*Correction* - I do have an update to something I posted previously.
Renee Lott's Festering Romance is scheduled for later next year than I had indicated. According to a comment she made to my previous post:
"the book is set to come out mid-2009, with the tentative debut being at San Diego Comic Con 2009 and a retail release following. I plan to be at SPX next year with the original art for the book"
Even cooler! So everyone knows their mission, right? Buy the book and then go meet the artist and buy some cool original art! Go put it on your calendars now... I'll wait for you.
Skyscrapers of the Midwest #1 - Josh Cotter - I paid more than the 5 dollar cover price for this book. I guess it has been unavailable for a while, but they found a copy of it and were offering it for 10 dollars. I imagine they had a pile of them under the counter and when I walked a way I like to pretend that they pulled another one out and set it on the table. I don't actually believe it, but it would be funny if it were true.
This is put out by adhouse Books. The production is really good. You get cover to cover content (nearly 60 pages) of really good stuff wrapped in a lovely full color cover. It contains a bit of everything. Long stories broken into instalments throughout the book, extremely funny ad and letter column parodies, some shorter pieces as well. I like that format a lot, as it makes for a sort of one person anthology.
The art is fantastic, and the writing is great. The book is filled with robots, anthropomorphic cat-like creatures, toys, bunnies, skull headed creatures. The art is very detailed, and a bit creepy at times, but very expressive as well. There is a sort of sadness that runs through the entire book without it being a sad book. Fantasy and imagination are huge parts of this, and that really comes through. You get a very real sense of childhood in this. There is imagination and shame and loss, but they all come through as filtered with a sort of child's eye view of the world. I am very interested in reading more from this author.
March Hare 8 - Josh Cotter - This is a sketchbook mini-comic. It has an eye catching illustrated and colored cover. This is the first sketchbook I have purchased, I think. I would buy more if it could be guaranteed that they would all be this good. It is what it says it is. The sketches are great, some of the pieces are comics, some are ideas, some are just sketches. It's a really neat small volume.
Four Stories and Stevie might be a bear maybe - John Campbell - I am listing these two together, since my review is the same for both, and the whole point of my posting this will be so that you can go to his blog and his site and read everything and love his work and pay him money for all the joy he has brought to your life. These two comics, as well as X-Ninja are linked to right on his site. You can read them for free and then buy a shirt or something from him. His work is absolutely some of the most consistently funny stuff out there. His exceptionally spare art is as effective as any comic strip art could possibly be. I like his stuff so much that I paid him money for paper copies of things I had read on the Internet, just so i could give him some money as a thank you.
Ninja's in the Breakroom - Leah Riley - The art in this is workable, and the story is funny. I am an IT guy, and this four page take on an unusual IT solution just makes me happy. I recommend their site, the strips are funny and quirky. Also, like so many people I met at SPX, Leah couldn't have been nicer. I look forward to seeing them at SPX next year if they are there.
The Coffee Story and DJWB 1.5: The Bet - Mark McMurray - Both of these comics have a very real vibe about them. They are funny, seemingly 'drawn from life' stories. Both of them have analogues in my life. The art is especially good on 'The Bet'. DJWB apparently stands for Dumb Jersey White Boy, although I didn't figure that out until i was looking at his site in order to link to it for this review. You can read at least a small portion of this story at the link above. These are more the sort of 'make you smile' variety of stories than they are the laugh out loud variety, but they are well done and were a great value for the small amount of change they cost to buy.
Bamn #1 - Troy Jefferey Allen and Jay Payne - This is a wrestling comic. This was probably the shocker of the show for me. This is not my favorite comic of the show. I bought it because I was buying a variety of things, and also because there were almost no black creators represented at SPX and I was determined to support diversity in comics. I had a preconceived notion about the content based on the cover(I was afraid it might be like 'old Image', and maybe on the design of the title character. The interior art is really good, though, and the writing is pretty great.
The very real appreciation and understanding of wrestling that the author has makes this book come across as sincere, and not as a genre book faked by people who have only a topical feel for their subject matter. The story has a jaded professional wrestler named Bamn, ending up aligned with a group of what I would call wrestling geeks. These kids are huge wrestling fans and have their own backyard productions, but aren't exactly the cool popular kids in their school. They are picked on by jocks and Bamn decides to help them. It isn't an earth shattering set up, but it is done right, and with the wrestling setting it works. I would like to read more of this.
This booth had a LOT of people at it, and in addition they had a 'booth babe' I normally hate stuff like that, but it seemed perfectly apropriate for a pro-wrestling themed venture, given the theatrical nature of that world and it's heavy use of 'hotties' to keep it's fans happy. It seemed out of place at SPX, but wouldn't have made anyone blink at any other'mainstream' comic con I have been to.