Weekly Reading Round-Up : 02/09/2020 – 02/15/2020, Catching Up With Brian Canini

It’s been a little while since we took a look at what Columbus, Ohio’s Brian Canini is doing over at his Drunken Cat comics imprint, but seeing as how I just got a package from him in the mail last week, and finally had a chance to read through it all last night, now’s as good a time as any to put his work back under our metaphorical microscope —

Plastic People #11 is one of the best issues of the now-long-running series to date, as our “plastic surgery police” in a future LA continue their investigation of the city’s first murder in decades by talking to one of the last surviving REAL cops in town (an LA without police? Talk about a utopia) in order to figure out how to even begin gathering clues and identifying suspects in the first place. This title damn near lost me when Canini stepped away from the main storyline in order to indulge in some character-based asides, but with the benefit of hindsight, all of that makes sense from a plotting perspective now, and certainly his “clean-line” cartooning is only getting stronger and stronger as things go on. These are enjoyable enough to consume as single minis, but once it’s all collected, chances are it will be a very strong and cohesive read. Talking of which —

Plastic People Compendium #1 begins the process of doing precisely that by presenting the first three issues in one package at a price that saves readers a buck ($4.99 for the whole thing as opposed to $1.99 individually). It was lots of fun re-visiting these early installments and seeing just how precisely Canini is positioning his various and sundry chess pieces on the board, so if you haven’t checked this book out yet, here’s the perfect chance to do so. I get the feeling that Canini might be bowing to economic realities a bit here by going this route, but there’s no shame in that : this is a damn solid comic and anything that can be done to put it in more readers’ hands is something I fully support.

Plastic People Compendium #2 is, fair enough, “more of the same,” but as this re-prints issues 4-6 of the “original run,” it’s pretty well essential reading given that this is when the investigation at the heart of the series really kicks into gear and we start to become a lot more familiar with protagonists Gabe and Liz. Every bit as good as I remembered, maybe even a little better.

Blirps #4, unfortunately, is a case of familiarity breeding not so much contempt as just plain boredom. I got some pretty solid chuckles out of the first three issues of this series, but the premise of perpetually insecure long-necked mutant robots repeating self-help platitudes in their minds only to come up feeling tongue-tied and awkward in social situations has probably, at least for this critic, run its course. I get that cartoonists are almost always going to be looking to stick with a project that they feel might have some long-term commercial viability beyond comics, but I think that ship has sailed with these characters. You can only mine a single idea for so long, and it feels like whatever Canini had to say with this one has already been said. At only two bucks you might get your money’s worth out of this if you’re a newcomer, but if you’ve read the previous issues, seriously, there’s really not much here you haven’t seen before. Variations on a theme, and that’s about it. All of these comics, by the way, are available for purchase on the Drunken Cat Storenvy site at http://drunkencatcomics.storenvy.com/

And that’s also about it for our Round-Up column for this week, apart from reminding you that it’s “brought to you” by my Patreon site, where I serve up exclusive thrice-weekly rants and ramblings on the worlds of comics, films, television, literature, and politics for as little as a dollar a month. Subscribing is the best way to support my continuing work, so I’d be very appreciative if you’d take a moment to check it out by directing your kind attention to https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypse


2 thoughts on “Weekly Reading Round-Up : 02/09/2020 – 02/15/2020, Catching Up With Brian Canini

    1. Ryan C. (fourcolorapocalypse)

      One cartoonist, four comics, three “buy” recommendations? That’s a pretty high batting average Mr. Canini has going.


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