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Raised By Squirrels is published by Panel Press.


You never call! Maybe you should instead? Seriously, we'd love to know what you think about RBS.


Occasional posts from (usually) Bram and (sometimes) Monica about comics in general, this comic in particular, art, design, publishing, visual culture, and far, far too many things about actual squirrels.


Marc (artist on The Colony) was good enough to send along a the first issue of his book Sketch — an intriguing, but disturbing, read. But don't just take my word for it, check out the review over at Indy Comic Review


The Man Who Never Returned — now the centerpiece of a marketing strategy.


This year's the 50th anniversary of the interstate highway system (The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, to the sticklers) and folks are celebrating in their own way. A favorite former NPR commentator has an overview over at the Post. Around here, we're still partial to Route 66.


SPACE Finds Part 5: Blink

Max Ink was one of the folks at the post-SPACE comic jam. We were off to catch a plane, so we didn't get to visit much, but he sent us off with copies of Blink 3. Once again, not the sort of comic I would pick up. But I read it at the airport, and once I got home, had to email him to order the other two. Read the rest »

Blink is a series of little vignettes about two young women, Blink and Sam. Each story is only a couple pages, small slice-of-life kind of things, but wonderfully evocative. My problem is that describing them makes them sound cliché — ruminations on youth, the problems with creative block, the fun of wasting time in the snow, the joy of watching clouds.

The writing and pacing move them beyond the obvious. What many would turn into eye-rolling triteness, Max turns into joyful exchanges that touch on the human experience. The conversations between the two are natural and clever (and more than a bit literary) — the crossword puzzle story is a dizzyingly smart bit of character exploration — that are engaging without being mawkish. The rhythm and word choice of the dialog show a keen ear for how real (lifelong) friends relate.

The first book has some location sketches (all the stories take place in real locations around Columbus, OH) that showcase Max's draftsmanship. These faithful renderings, I found, gave more strength to the cartoons — you can see that they are abstracted just enough to tell the story. This is a guy who combines a knowledge of drawing with an understanding of comics to make the medium work with his storytelling goals.

Yep, totally not the kind of comics I usually read. So, when's the next one coming out?

Black and white, various page counts


Meanwhile, The Fluff Debate rages on.


The Physics of Superman.


If, in all the runup to the release of the Strangers With Candy movie, you're wondering "I wonder what Amy Sedaris' home looks like," here you go. Yes, there are squirrels.


Ad Age ad reviewer Bob Garfield has one of those blog things. It's only been been a week, so there's just a few posts up — but, since it's Cannes time, they're more than just a little insider-y.


A look at the laws about what (and from where) you can photograph in public, especially useful if you plan on publishing your photos (say, at a daily photo blog).

Via an article over at Be A Design Group.


Adele Bloch-Bauer finds a new home (at a record-setting price). Unfortunately, by the time we're out in Southern California for the Con, it'll be off to NYC.


SPACE Finds Part 4: Hate Your Friends

A couple folks from Space Monkey comics visited with us at the 7000 B.C. table for a while at SPACE. And I had my eye on their Love in a Time of Super-Villains (think: two major DC characters wake up in Vegas to discover they're married), but picked up their package deal. So, even though Super-Villains would ordinarily be more my speed (and was a great, funny read), the first five issues of their Hate Your Friends mini was the surprising find. The first issue's intro page promises that " won't find any costumed superheroes in this book. You will find a lot of lighthearted genre stereotyping, music obsession, whining, and self indulgence." Not the sort of thing I'm usually looking for in my comics. Read the rest »

It's a rough start to the week for Mark Watson, and we're brought along as he heads into the music shop he owns, far earlier than the world has seen him alive for quite some time. And he really shouldn't have bothered. His employee and local rock star Phineas Whitley brings his support, but also problems, emotional baggage, and assorted groupies as well. Various troublemakers and music store hangers-on come and go, and everyone's individual music snobbery just adds to the problems. But the real problem is Mark's ex — Annie — and the arrival of her rival music store.

The story all unfolds in the interactions between the characters, and mostly in and around the counter of the music shop. A technique like that can seem forced, but here it flows organically. And with every statement or story, you know there's more behind it just waiting to come out and cause more trouble. The cast grows bit by bit, and they all they all are incorporated into the unfolding story, minor characters growing more important, and major characters taking some unexpected turns. The exchanges are natural, and the back-and-forth builds the characters and brings the story together.

The art is stylized, bringing a looser feel and keeping the tone light. If I have a criticism, it's that most of the panels have the same camera position and angle, though it does give the "fly on the wall" feeling. The exaggerated expressions and gestures help drive home the feeling of each scene, and the design of the characters goes a long way to building their quirks and mannerisms, complementing their actions.

