Here are the digest-sized comics I’ve received recently:
Andros 9 – B&W, 20 pages. 2021. A collection of strips, many of which I’ve seen in other anthologies like Not My Small Diary and Bottoms Up! Clotfelter switches back and forth between funny fictional strips and diary comics. I loved “Who Punked the Punk?!?”, a 4 page comic about trying to fit in with junior high school kids. The book ends with “The Big Chicken”, which is a summary of life struggle up to a point where he moves to Seatle.
Snake Meat 8 – a slightly smaller than digest size book, B&W, 20 pages 2019? This issue contains mostly single panel doodle drawings with 2 gag strips. I see a few humans beating back the hoards of mucus-monsters, and eyeballs galore. I think my favorite is the Josephine sailor drawing. One of the two gag strips is a one-pager about union busters. Who is breaking the strike is the surprise.
$3 each – inquire by writing to maxclotfelter at gmail dot com
Apricot O’Toon 1 and 2 – Buniak mostly parades his ability to draw pretty pin up gals in his digest comics, but the first issue begins with a 2 page comic called “Amini” in which he agonizes over beginning to make a digest comic by over-analyzing the formatting details. His muse-character, Apricot, stands nearby and criticizes him for procrastinating. Then it gets going with various characters that have popped up in Cartoon Loonacy such as Babette Quark and Carrie O’Toon. 16 pages. Issue 2 is 16 pages – more of the same. The pin-up characters get blown up, and apparel removed under various unfortunate circumstances. They hide behind curtains, but the Inconvenient Mirror Corporation keeps them revealed.
$2 + 2 forever stamps sent to PO Box 5863 Clark, NJ 07066 will get you an issue of Apricot O’Toon.
Inspector Ebay of the Cairo Police, B&W, 16 pages. 2021. Larned gets back into self-publishing after a long hiatus, and has a youtube channel as well where he showcases other self-published works alongside Steve Keeter. In this issue, we get a long narrative about an Inspector Ebay (who is similarly competent to Inspector Clouseau or Charlie Chan). He and Sargant Wannabe follow the clues thrown in their faces to catch a mastermind criminal named Dr Foo Achoo. The humor style will whack you on the head with the obvious stated. Inspector Ebay speculates in a panel that Dr. Foo Achoo doesn’t have henchmen but then – Editor’s note: Dr. Foo Achoo DOES have Henchmen!. And in the next panel, in case the editor’s note wasn’t enough for you, dear clueless reader, you see the henchmen marching off to spy on Inspector Ebay. I love this kind of joke, and Larned Justin pulls off some funny stuff in 16 pages.
Candid Cartoons – an 8 page mini fell out of my copy of Inspector Ebay! It has a parade of characters by Larned Justin.
$4 ppd. Inquire by sending an email to larnedjustin at gmail dot com
Peculiar Paper People 14, full color, 16 pages, 2020. Always full of poetry, Billy McKay shows us monsters in a different light. This one starts off with a man named Buzz riding a white buffalo (hmm!), and continues on with a poem about “the Inside Outsiders.” There’s “the Secret Nightmare Factory” followed by “Franky and Joey Find 5 Bucks.” Seems like the moral of the story: when your conscious is bumming you out, eat her? And then it all ends with 5 frivolous fables, as usual. It sure is fun to see all of Billy’s old and new comix in full color.
$2.00 or a trade http://billytherobot.etsy.com
Tales for the Toilet #3
The gross, the gooey, and the grimy, here comes another Tales for the Toilet anthology. It will be hard to forget what you’re doing on the porcelain throne while reading comix by Paul KortJohn, Nathaniel J.K., Adam Yeater, Vickie Smalls, and others. As an example, Jamie Barrows’ “Love Lotion No. 2” is about a guy sitting on the john wishing for his long lost love to return. She does, but as a shitty sewer monstrosity right up through the pot he’s sitting on. He’s devoured, and it’s over. The end! Every tale is a wild ride, that goes somewhere south like this. So if that’s what you want while taking a dump, then there’s a comic out there for you.
