Tuesday, August 27, 2013

HelLA #3

Title: HelLA
Issue: 3
Date: 2010
Publisher: Cody Pickrodt
Writer: Cody Pickrodt
Artist: Cody Pickrodt

Another installment in this autobiographical (and geeky!) series about the artist's time living in Los Angeles.

This issue includes weirdly deformed tonsils, a mesmerizing pocket protector, nasty neighbors, and the guy rocking out at the chain bookstore music station.

There is also some of the best artwork in the series, particularly on a strip about the canyon behind the artist's house, and on his makeup with his girlfriend after a fight.

Artistically the best in this series, and some good quirky stories too.

Rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, August 24, 2013

HelLA Special Edition

Title: HelLA Special Edition
Date: 2010
Publisher: Cody Pickrodt
Writer: Cody Pickrodt
Artist: Cody Pickrodt

Short vignettes of the artist's life in Los Angeles. This issue is slightly more raunchy and contains fewer geeky references than HelLA #1. It is very quirky and odd in a "truth is stranger than fiction" sort of way. Topics covered include flossing, massage, cuttlefish, and the classic West Coast experience: an earthquake.

Plenty of amusing and unexpected observations in this issue.

Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NPC Free Sampler

Continuing through the stash of unread minicomics.

Title: NPC Free Sampler
Publisher: Randall Drew and Haroon Piracha
Date: 2012
Creators: Randall Drew, Haroon Piracha

NPC, in this case, stands for Non-Playable Comic. This is a comic strip sample by two guys who are involved in video game sound and music. The focus is video game culture and the video game industry. This is a small mini, just one sheet folded, that opens to show two comic strips.

Disclaimer: I am a geek in most traditional areas of geekery, but video games is not one of those areas for me. The last video game system I owned was an Atari 2600. That being said...

I wasn't completely sure if I got the joke in the first comic, but it had a Pokemon reference so it provided some degree of amusement. The second strip was more industry-related, and this time I got the joke and it was pretty funny and made a good point as well.

So for my personal amusement, I would love to see more comics like the second one, but the target audience of serious video game fans will still get more mileage out of this than I did.

Rating: 6.5/10

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dead West Test #1

Dug out of the backlog and read/reviewed at the Wellfleet Flea Market.

Title: Dead West Test
Issue: #1
Publisher: Gigantic Graphic Novels
Date: 2004
Writer: Rick Spears
Artist: Rob G.

Minicomic ashcan previewing the full graphic novel.

A girl and her dog are menaced by thugs in an Old West border town. A gunfighter intervenes, but that is just the start of the girl's troubles.

Gritty western action. The art style works nicely, and the action is realistic. This minicomic only contains one scene of the story, but I was impressed with the amount of character development the two main characters get in such a small space.

Rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Successful Slaughter

Back to Slovakia we go with Marek Bennett. This is another minicomic that I traded for at the 2013 Rochester NH Free Comic Book Day Festival.

Title: Successful Slaughter
Publisher: Marek Bennett
Date: 2012
Writer: Marek Bennett
Artist: Marek Bennett

The artist is visiting distant relatives in Slovakia and gets invited to help with "slaughtering half a bull". He's expecting blood, guts, and chainsaws, but there has been a bit of language confusion. The bull has already been slaughtered, and the work that remains is to prep the meat for storage. And drink vodka. And then drink more vodka.

In between all of the meat-cutting and vodka-drinking, we get bunches of insights into Slovakia's language, culture, and lifestyles. All with the narrator drawn as an anthropomorphic bunny.

And in case you might be wondering why anyone would want to travel to Slovakia in the first place, Marek Bennett conveniently wrote another minicomic that addresses that exact question. I reviewed it here.

Successful Slaughter is funny, loaded with insights, and was, well, successful at entertaining me.

Rating: 8/10

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bloodfurs Shame

Another product of Marek Bennett's workshops for young creators. This was in the batch I traded for at the 2013 Rochester Free Comic Book Day Festival.

Title: Bloodfurs Shame
Publisher: Marek Bennett
Date: 2013
Writer: Katharine Sprague
Artist: Katharine Sprague

Minimalist tragedy involving cats, some sort of feline war, and a rather unforgiving road.

Katharine Sprague does a good job of getting the bare bones of the tale across with simple images and just a bit of dialogue. Nice use of storytelling in a small space.

Rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Square Dance #6

Here's one of Colin Tedford's minicomics, taken from the backlog.

Title: Square Dance
Issue: #6
Date: 2013
Publisher: Colin Tedford
Writer: Colin Tedford
Artist: Colin Tedford

Anthology of comics by Colin Tedford. Opens with the adventures of Headache and Nausea, a couple of notorious party crasher types.There are a couple of political/environmental pieces, some wordless strips, a couple of silly Halloween comics (including the complete Midnight Snack, which also appears as a minicomic that I reviewed here.).

There is a nice surreal quality to the wordless "Summer in Headville", and the "Noodle Wrestling Mayhem" comic is loaded with awesome puns.

But by far the centerpiece of this issue is "The Story of Jake Tuesday", which features local traditions, Morris dance, and a story of a man who was literally rescued from death.

Good collection, especially the "Jake Tuesday" story, which has a ton of heart. Awesome detail work on the artwork as well.

Rating: 7.5/10

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Hole

A Minicomic I traded for at the Rochester NH Free Comic Book Day Festival.

Title: The Hole
Publisher: Marek Bennett
Date: 2013
Writer: Janessa Libby
Artist: Janessa Libby

A tale of two girls, a lava hole, a stick, a marshmallow, the sun, several clouds, a fire, and a baby fire. This is a quarter-sized minicomic by a young creator in one of Marek Bennett's minicomic workshops. The small panels and dialogue make this one a bit hard to figure out, but it has several really cute panels, and a generally bizarre feel.

Also included is a preview of the upcoming sequel featuring the Blob Horse, which has 10 legs so it can run really fast. And a big tail!

Rating: 6.5/10

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Here's another minicomic of unknown origin from the backlog.

Title: Fruitless
Publisher: Allie Kleber
Date: 2010
Writer: Allie Kleber
Artist: Allie Kleber

Tragic love story involving a robot, a squirrel, a scientist, and a snowman set in a post-apocalyptic outpost in the Arctic. The squirrel serves as the serpent in this version of the Garden of Eden.

Cleverly told and fun.

Rating: 7.5/10