Back In The Saddle With The Latest From Robb Mirsky, Brian Canini, Connor McCann, And More

And so we — or I guess that should be I — return after a few weeks’ absence, certainly none the worse for wear (in fact, dare I say feeling somewhat refreshed), but with plenty to catch you, dear reader, up on. To that end, the next batch of reviews are going to be whirlwind overviews of a number of comics I read over the course of my hopefully-well-earned (you can be the judge of that) break. And seeing as how I’ve wasted enough time recently as is, I think the best course of action is simply to jump right in —

God Bless The Machine By Connor McCann – Don’t look now, but the “Strangers Fanzine Presents” label is turning into the closest thing the comics world offers to a guaranteed mark of quality. Latest case in point : this artistic and conceptual thrill ride from Connor McCann, a name previously unknown to me, but one I’ll surely be on the lookout for more from in future. Featuring solid, “crunchy” figure drawings rendered in thick, black inks, this cynical-but-in-no-way-overly-obvious look at the cost of fame ostensibly centers around a washed-up former child star attempting to rescue an artificially-created boy band being held hostage on the moon, but veers off in a million different directions from there. The 2000AD influence here is strong, but this is much funnier and more genuinely surprising (to say nothing of genuinely twisted) than that magazine has been in, oh, the past four decades or so. The ideas fly at you a mile a minute from start to finish, but have no fear — it all comes together in a crescendo best described as logically coherent but still batshit insane. If you don’t like this, you don’t like comics, period.

Get it for ten bucks from the Strangers website at :

Sludgy #3 By Robb Mirsky – As luck would have it, you needn’t leave that very site to get your hands on a copy of Robb Mirsky’s latest Sludgy mini, and while Mirsky himself told me that this third issue, consisting of five tight, well-paced shorts, was “probably the best so far,” I take all such claims with a grain of salt. Damned thing is, though, there’s no probably about it — things take a turn for the darker here, and not only is that entirely apropos, it elevates this entire concept out of “Casper, only toxic and gooey” territory and into the rarefied air of the disturbingly humorous. Oh, sure, our friendly monsters are still innocent enough in and of themselves, but the people they encounter, as well as the circumstances under which those encounters take place, well — that’s another matter. That being said, believe it or not, this is also the funniest and most impeccably-drawn installment to date, as well.

You can score this from the Strangers site for $6.00 at

Glimpses Of Life #7 By Brian Canini – Set against the impending arrival of baby number three and with COVID never far out of sight or mind, there’s certainly nothing wrong with this collection of January 2021 diary comics from one of Columbus’ most prolific cartooning talents, but likable as these strips are, one can’t help but feel the deck is stacked against Canini simply because there’s so much of this kind of thing out there already and so little to set it all apart. Honestly, unless you’re doing Gabrielle Bell-level stuff, the entire diary comics field is a tough one to stand out in, especially since the pandemic pretty much guaranteed that everyone who wasn’t doing them before is doing them now. The closest comparison I can draw here is to Kyle Bravo’s work, in that both artists produce eminently likable autobio material — that’s pretty well forgotten about after you’re done with it. As I’ve pointed out in the past, though, in regards to this very series, it tends to read better when it’s collected into larger volumes that afford readers the opportunity to really get in there and vicariously spend time with Canini and his family. In shorter 32-page bursts such as this, though, you’re left with a feeling of “that was nice enough, I suppose, ” but not much else. Which feels like a pretty shitty thing to say about a comic that, I should reiterate, is just fine for what it is — but nevertheless, there we have it.

You can pick this up for $6.00 from Canini’s Drunken Cat website at

The Big Red Machine, Grandma, And Me By Terry Eisele And Brian Canini – A considerably more successful entry into the equally-crowded field of memoir is Canini’s collaboration with writer Terry Eisele that documents the latter’s close relationship with his maternal grandmother, expressed and expounded upon in any number of ways, most notably via their mutual love of the Cincinnati Reds’ mid-’70s world championship teams. Still, if we parse this mini’s title down to its essentials, it’s far more about the “grandma” than it is the “Big Red Machine,” and that’s as it should be. Eisele’s sheer skill as a writer elevates this simple, but entirely heartfelt, comic over many others of its ilk that are out there, and Canini’s an old pro at drawing this type of story, so the collaboration is about as seamless as these things get. I enjoyed this one a lot and feel pretty safe in saying that you will, too.

This one’s also available from Canini’s own Drunken Cat site, for five very well-spent dollars :

And I think that’ll do it for today; I’ll be back tomorrow with another batch of recent reads to expound upon. Until then, a reminder to please support my Patreon if you dig this sort of thing — you can join for as little as a buck, I put up three news posts every week, and I never take a vacation over there. If you’re interested, here’s the link :

4 thoughts on “Back In The Saddle With The Latest From Robb Mirsky, Brian Canini, Connor McCann, And More

  1. Pingback: I Found Myself In Love With The World – This Week’s Links - Avada Classic Shop

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