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09 September 2009

5 mini-minis from Silber Records

It is always cool to get a package of these minicomics from Silber Media. They are the size of a pack of matches and each take a bout as long to read as the average TV commercial break. If I were not a mean old miser they would would be perfect to pass around to my friends. (If I had friends.) In a perfect world, little comics like these would be on the check out counter of my nearest gas station. You can find out more and order these for yourself at Silber Media.

Here is a look at the most recent batch:

Just A Man
Words by Brian John Mitchell with art by Andrew White.
At 56 panels/pages this is the strongest of these matchbook sized minis I've seen. The story is a simple western revenge scenario without any real innovations or twists but the execution is quite impressive considering the page/panel count and size. The art is probably the most ambitious I've seen in one of these matchbook minis which is to say that each panel holds about as much drawing as a panel smaller than a matchbook can hold and still make sense. I like White's drawing here. Flipping back through it for a re-read I find that the pages tell the story well without the text.

Lost Kisses #9
By Brian John Mitchell.
Like previous Lost Kisses this book contains one page gag comics where a stick figure talks or interacts with other stick figures and the gag is accompanied by text which tells what I assume is the more honest truth about the situation. The theme in this issue seems to be the artist's relationship with his friends. The gags work as self-deprecating humor in a simple way that might work on a t-shirt but the text gives it a punch of brutal honesty. It's like ironic catch phrases served up with an anti-irony vaccine. The two things kind of wash each other and leave me with feelings neither or elation or sympathy. A bit like a mild punch in the stomach.

Lost Kisses #10
By Brian John Mitchell.
This book continues the formula of the last issues but focuses it's attention on the artist's relation to love and uneasiness with his friends' affection toward him. It would be easy for this sort of introspective self-analysis to become depressing (and that does seem to be the default setting for a lot of auto-bio and diary comics) but the juxtaposition between gags and text keeps things light. There is a tongue-in-cheek self awareness about it that keeps you just a few feet on the funny side of whether or not you need to worry about the artist's potential suicide.

XO #5
Story and words by Brian John Mitchell with art by Melissa Spence Gardner.
Gardner's minimal Archie style cartooning mixed with Mitchell's Tarantino style characters and situations makes for a fun little read. The story itself is over the top and unbelievable but the character's delivery is so understated that I'm right there with him in every panel. I think the pacing and length are just right making this a really enjoyable episodic narrative. Not quite like a TV sitcom but exactly right for the trip to the bathroom during the commercials.

Worms #4
Story and words by Brian John Mitchell with artwork by Kimberlee Traub.
This comic continues Mitchell and Traub's Lynchian horror adventure. The narrative is a stream of consciousness nightmare. The story does not really move far beyond the previous issues. The character is moving in baby steps as she tries to figure out what is happening to her. Traub does a good job of setting up the scene, action and emotion in as few brush strokes as possible. It's like narrative flash art. Considering the format, each panel represents a clever choice on Traub's part.

Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith
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