It’s no secret to anybody who’s read this site for any length of time that I consider November Garcia to be the best comics art import to come out of the Philippines since Alex Nino, and it’s equally-public knowledge that my adoration for Mexican (by way, the last few years, of Texas) DIY cartoonist extraodrinaire Ines Estrada knows no bounds, so when John Porcellino recently listed two new self-published titles from each of them for sale at his Spit And A Half distro site, you knew I was gonna be all over them in no time. Let’s have a look at ’em, shall we?
Rookie Moves is a witty and never-less-than-completely engaging mini that charts Garcia’s “rise” from the ranks of comics fan-girl to published cartoonist in her own right and showcases her at her neurotic, self-deprecating best as she rubs shoulders with the likes of Gabrielle Bell, Jon Lewis, Iona Fox, Rob Clough, and others — including the aforementioned Mr. Porcellino himself. This is all a bit “inside baseball,” it’s true, but for those of us involved in “the scene” it’s a welcome chance to see just how unwittingly intimidating we can be, plus Garcia’s sharp observational skills are in top form — as is her illustration, which is clean, controlled, and emotive all in one go. Five bucks for my favorite NG comic yet? Quit dawdling, you know you have to get this now.
Besides bearing the longest title of any mini you’ll read this year, Great, Just What We Need — More Diary Comics From A Relative Nobody wins bonus points for truth in advertising, but I take exception to Garcia’s central premise : when diary comics are this good, we actually do need them. A lot of these entries catalogue typical diary strip concerns revolving around the drudgery of daily life and navigating through relationships, no question, but the raw honesty with which our gal November documents even the most minute details is admirable, her art looks good even in when it’s clearly “rushed” as it is here, and there are some moments of genuine poignancy on offer, such as her shocked reaction to the death of cartoonist Mark Campos. Perhaps not an essential purchase to anyone other than the most dedicated Garcia partisan, but if you’re among that rabble — as I proudly acknowledge myself to be — you can live without a measly three dollars a hell of a lot more than you can live without this comic.
Buckle up for bestiality in Ines Estrada’s It’s Too Much And Not Enough, a collection of purportedly “erotic” portraiture featuring people, plants, wolves, robots, and reptiles engaged in various (thankfully) impossible states of coitus that will probably make your stomach churn even as you can’t tear your eyes away. A heady mix of color and black-and-white illustration that showcases the most depraved corners of one person’s fertile, if slightly (okay, maybe more than slightly) disturbed imagination in the bright and unforgiving light of day, Estrada’s art is lavish and intricately-rendered, and while you’ll probably be glad your mind doesn’t conjure up this sort of imagery (unless, hey, it does), you’ve gotta admire anyone who not only admits that theirs does, but isn’t afraid to let the world (or at least the part of it that’s paying attention) know it. Six dollars is a little bit steep for 16 pages, it’s true, but these are 16 pages sure to burn their way into your memory permanently. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I leave up to you to decide for yourself, but I’m glad to have this ‘zine in my library, and look forward to leaving it out on the coffee table for unwitting visitors to our home to peruse while I slave away in the goddamn kitchen.
Just kidding, Deinell and I never have company over, and now you know why — we have comics like this one laying around.
Roppongi Nights is a companion publication of sorts to the one just discussed, and also sells for six bucks, but this time out you’re getting 20 pages of entirely B&W sketchbook art, much (check that, most) of it again ostensibly”erotic” in nature, but there’s some relatively “tame” material mixed in with the animalistic debauchery, as well, so hey — if somebody put a pistol to your head and made you show one of these comics to a youngster, this might be the one.
Awww, who are we kidding? Just let ’em shoot you dead, because this stuff is plenty combustible enough to blow an impressionable mind to pieces, and who wants that on their conscience? Again, I’m more than pleased to have this in my collection, but your mileage may vary substantially, especially if you’re a hopeless square — which, I’m reliably informed, you (yes, you personally) aren’t, so why not give it a go?
And that’s probably more than enough to keep your brain full and your wallet empty for one week, so join yours truly back here in seven days as we see take a look at whatever delights, depravities, or both the dastardly combination of my LCS and the USPS serves up next. Until then, you can get any of these comics your heart desires, as well as a whole lot more, by aiming your browser of choice at http://www.spitandahalf.com/