Reviews & Previews - Illustrated Fiction 31


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Diabetes Funnies

Ghostriders in the Sky

Herman the Manatee #4

Monkey Squad One Annual #1

Shadows of Dracula #3

Sherlock Holmes #1

Sheesh #1

The Signifiers #1

Too Blue Comix #5-8

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Diabetes Funnies

The Collected Diabetes Funnies by Colin Upton

March 2011, D. Blake Werts
125 b&w pages, plus cover
5.5" x 8.5" perfect bound book
$9.95 from, where a preview is available

Diabetes Funnies began as a series of 8 page mini-comics by veteran small press and independent cartoonist Colin Upton shortly after he was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008. In these comics, Colin comes to terms with his condition by changing his life fundamentally, losing 85 pounds, going on and off drugs while dealing with his anger, despair, and issues of body image. Created in sharp bursts of creative energy, the humor of Diabetes Funnies is often dark (dark enough that after his first issues he was asked to come into his clinic so they could be sure he wasn’t suicidal). But those suffering from diabetes might appreciate a frank, outrageous and honest look at an all too common condition. The Collected Diabetes Funnies collects all 13 Diabetes Funnies mini-comics into a single volume. Also included is an Epilogue not available in any other form.

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Sheesh #1Sheesh #1 edited by Jim Main

2010, Main Enterprises
16 b&w pages with self-cover
Classic mini comix size
4.25" x 5.5", saddle stitch binding,
no trim
$2.75 (postage paid) from
Main Enterprises

In his introduction to Sheesh #1, editor Jim Main describes his latest mini comic series as somewhere between Ack! and WTF!?! That's not a bad thing. Ack! is a mad-inspired comic book and WTF!?! is a ground-level mini with content that evokes its titular response. Here's a rundown of what's inside the Sheesh front cover by Mike Pascale and the back cover snark by BeBop:

• A full page cartoon of a Militant Agnostic by Brad W. Foster.
• Main's combination introduction and contents page. With hat tip to Dan W. Taylor for production management.
• An untitled comix (3 pages) by Barry Southworth in which a very down on his luck character seeks empties for their deposit. Very funny, this is one of my favorite Southworth comix yet.
Robert (Floydman) Sumner turns in a beautiful full pager of Ronnie James Dio standing at the gates of heaven.
Simon Mackie's 2-page comic spans the centerspread, where DJ Funky Flick discovers an open mic of a different sort. It's another solid performance by Mackie.
Jack Bertram provides a full page gag of a truly gifted child.
Eric Goodell's untitled 3-page comix features a trio of paranoid beach dopers who keep a close watch for any sign of trouble. I enjoyed Goodell's goofy characters in this one.
Dann Phillips and Jeff Austin team up on a beautifully drawn full page gag illustration.
Floydman returns with a full page Tiger Woods send up.

All and all a terrific first issue. Let's hope Jim Main and company keep 'em coming!

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Monkey Squad One Annual #1

Monkey Squad One Annual #1 by Doug Michel

201, Self-published, 28 b&w pages, with self-cover
Digest sized comix, 5.5" x 8.5", handmade with saddle stitch binding, no trim
$2.50, send email to Doug Michel

I'm new to the Monkey Squad, but they seem to have quite a history as well as brand extension. This Annual is a great place to begin reading the group's adventures because it's loaded with recaps and backgrounders. The inside front cover begins with the individual highlights of the action in issues #1-6. And things just advance from there:

Panel from Monkey Squad One Annual #1

Status Quo, Do-Si-Do (4 pages) is followed by a trading card-style spotlight on the Squad's principals: Brendan, Connor, Logan and U.N.C.L.E. Doug.

Panels from Monkey Squad One Annual #1

Connor stars in the one page Part One of There is No Spoon, and you'll either have to skip ahead or wait until nearly the end of the Annual before you dive into Part Two.

Panel from Monkey Squad One Annual #1

Monkey Squad Two (I told you there were spin-offs) stars in Membership Drive (5 pages) which it then follows would be appended by bios of the second squad: The Terrible Teenager, Hellkitty, Bad-Girl, Senorita Isa, Dr. Metropolis and Brookezilla.

