Your humble (I hope, at any rate) host was the happy recipient of a new package in the mail from Robyn Chapman’s Paper Rocket Mini Comics this week, containing her three 2019 releases to date, as well as the unexpected (and welcome) inclusion of an older item from “way” back in 2014. Let’s have a look at — errrmmm — what I had a look at , all of which is available for purchase from the Paper Rocket storenvy site at http://thetinyreport.storenvy.com/ .
Toronto’s Jason Bradshaw is back with Things Go Wrong #2 (there’s one more to go), and this one serves up a real 180 at right about the halfway point, as our absolutely hapless artist protagonist finds inspiration in hitting absolute rock bottom physically, mentally, emotionally, financially — hell, probably even spiritually. Where it goes from here who can say, but Bradshaw proves beyond doubt that his wide-figured, smart cartooning is just as effective in delineating life’s “ups” (however accidentally arrived at) as its “downs,” and after the brilliantly-delineated, if harrowing, drain-circling of issue one, the abrupt-yet-smooth (go figure that one out) shift in tone and outlook comes at just the right time. The four dollars you spend on this one are a wise investment in a genuinely superb mini.
Katie Fricas promises “essays, interviews, oddities” in the pages of Texas Chainsaw Sculptor, and that’s genuine truth in advertising right there. Featuring graphic reportage from the Texas State Fair, the “Mr. Coney Island” competition, and the 2016 Republican national convention in Cleveland, this is a heady mix of weirdos likable (our titular sculptor, unorthodox pageant contestants) and decidedly less so (alt-right MAGA shitheads). Simply and expressively written and illustrated, these are all stories you wish were longer — for good or ill — and offer fascinating glimpses into some of contemporary life’s most quirky, and disquieting, corners. Eight bucks is a little steep for a mini, but this one’s well worth it.
Carlo Quispe’s autobiographical Carlito is a legit joy, as we follow the coming-of-age trials and tribulations of his ten-year-old self who moves from Spain to Peru to US, navigating his parents’ divorce and emerging sexuality along the way. Illustrated with an economy of lines but a surplus of passion, this is everything you used to love about autobio but thought long lost in this age of clinically dispassionate memoir, and represents one of the best five dollar expenditures you’ll make this year.
Our blast from the recent past is Limp Wrist, another stellar short-form memoir written by Scout Wolfcave and adapated/illustrated with compassionate simplicity by Penina Gal. The bullying and abuse inflicted upon our protagonist, a mis-gendered young woman with more questions about herself than answers, is tough to stomach, but ultimately this is a story about the dignity inherent in physical and emotional survival in the face of daunting odds and is a vital and necessary read not just for trans youth and adults, but anyone who wants to understand what it means to be a real ally. It costs four dollars, but is a genuinely priceless comic.
And with that, we close out with the usual reminder that this column is “brought to you” each and every week by my Patreon site, where you get three exclusive rants, ramblings, and/or reviews from yours truly on a weekly basis for as little as a buck a month. The beatings will continue until you join up, so head over to https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypse