Two For Cat Lovers : “Cat-Tropolis”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

How are you feeling lately? Stressed? Overwhelmed? Worried? Anxious? There’s no shame in that — we all are, by and large, I’d safely wager. And while there may not be a cure for COVD-19, last year the great veteran cartoonist David Lasky prepared, and self-published, a cure in advance for all of your entirely understandable psychological woes in the form of a deluxe, generously-sized illustration ‘zine called Cat-Tropolis.

Unless, ya know, you don’t like cats — in which case, your opinion holds no weight around these parts, nor among cultured, civilized peoples in general. But hey, good luck with everything, regardless.

Musical cats, astronaut cats, robot cats, detective cats, mad scientist cats, super-hero cats, Log Lady cats, Bowie cats, Cobain cats — and even cats just doing everyday cat stuff, some drawn in black and white, others in lush color, are what this book is all about, and I…

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Two For Cat Lovers : “Dramatic Paws”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Believe it or not, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with comics that are just fun, cute, and charming. It may not be cool to admit this in public, but nevertheless — it’s a fact.

I’m assuming that Elena Fox’s 20-page mini Dramatic Paws, published in 2019 by Atomic Books, is autobiographical in theory — she is, after all, the nominal “star” of the show — but there’s plenty of the sort of exaggeration for comic and/or dramatic effect that her type of classically-influenced “humor strip” cartooning both makes a wide berth for and, crucially, excels at. She’s a musician, so comics are only one medium she creates art in, but I’ll just cut to the chase early here and say that this is strong enough work that it leaves me hoping to see more from her in the not-too-distant future.

Her trials and travails are, admittedly, nothing too out of…

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A Gift From The Not-So-Distant Past : Noah Van Sciver’s “Slow Graffiti” #3

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Believe it or not, good things still happen in this world — as evidenced by the fact that cartoonist extraordinaire Noah Van Sciver recently came across 50 unsold copies of the long-out-of-print third issue of his self-published mini, Slow Graffiti.

Released back in 2017, the no-doubt small print run of this comic was originally allocated entirely for its Kickstarter backers and the cartoonist’s own Patreon subscribers, but this unexpected discovery means that you can — provided you’re quick — finally procure a copy for yourself, at long last. And John Porcellino recently came across some in his stock, as well, so there may be a bit of cosmic-level serendipity at play here. Why, it’s almost as if the universe itself wants you to read this comic.

And why shouldn’t it — hell, for that matter, why shouldn’t you? There are some intriguing sketchbook entries to be explored here…

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After Reading This Comic, I’m Still “Lost In A Tree Of Thought”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Ethereal, mysterious, and unfolding at something more like a patient crawl than an actual storytelling “pace,” the latest self-published mini from veteran (though far from prolific) cartoonist Kade McClements, Lost In A Tree Of Thought, is something of a gorgeously impenetrable puzzle cleverly disguised as a garden-variety domestic drama. Appearances can be deceiving, of course, but in this case they both are and aren’t — and it may very well be beyond my meager intellectual abilities to flesh that statement out beyond “you’ve gotta read the comic to see what I mean,” but I’m damn sure gonna give it a try.

Ostensibly focused on an aging couple named Rita and Frank who happen across a small icon in the course of their yardwork that (remainder of sentence redacted, because that would be telling), despite its short length and loose, freehand style of illustration (reminiscent, at least in my view…

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Weekly Reading Round-Up : 03/22/2018 – 03/28/2018

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

The last week of new comics until who-knows-when owing to the Diamond shut-down — okay, owing to COVID-19 is probably a more accurate way of putting things — yielded a mixed bag of reading for yours truly, so let’s take a look at what was in said bag before this column goes on hiatus (to be temporarily replaced by a standard full-length review post of a small press or self-published comic, as is my usual wont around these parts), shall we? Indeed we shall —

While it’s nice to see Alan Davis back drawing the House of Xavier — and it’s kinda nice to see the House of Xavier itself, come to think of it, given that it’s been abandoned in favor of the mutant island nation of Krakoa — Jonathan Hickman’s script for Giant-Size X-Men : Nightcrawler #1 reads like precisely what it is : an 8-page backup…

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A Mandy Ord Two-Fer : “Water”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

The second self-published mini from earlier this decade by Australian cartoonist Mandy Ord that we’ll be looking at here also focuses on a natural theme, this one being water, and like its “companion” comic, Cold, this one — titled, simply and appropriately, Water — broadens its basic premise out to encompass Ord’s personal experience with the subject in question at key junctures in her life.

We’re treated to four interconnected strips in these 40 pages, and the interesting thing is that Ord has chosen to relate autobio experiences focusing on both water’s absence (desert hiking), its abundance (a heavy rainstorm), and its conservation (water collection), thereby covering the extremes of human interaction with, and dependence upon, water from both extremes, as well as all points between. It’s a simple enough idea, I suppose, but no less bold and resonant for that fact.

Plainly speaking, some premises are so obvious…

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A Mandy Ord Two-Fer : “Cold”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

With COVID-19 lockdowns affecting so many of us, and with any number of related financial uncertainties coming part and parcel with them, it seems to me that what a lot of folks could use right now are some good new comics that can be had at a reasonable price and enjoyed over and over again. If you agree with that sentiment, then meet your new best friend — Australian cartoonist Mandy Ord.

Hers is a name new to me, I admit, but apparently she’s been at it (and by “it,” I mean both cartooning and self-publishing) for quite some time, even if much of her “back catalogue” has only recently been made available for purchase online — either via her own Etsy shop or, especially convenient for North American readers, John Porcellino’s Spit And A Half distro outfit. I got two of her early-2010s minis from John a couple weeks…

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