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And He Doesn’t Even Do Cocaine

Look, we challenge you to top a title like Bipolar Bear and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Health Insurance. No? Well here it is, written and illustrated by Kathleen Founds. “Theodore is a bear with wild mood swings. When he is up, he carves epic poetry into tree trunks. When he is down, he paints sad faces on rocks and turtle shells. In search of prescription medications that will bring stability to his life, Theodore finds a job with health insurance benefits. He gets the meds, but when he can’t pay the psychiatrist’s bill, he becomes lost in the Labyrinth of Health Insurance Claims… Entertaining, whimsical, and bitingly satirical, Bipolar Bear is a fable for grownups that manages the delicate balance of addressing society’s ills while simultaneously presenting a hopeful vision for the world.” And it’s available now from Graphic Mundi.

image c. 2024 Graphic Mundi

Sunny Day, Sweeping The Clods Away

Once again: Where have we been? This is very very different, and Dark Horse slipped it under our radar last summer: Survival Street, a new 4-issue comic miniseries. “After an unbridled wave of corporations take over America, the country is left completely deregulated and effectively carved up into feudal states where billionaires and businesses make their own laws. Among the wreckage, mass privatization shuts down public broadcasting, forcing all the beloved edutainers out on the down and dirty streets. One group of them stick together, determined to keep helping kids across the country and do it by becoming an A-Team-esque band of mercenaries fighting for (and educating!) kids in the crumbling, corporate war zone of New Best America.” Written by James Asmus and Jim Festante, with illustration by Abylay Kussainov and Ellie Wright. Look for it now, before it’s too late.

image c. 2023 Dark Horse Comics

Look Out! Duck!

Bobby London was a member of the infamous Air Pirates collective — a group of underground cartoonists who got together in the late 1960’s to spoof American suburbia and conformity… choosing Disney animation and comics as a symbolic target for their satire. (The Walt Disney Company rewarded them with a lawsuit for their efforts.) Mr. London’s contribution to the project was Dirty Duck, the adventures of a *ahem* foul-mouthed anthropomorphic duck and his put-upon funny animal butler, Weevil. Most of there adventures seemed to involve lots of naked human women… Perhaps why the comic eventually found its way onto the pages of Playboy for many years. Now, IDW/Top Shelf have gathered together more than 300 pages of original full-color Dirty Duck comics into a new hardcover collection. Take a look at their web page to find out more.

image c. 2016

image c. 2016



Timely, in a Sad Way

For those who might have missed it, this is from Wikipedia: “Pearls Before Swine is an American comic strip written and illustrated by Stephan Pastis, a former San Francisco, California lawyer. It chronicles the daily lives of five anthropomorphic animals: A Pig, a Rat, a Zebra, a Goat, and a fraternity of crocodiles, as well as a number of supporting characters. Pastis has said each character represents an aspect of his own personality and world view.” The continuing comic strip can be found over at GoComics. Now, Andrews McMeel Publishing bring us the latest Pearls Before Swine collection in trade paperback. “In I’m Only in This for Me, the Pearls gang dares to tell the hard truths that the country needs to hear: The importance of prioritizing cheese over everything else, the sadly ignored capacity of bears to solve all of life’s problems, and the crucial Recognition Gap between women in bars and semi-obscure cartoonists with delusions of grandeur.  But beneath all the selfishness, absurdity, bungling crocs, and bazooka-wielding ducks, Rat, Pig, Goat, and Zebra continue to find that friendship can make life warmer, humor can make stupidity less annoying, and cheese really does make everything way, way better.” Check it out over at Amazon. This new book also includes some special collaboration cartoons between Mr. Pastis and Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson.

image c. 2016 Andrews McMeel

image c. 2016 Andrews McMeel Publishing

Filthy Animals of the World, Unite!

