Disquietville Vol. 2 by Daniel Spottswood

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Disquietville Vol. 2
by Daniel Spottswood
Self-Published

Daniel Spottswood‘s chunky mini-comic Disquietville is a love letter to wage-enslaved 20-somethings who haven’t stopped believing in a better life.

All anybody in Disquietville wants is everything; their chance to live the American Dream. Unfortunately, social and personal problems keep blocking the way. Through its characters, Spottswood’s mini-comic probes many of middle-class America’s current hot button issues: the glut of big business, career girls’ aversion to marriage, school bullies, alcohol abuse, self-obsession, self-loathing, and debt (to name a few). Sounds depressing, and it is when you’ve been there. Sigh.

While Disquietville empathizes with these problems, it also makes light of them, and it’s oh-so entertaining to be shown a portrait of yourself by someone who really understands the material. I, for one, really liked the comic. Disquietville offers a pretty real example of life in a mid-sized middle-class town in the Midwest. That is, it would, if every normal person’s day really led to a punchline.

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Knives by James Hindle

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Knives
by James Hindle
One Percent Press

A wee mini-comic about lust, weaponry and young manhood, James Hindle’s Knives is about as cool as it sounds.

Hindle is an extremely talented artist and Knives is just one exercise in brilliance. His recent mini-comic rings with childhood innocence, guilt and reasoning as a young boy witnesses a very complicated incident between his family and the man who mows their lawn.

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I am Often Mistaken for Miles Davis by Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig

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I am Often Mistaken for Miles Davis
by Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig
Self-Published

I will call her Sarah Louise because I am afraid of repeatedly misspelling her last name, and who wants to copy and paste all day? Not me.

I am Often Mistaken for Miles Davis is a lovely little book and the first well-produced mini I’ve seen from Sarah Louise. Last year she had another mini to pass out at MoCCA, but her delicate, expressive line drawings weren’t very well copied and it was tough to read. This mini, at least, should be enough to tempt you and introduce you to her lively and attentive drawing style.

Miles Davis has a pretty little cover with a nice color selection. Inside it’s cute and messy and unassuming. Mostly autobiographical, but sometimes pure fiction, it’s tough to imagine Sarah Louise ever writing a serious comic because she’s always writing, lovingly, to the next laugh.

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You Don’t Get There From Here #5 by Carrie McNinch

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You Don’t Get There From Here #5
by Carrie McNinch
Self-Published

I’ve heard plenty of people say that diary comics are passé. The world has seen enough of them to know they can be dull and irritating. People are sick of diary comics because when it comes down to it they don’t care about your morning routine, where you buy shampoo, how much you love your cats, or what your stupid friends say to make you laugh.

But that’s just one perspective.

If you ask me, I’d tell you truly that I still like them a whole lot and here’s why: secrets. A cartoonist may be careful and guarded, trying their best not to seem as lame, but eventually they’ve got to hand the reader some private piece of information. In the end, it’s just too difficult to try and sound awesome every day, and I read for the day when they finally crack. It’s scary, but true. Diary comics are worth picking through, if only for the day the cartoonist decides they’ve got to reveal they secretly love their best friend’s girlfriend. Or they accidentally ran over a neighbor’s dog. Or they shot heroin with celebrities. It’s when they fill volumes with revealing anecdotes that you get really lucky. You might even be looking at a future Ivan Brunetti or Jeffrey Brown.

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Phase 7 #13 by Alec Longstreth

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Phase 7 #13
by Alec Longstreth
Self-Published

There aren’t enough good things to say about Ignatz-winner Alec Longstreth and his comic series Phase 7. In some of the series’ latter issues, Longstreth writes about his personal history with comics and explains the story behind Phase 7. Arguably, his more personal stories have made those issues his best minis to date for the simple fact that people want to know more about how their favorite cartoonists operate.

It’s this personal touch that made Longstreth’s multi-authored mini The Dvorak Zine such a hit. When he draws himself looking right out at you from the page, concerned and familiar, it’s almost like a celebrity endorsement and suddenly you’re like, “Yah, Sally Struthers, I really do care about the hungry displaced African kids! I just needed reminding.” Or is it just impressionable little ol’ me? Well, personally I think Longstreth’s nonfiction comics make drab bits of information feel fresh and memorable.

Its with this same level of infectious enthusiasm that he approaches this latest issue of Phase 7. Even though this issue is just a recycled comic he wrote for a class back in college (more filler until he can finish Chapter 3 of “Basewood”), the topic is just as relevant today, because Issue #13 is all about art history! And when isn’t that worth knowing more about?

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