Panels from Monkey Squad One Annual #1

Dark Monkey Matters (2 pages) is followed by more profiles, this time with Kaz and C.J.—and a useful Map of the Monkeyverse.

Panel from Monkey Squad One Annual #1

There's one more Monkey Squad waiting in the wings, and the wait's over because Monkey Squad Zero is up next in 24 Hr. Revenge Therapy (6 pages). A few gear gadgets gain the spotlight next as just the facts are revealed about The Hot-Rod Time Machine and Monkey-Bot One.

Cletus Whiteheart closes out the Annual with a bit of a cliffhanger that will continue in the regularly scheduled issue (#7). It takes only a one page build-up called Bloody Night, Bloody Knife, but it leaves you waiting for more.

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Ghostriders in the SkyGhostriders in the Sky by CAD

2011, Self-published
Comix by CAD and LMR
24 b&w pages, with self-cover
Classic mini comix size
4.25" x 5.5", handmade with saddle stitch binding, no trim

This is another fine collection of short comix about Mushy and his trials and tribulations. LMR assists on some comix, but the majority of the work seems to be CAD's. Send him a couple of bucks for the comix and 50¢ for postage and all should be well. He also encourages trades.

Send to:
Clark Dissmeyer
917 E. 25th St. #5
Kearney, NE 68847

Page from Ghostriders in the Sky

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Shadows of Dracula #3

Shadows of Dracula #3 by Chuck Robinson II & Wade Busby

February 2011, Main Enterprises, 20 b&w pages, plus cover
6" x 9", saddle stitch binding, no trim
$4.00 (postage paid) from Main Enterprises

Jim Main takes over publishing tasks from Steve Keeter this issue with help from Barry Southworth and Dan W. Taylor. Contents include contributions by Robert "Floyd" Sumner (cover), Nate Corrigan (inside front cover), Chuck Robinson II (inside back cover) and Dan W. Taylor (back cover). Steve Keeter starts off the issue with his poem Scream Dracula Scream, which is adorned with an illustration by Ben Robinson III. Next up is a 3-page Recapitulation of the action from earlier issues. It's followed by two chapters of the continuing comic story written by Chuck Robinson II and drawn by Wade Busby. The first is Dracula Takes Manhattan, and the second is Trail of the Mummy, both nicely crafted by the talented duo. SOD #3 ends with three pages of letters from fans of the series.

Page from Shadows of Dracula #3

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The Signifiers #1  Front and back covers of The Signifiers #1

Michael R. Neno Catalog 2010The Signifiers #1
by Michael Neno

Spring 2010, M.R. Neno Productions
48 b&w pages, plus cover
Comic Book Size
$7.20 (postage paid) from Nenoworld

Mini catalog of Michael R. Neno Production comics included.

Here's a description of The Signifiers from the Nenoworld website: "Awesomely apocalyptic in scope, drawn in a classic old-school, Silver Age style and packed with Nenoesque humor and slap-yer-head action."

The Signifiers cast includes:
Splash, who just wants to play guitar in his backwater neighborhood of Millbrook. Meanwhile, someone from his past wants him dead—fast.

Landmark, the Heat-Seeking Dwarf, was kidnapped at an anti-war rally and held prisoner by the Pollution Pioneers.

Larvae Boy, Emperor of the Insect World, reduced to a fraction of his original size, he's trapped in a love/hate relationship with the insects he attempts to rule.

Panel from The Signifiers #1

Chapter one: Millbrook (25 pages), plus a one-page interlude with the World of Landlark.

Panels from The Signifiers #1

Nellie of Cosmic Brook Farm or Cosmic House of the Prairie (6 pages).

Panels from The Signifiers #1

Landlark the Heat-Seeking Dwarf (13 pages) continued, perhaps in issue #2 or his own title. Two pages of letters from readers who received an advance copy of the book in late 2009, rounds out a terrific first issue.

