't get around to visiting. I've heard from several people who saw me pass by their table - pass by being the operative word - and I feel kind of bad about that. For some reason I didn't pick up a map of tables and it took me a few laps to orient myself. I did stop and talk to several people, but despite my best intentions I didn't make it back for my final round after the Panter/Santoro panel. For instance I really wanted to talk to Katie Skelly some more about Nurse, Nurse but never made it back to her table. I saw Marek Bennet talking to someone and made a mental note to go back, and then never made it back.

MoCCA wasn't a total loss though, I got to talk to several people and pick up some great books. For starters, I ran into Marcos Perez and Justin Fox, two of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. I have a handful of their comics for upcoming reviews and it's been awhile since I've checked out their stuff. Also got sucked into the Partyka table. John Meijas had this amazing book with huge, painted wood covers. Inside was just too good to be true. When I asked him the price, he sheepishly said it was $100. I didn't get a copy there, but John says they are available at Desert Island, which I REALLY need to visit, and St. Mark's Books, which I did pop into on the way to Angel's Share cocktail bar on Sunday night.

Talked to John and Shawn Cheng for a bit and bought a couple comics that I hadn't had a chance to see. I really loved the self explanatory Matt Wiegle's Monsters & Condiments and Shawn's Whiskey Jack & Kid Coyote Meet the King of Stink. I haven't cracked open the copy of Paping yet, but it's on the nightstand. Here's a shot of the Paping books: Also talked got to meet Tom Gauld and picked up the third volume of Three Very Small Comics. Tom's packaging as always is first rate.
I talked to the super sweet Meghan Hogan of Good Minnesotan for a bit and was bummed that I missed her husband Raighne. Right next door I found Cathy Leamy and got to chat with her for a little bit. I'll have reviews of her stuff coming up. Then abruptly I was face to face with the wild-bearded Raighne Hogan. His beard was truly a site to behold and we held court on vegan and vegetarian food for a bit.

I also got to meet Kevin Church for the first time, which is kind of weird since I already feel like I know him from his many online ventures. Kevin, I hope you made it to The Spotted Pig after the show.

And that's pretty much it for my MoCCA visit. As the Panter/Santoro panel was winding down - it was at that point that I hate, where the audience members were asking questions (or also know as let me show everyone how smart I am) - I got texted away on a beauty emergency. So, everyone that I didn't get to talk to or return to, I'll see you next year or maybe at SPX.

Pictures of the PictureBox table:
Buenaventura Table: