Garcia I go
to WonderCon not to ogle the booth babes (though I just
happen to do when I have a moment) or meet-and-greet the
Big Name Pros (except for Phil Foglio). I go to buy small
comics that I’d never get a chance to read otherwise.
Our Man Trolling For The Best In Small Press
con I go to, I take a chance and buy a dozen or so titles
that I’d never heard anything about. Usually, a high
percentage of these turn out to be good, and this year three
different titles turned out to be beyond my imagination
excellent. There were others that were just really really
good front, I bought a manga-esque title called Little
Bat Koku by Jim Kilpatrick. It’s a fun
little story, but I’m just not a manga fan. Still,
the characters are sound and there’s a great scene
of Koku getting seen by the rabble and hounded that I thought
was very effective. You can find art by Mr. Kilpatrick by
looking for user koku-chan on Deviantart.com.
up to very good is the work of Ryan Clayton. He had a 24
Comic called Rock & Soul that
I rather enjoyed despite it being a wordless comic. I usually
have some trouble with those, but here it was OK. It’s
the story of a road trip that sings at times, even if it
doesn’t talk. I more enjoyed Ryan’s other offering,
three issues of a mini-comic called And Then
One Day, partly due to the presence of words,
partly due to the autobiographical nature of the material.
Each page is a different day in Ryan’s life and they
are all beautifully done in a style that is simple and expressive.
The page for the day Will Eisner passed is touching, and
all three issues kept me reading. The fact that the covers
of these little wonders are fuzzy help as well. You can
find out more about Ryan Clayton’s work at www.ElephantEater.com
the old Paradox Big Book format where they’d take
little stories and illustrate them. I also love the Bay
Area. And I’m a big fan of pets. Put them all together
and you’ve got Pet Noir,
a series of Bay Area pet tragedies written by Shannon O’Leary.
The three stories are all familiar to folks from around
my part of the world: the SF dog mauling, the guy who threw
the little dog into traffic, the Cat Lady, and the use of
a bunch of different artists for the stories and for full-page
art pieces really gives Pet Noir a unique look.
Shannon maintains the Starryshine.net
Hanvey is a talented guy. His comic The Stereos
is a classic classic kid story: A Battle of the Bands with
the evil band, the good guys and the other band. The characters
are identified on the back cover as The Geek, The Goth,
The Slacker and the Punk, and they all fit their titles,
but they also manage to fill out a good realism. It’s
a lot like a really good teen comedy (I’m thinking
Ten Things I Hate About You level) only smarter. Check out
for all of the Geek Pride info.
Broadway did not have a booth or table at WonderCon this
year, so my traditional favorite wasn’t there, but
Louie Del Carmen’s Random Anomalies
is right up there with the best of Curtis’ stuff.
Random Anomalies tells little single page stories of, as
the front page says, Fate and Synchronicity. It’s
a beautiful piece, absolutely gorgeous, and the little stories
are interesting and smart. I really liked it and I hope
that I get to read more. You can do just that at louiedelcarmen.com.
uneven, but at times brilliant, is Tabloia Weekly
Magazine by Chris Wisnia. The first issue
opens with the strongest story by far, called The Lump,
about a traffic jam and a body found on the road. Of all
the story arcs I bought at WonderCon, The Lump is my single
favorite. With stories like Dick Hammer: Conservative Republican
Private Investigator, Wisnia manages to be entertaining,
but not quite to the level of The Lump, which carries on.
He also has pin-ups done by the likes of Dick Ayer and Los
Bros Hernandez. There’s more at Tabloia.com.
brilliant comic that I was so happy to read was Journey
Into Misery. Mostly, it’s a story of
a guy who gets taken by aliens into deep space before being
saved by the Unified Planets save him and leave him in deep
space since they don’t know where he’s really
from. It’s a little like Futurama meets Last
Starfighter meets…well, there’s something
there that I’ve never seen before. Along with that
story, there are various other little bits, including one
about a Super Genius Lobster that must be read by all. A
wonderful comic that makes me believe in the future of sequential
story-telling again. You can see more at journeyintomisery.com.
best of the continuing stories was Byron,
by Karl Christian, whose comics Sturm und Drang
were a fave of mine a couple of years back at APE. This
time, he’s giving us Byron, a tale of a Goth guy who
wants to live in a world of darkness and magic only to find
out that he’s living in a world of darkness and magic.
It’s a great take on a classic story and I was so
mad that he only had issues 1 and 2 finished when I wanted
to know what the whole story was. It’s one of those
comics you can just love from moment one. Sadly, he’s
not got a website, but if you’re looking for buying
info, I’m sure he’ll be happy to tell you if
you mailed him.
of Con had to be a little book called Caught
Creatures. While there was not a lot separating
the wonder of Journey Into Misery and Byron,
Caught Creatures just made me a happy happy man. It’s
a book of haiku, which usually I hate, but here they are
so well presented with such excellent art. It’s a
series of haiku about the monsters kept by Duke Davis in
his Steam Castle. It’s all computer art, but the style
and the talent in both the writing and art creation is obviously
huge. It’s one of those little comic-like things that
I say everyone should read. Steamcrow.com
for more is where you should search.
in all, it’s the most impressive haul of small comics
I’ve ever had. And now I crawl into a corner and wait
until my next paycheck clears.