Big Plans #1-3
by Aron Nels Steinke
Big Plans is a comic series that makes its author Aron Nels Steinke its primary theme. Whether he’s the narrator or the subject, it’s Steinke you get from page to page. Which isn’t too bad, since he writes himself as being pretty likable and draws both he and his girlfriend as being absolutely adorable.
His autobio stories range from youth to adulthood and take a meandering path that is nostalgic without being dramatic or melancholy. It’s pretty much the dull, cool narrative of what an outsider might expect to read from an autobio cartoonist in Portland. The guy rides a bike, drinks to get drunk, makes comics, gets snobby about comics, and just really wants to be loved.
The stories aren’t carefully plotted from book to book, so you could easily pick up any issue of Big Plans and give it a fair try. Big Plans #1 has a Henry Miller quote and three short comics, one about terrorism. Big Plans #2 has a number of short comics with a running commentary by the author. Big Plans #3, the newest and best, has about four comics with a dominant story about Steinke attending the Academy Awards. That story is alternately titled “Hey, Look How Fuckin Cool I Am,” appropriately.
Both the artwork and the stories seem sweet and well-organized while offering a variety of tone and detail. I really enjoyed the drawings, particularly the larger ones in #2 of Steinke and his girlfriend and buddy Jeremy.
The books are $5 apiece and about 48 pages each. All three Big Plans books were printed with funding from the Xeric Foundation, so the production is top notch for these fat little minis. It’s also important to note that the books were “printed locally with soy based inks and recycled paper.” I’d even wager that no cats, bears or feelings were harmed in the making of Big Plans #1-3. The series would make an excellent addition to any zine library of distinctive quality.