It’s hard to describe The Woodland Welfare Manifesto any better than Slave Labor Graphics do: “Woodland Welfare Manifesto is the story of Burnt Bear, Crazy Rabbit, and Perverted Monkey — three proletarian animals who struggle against the  corrupt capitalist system that oppresses their forest with an iron fist of injustice! Will this trio of friends triumph when working-class livelihoods are threatened, or will Crazy Rabbit’s anarchist methods threaten to make them all enemies of the state?” There you have it. Well, except to say that this full-color short graphic novel (written by Justin Sane and illustrated by John Hageman) is coming soon in trade paperback from SLG. Check out the more detailed review over at Fanboy Comics.

image c. 2015 Slave Labor Graphics

image c. 2015 Slave Labor

Cat vs. Television

Years ago, underground cartoonist Hunt Emerson made a name for himself with a comic strip known as Calculus Cat which… well, let’s just say it’s not about a cat who’s good at math. “”Calculus Cat’s home life is locked in an intense, argumentative relationship with his TV set, which bedevils him with commercials for Skweeky Weets – the world’s most asinine breakfast cereal. His ‘job’ is no better. He is forced to run thought the streets sporting his famous grin as The Public shout abuse and throw rubbish. His world is graphic, black and white, jagged, full in, weird, speedy and loud – everything a comic should be.” You heard it here. Long ago there was a compilation of Calculus Cat comics published, but it has long since gone out of print. Now after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Knockabout Comics have released a brand new expanded collection in trade paperback, featuring brand new pages and a collection of Calculus Cat art by the likes of Dave McKean, Gilbert Shelton, John McCrea, Kevin O’Neill, Kate Charlesworth, and Rian Hughes. Find out more over at Previews. The collection is in stores now.

image c. 2014 Knockabout Comics

image c. 2014 Knockabout Comics

Animals at the Office

Anouk Ricard is a cartoonist from Europe known for his satirical, surreal creations — usually involving animal characters. In his new graphic novel Benson’s Cuckoos we meet a hapless new office worker named Richard — who’s about to discover that his boss and his co-workers are more than just strange, they’re outright dangerous. Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say: “Originally published in French as Coucous Bouzon, this comic is like a fever dream of workplace anxiety drawn by Richard Scarry for those worn down by the business grind. Richard has just started a new job at a company that makes cuckoo clocks. That’s apropos, since the boss seems at best distracted, at worse insane. He’s been hired to replace a man named George, who disappeared suddenly. As Richard tries to cope with being asked to bring his own computer and prepare presentations without supporting files, he finds himself enveloped in the growing mystery of just what happened to George. It’s silly, with much of the humor coming from what look like children’s toys shooting or propositioning each other. The art is childlike, flat and colorful, but the content is distinctly adult.” Published in full color by Drawn & Quarterly in trade paperback, Benson’s Cuckoos is available now from Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2014 Drawn & Quarterly

image c. 2014 Drawn & Quarterly


Devastated Cats

The first of several discoveries at this year’s San Diego Comic Con: The Devastator is a digest-sized quarterly magazine of comedy and satire (for humans! they insist) whose writers and artists include folks who’ve worked on The Simpsons, The Daily Show, the Onion, and more. Every issue revolves around a theme, and the subject of issue #3 — just released — is cats. Good cats, bad cats, evil cats, romantic cats… and even cats served up as dinner for aliens. Seriously. The creators have uploaded a preview video to YouTube, or you can visit their web site to find out more. Flip the current zine over and you have the first few pages of a book called 400 Reasons to Get Married… To Your Cat!

The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo

By now you’ve likely heard of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first book in Stieg Larsson’s award-winning and wildly successful crime-drama trilogy. It, and the other books in the series, have also been made into successful movies. Well it seems that UK fantasy writer Adam Roberts could not leave well enough alone. He’s gone and written his own book entitled The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo, and it’s available now in the UK from Gollancz. Here’s the cover blurb: “Larssonous? Or out-and-out burglary? You know how dragons feel about burglars … Lizbreath Salamander is young and beautiful. Her scales have an iridescent sheen, her wings arch proudly, her breath has a tang of sulfur. And on her back a tattoo of a mythical creature: a girl. But when Lizbreath is drawn into a dark conspiracy she will have to rely on more than her beauty and her vicious claws the size of sabres . . . A dragon has disappeared, one of a secretive clan. As Lizbreath delves deeper into their history she realizes that these dragons will do anything to defend their secrets. Welcome to the world of The Dragon With The Girl Tattoo. A world of gloomy Nordic dragons leading lives uncannily like our own (despite their size, despite the need for extensive fireproofing of home furnishings), a world of money hoarded, a world of darkness and corruption. A world where people are the fantasy.” You can find out more about all of this at Adam Roberts’ new blog.

image c. 2010 Adam Roberts