I didn't think I'd care about this comic when I cracked its cover, now I'm anxious about what's happened to the characters, and what the future holds for them.

Hate Your Friends
Black and white with color cover, 16 pages


Hey, I'm a spoiler.


Jett, in one of his last acts as manager over at TBCG, made sure that I put Umbra on my pull list. The main character's little bit Tara Chace, a little bit Carrie Stetko, a little bit Smilla, and a whole lot of something completely different. This is going to be a pretty amazing series.


New Mac ads.


New issue posted. There's a bunch of new stuff coming up, if you'd like to be alerted by email, let us know. (If you're new here, the older issues are further down the page.)


For Flag Day, an article at the Post looks at Old Glory as a piece of modern art.


Whoa. Today, Coudal had this link. The author provides access to the applet so I've mapped RBS and, while I have no idea what it means, it's really quite beautiful to watch come together.


SPACE Finds Part 3: The Adventures of Dexter Breakfast

Met Vernon Smith, creator of the wombat cowboy Dexter Breakfast, at the SPACE pre-party. The next day, picked up his comic and had the opportunity to visit more with this formerly New Orleans-based creator. His comic shows the same sense of humor that Vernon has in person. Read the rest »

The Adventures of Dexter Breakfast shows a strong Cerebus influence, especially in the first pages. Beginning with the series' epilogue, we get a glimpse of how it all ends — and it looks like we're going to be on a long, strange trip there. From that dark beginning, we're dropped (along with Dexter) into a Wild West adventure, complete with card playin' and gun fightin.' Dexter manages to cross some very bad people, make an unexpected ally or two, learn more about the strange world he's fallen into, and start to find his place in it.

The tone of the story shifts smoothly from slow and ominous to fast and frantic. A good western gunfight moves into Looney Toons territory, and the way Vernon handles it, it seems perfectly natural and right. Dexter generally seems to happen into action already in progress, giving the reader the same sense of discovery as the wombat himself. And, like Dexter, we're piecing it all together from only the dialog and actions of the other characters, easy because of the deft writing and the occasional wink and nod toward the conventions of comic storytelling.

The real strength of the artwork comes from the pacing and placement of the panels. The layout complements the flow of the story, and Vernon's not afraid use the artwork to bring things to a screeching halt when necessary, only to set off at a manic pace again.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this journey leads.

The Adventures of Dexter Breakfast
by Vernon Smith
Black and white with color cover, 32 pages


Yep. A video of a squirrel attacking a deer. Chris at TBCG pointed it out.


My favorite part of the Random Ink anthology published by Three Trees Studios that I picked up at SPACE is Rook City, a weekly Web comic updated every Tuesday.


If you've just happened across this site and would like to know when new issues are posted (and one's coming soon), just send an email. No spam. Promise.


SPACE Finds Part 2: The Alberic Heresies

Not technically a find — I've been anxiously awaiting this series from Grant Jeffrey Barrus and Jacob Warrenfeltz, friends from the DCC, for more than a year. I'd seen some glimpses over the months, and read the free preview, so as soon as SPACE opened for business, I was at the TAH table to buy my copy. Read the rest »

If you're reading RBS, you know my fondness for a good, sprawling secret society/conspiracy-type story. And this comic has a big one, centered around Alberic, chosen centuries ago by the angel Quadratus to be the savior of the Knights Templar, and his current quest. We're dropped right into the action, as Alberic meets with the Temple librarian Paige Carper to start getting the information he needs — putting them and bike messenger Chrisopher Nachtman in peril.

Judicious use of third-person narrative and expository dialogue, along with flashback and glimpses from the antagonists' points of view, provide just enough context for the action, while giving a glimpse of the larger picture to come. The characters are handled similarly; I learned just enough to start to identify with them, but there's the promise that I'm just beginning to discover what they're really about. The story is satisfying — though it moves quickly, covering a lot of ground in just a few minutes of real time.

The artwork complements the story well, with swooping, dynamic camera angles and changes in pacing that match the tone of the narrative. Jake's not afraid to use large areas of black, which creates a powerful, menacing tone and strong composition and flow.

TAH promises to be an ambitious work, addressing contemporary issues, but with the stated goal of reproducing the fun of the early direct sales comics. It's going to be a terrific ride.

The Alberic Heresies
by Grant Jeffrey Barrus and Jacob Warrenfeltz
Black and white with color cover, 32 pages


An article on Colson Whitehead over at The Washington Post. A couple weeks ago, for his flight home, I sent my dad off with our copy of The Intuitionist — near the top of the list of Best Books Read in Recent Memory.


Matt's marvelous (and unforgivably overlooked for the SPX anthology) Coexistence has a little review over at Optical Sloth. I suggest you email him to see about getting your own.

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