2£ – To inquire, DM through Instagram at pkortjohncomix
Tortilla Comix 5 and 6
A couple of really great issues here. 5 is a milestone for Jaime Crespo who says it’s the first time he’s hit this number in all the years he’s been making comix. And he’s really hit a great stride with this one man anthology. There are so many great comix in here beginning with an alien invasion (look out, Jaime!). “Bottom of My Heart” is an enduring story from his childhood about he and his friend dodging a bully to get penny candy at the local store. The ending is hilariously high on melodrama. “Boris” is about an unlikely friendship that leaves our cartoonist thinking about the meaning of his existence. And then finally a sweet irreverent tale about teenage Biblical Jesus.
In 6, Crespo takes us aback to his days in punk bands in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The story centers on one of the final bands he played for and about how road trips went sharing the same tape player for everyone to “enjoy” each other’s (ahem) diverse musical tastes. In “Midnight Getaway”, we get a glimpse of junior high Jaime and his buddy sneaking out in the middle of the night together. It’s a great piece on how meditation can sometimes come into someone’s life maybe by accident. “Dedication” got me. I just couldn’t stop reading. I had to know if Jaime ended up liking that album he pedaled in the rain for. The 2 page ending piece dedicated to Crespo’s mother was absolutely sad and beautiful at the same time.
You can get these and other comix by Jaime at http://corntorillapress.com
Sarahlife 1 had a real romp and stomp feel to it, but here, the weight of responsibility and life starts to creep in on the cartoonist. This issue feels like it’s been made almost to spite all of that. Sarah Wood throws down the gauntlet to complete Sarahlife 2 for an upcoming creator’s showcase. By the way, all of this is laid out in 4 panel single page gags. There is no preface text explaining anything. Instead, Sarah explains the making of this book within her one page cartoons, and yet she retains the ability to throw down punchlines on every page. Very few cartoonists are able to pull this off, but Wood does a great job. Because these comics were created in such a short period of time (1 month for 27 pages plus a photo of her process and studio on the last page), there’s a real succinct quality about the comics and ideas. There’s the continuous self-deprication that a creator faces when no idea comes, but Wood surprises with a final punchline that actually bolsters her self-esteem. It feels so real and honest. There’s a survival aspect to it that shows how someone who can’t afford the privilege of wallowing in self-pity (think white guy cartoonists like Charles Schultz), have to basically give themselves their own booster shots in order to survive. God I hope there’s a Sarahlife 3 someday.
You can get in touch with Sarah Wood for more comics by checking out http://woodsarah.tumlr.com or Instagram at guwanciale
King Cat 80
A 36 page comics and journal zine by John Porcellino. King Cat 80 is not the most recent piece, but it’s sitting here with these other digests, so I thought I’d throw in the review for it. While Porcellino’s covers are getting more lush, it seems his interior comix art is staying as spare as always. There’s some simple observations of the natural world around him, and the human to animal interactions that occur. The “List of Birds Spotted in Our Yard” is quite a demonstration of staying home and observing what’s there. A lot of people have been forced to stay at home, but this practice was nice to see how well it can be done. There is a meditation on the cartoonists mom then and now, as well as an actual photograph of her when she was young on the back. It’s a heartwarming photograph and comic. And finally, there is some grief observed about the passing of a beloved pet, and the welcoming of a new chapter as a new pet enters into his life.
You can get King Cat comics and stories 80 (and 81!) by visiting https://www.spitandahalf.com
I always find it funny when a zine creator talks about their production as a “we” when it’s usually just one person behind the thing. But in Steve Keeter’s case, he does collaborate with the help of others to make his fanzines happen. In this issue of Sunwing, Larry Blake writes and pencils the comic with Tom Ahearn inking, and David Branstetter on cover color. Kip Creel also contributed a drawing.
The story finds Sunwing and Pals investigating some strange crimes that coincidentally happen near concerts staged by glam rock musician, Vann Hellsinger, a newly reformed super villain. Has he really reformed, or is this just a cover up for some nefarious plot? The story is a 20 page monster mash / b movie rock opera. There’s lots of dramatic posing, which of course there has to be. Heroes gotta pose (even when drinking coffee)! It’s sincere. It’s campy (in a funny good way). It’s $4.50. It’s worth it!
Inquire by writing to stevekeeter at gmail dot com.