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Herman the Manatee #4

Herman the Manatee #4 by Jason Viola

2011, Manatee Power. 28 b&w pages, plus cover. 5.5" x 4.25" with saddle stitch binding, no trim. $3.00 from Manatee Power Emporium.

Jason Viola recently completed the fourth mini comic collection of his webcomic, Herman the Manatee. When the strip first began the gags centered around the hapless manatee's regular collisions with motorboats. By issue #2 the boats stopped coming, only to be replaced by a variety of other traumas. In issue #3 Herman makes two friends: Lester, another manatee, plagued by self-hatred; and a hardened criminal, Knuckles the Narwal.

The new issue continues exploring the unlikely friendships begun in issue #3 and Knuckles' introduction to the fishing industry. Herman the Manatee & His Lousy Friends is a worthy addition to Viola's growing collection of excellent mini comics. See the Manatee Power Emporium for all of his titles. Read the webcomic at Manatee Power and follow Viola's news updates on the Manatee Power homepage.

Page from Herman the Manatee #4

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BukowskiBukowski by CAD

This new 8-page mini comix by Clark Dissmeyer (aka CAD) is untitled, but I'm calling it Bukowski in this short preview, for indexing purposes. It's all about Charles Bukowski (1920-1994), the writer and poet. The cover and several of the interior pages feature some great loose sketches of Bukowski smoking, and in apparent reflection. There's also a two-page comix called Balloons, based on a Bukowski poem that CAD turned into a comix. Wonderful stuff.

Send CAD $1 for the comix and another 50¢ for postage for your copy. Better yet, send your zine in trade to:

Clark Dissmeyer
917 E. 25th St. #5
Kearney, NE 68847

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Too Blue Comix #8

Too Blue Comix #5-8 edited by Jerry Goebert

Direct from Blue Moon Productions, Jerry Goebert has released four more issues of Too Blue Comix. As with previous issues the content is strictly adults only and almost entirely too blue to show here. These 8-pagers are classic mini comix size, 4.25" x 5.5", stapled, with self-covers, printed on good quality blue paper. Here's the contributor's line-up:

Too Blue Comix #5 by JTW (cover), Shanna Hayward (page 1), Dexter Cockburn (1 page), Bradley K. McDevitt (3 pages), Andy Nukes (1 page), and Maya Andres (back cover).

Too Blue Comix #6 by Bradley K. McDevitt (cover), Eroticomix (1 page),
Dexter Cockburn
(1 page), Bradley K. McDevitt (2 pages), Simon Mackie (2 pages), and Bradley K. McDevitt (back cover).

Too Blue Comix #7 by Andy Nukes (cover), Meeah d/z (5 pages),
Dan W. Taylor (1 page), and Dexter Cockburn (back cover).

Too Blue Comix #8 a 12 page issue by Meeah d/z.

Available for $1 each (#5-7) and $1.50 (#8), plus $1 per order for postage from:
Jerry Goebert
156 Howard Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15235

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Sherlock Holmes #1

Sherlock Holmes #1
by John Lambert

Fall 2010, Main Enterprises
Jim Main, Publisher
Dan W. Taylor, Production Manager
8 pages with self-cover
4.25" x 5.5", saddle stitch binding,
no trim
$1.50 (postage paid) from
Main Enterprises

It may be a bit presumptuous of me to call this #1, as it may turn out to be a one-shot, but the introduction by Jim Main does hint there could be future issues of this little mini. The material was originally slated for Main's The Big Book of Small Press, but the perfect bound volume was never produced in print. (It was published in PDF form and was offered here on as a free download in 2010.)

The Sherlock Holmes mini comic is simply a collection of seven full page illustrations of the famous detective and his associate Dr. Watson, beautifully rendered by one of Main Enterprises' star cartoonists, John Lambert. Each one is carefully composed with intricate crosshatching and stippled shading.

Since there are just seven in the collection, I'm only featuring the cover in this review, but rest assured the other six are equally well done. This mini makes me want to see how Main and Lambert would handle an adaptation or original adventure of Holmes and Watson.

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Original content Copyright © 2011 Richard Krauss.
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