September 28, 2014

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Panel Patter's September Small Press Previews Picks

A little while back, we told you about the new site, Small Press Previews. It's a great resource, but with so many books out there, which ones should you zero in on?

Well, the Panel Patter team has come together to help you out! Here's our picks of the small press work for September. We'll try to make this a monthly feature on the blog, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for October's entry soon!*

These are in alphabetical order, with a note at the end of who suggested the book. Participating this month are Rob McMonigal (RBM), Rob Kirby (RK), Guy Thomas (GT), and James Kaplan (JK).

Copra Round 1 by James Fiffe. Copra is one of those rare things in modern times (where everything is easily available on the internet), which is something that's actually hard to come by. Everyone who's read Copra speaks about it with the most effusive praise. It's an out-there take on a team of anti-heroes and misfits, evocative of classic Suicide Squad but with Michel Fiffe's completely unique visual style. Available from Bergen Street Press. $19.95

Covers by Jason Martin Subtitled Stories about musicians, this zine by the author of last year’s excellent Driftwood City paperback collects comics Martin adapted from his favorite music-related stories. Inside there are true tales ranging from Kurt Cobain’s gastrointestinal issues and his special relationship with Kraft macaroni and cheese, to an interesting behind the scenes look at the session musicians for Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, a look at John Lennon’s primal scream therapy that resulted in his classic John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album, Kristin Hersh on recording the first Throwing Muses album, and more. Martin has excellent taste, and chooses fascinating vignettes, most of which touch on the often mysterious alchemy of the artistic process. Self-published, available here. $3 (RK)

I Don't Hate Your Guts by Noah Van Sciver finds the one-man anthologist looking inward, showing his life with honestly, even when it's not so glorious. See what comics he's reading and what jobs he's doing, since comics don't pay the bills. From 2D Cloud, and $5. (RBM)


Little Nemo: Dream another Dream by Various. The Little Nemo movie scared me as a kid. I would watch it and have nightmares of the Nightmare King (how appropriate) all night long. As I grew up and gained an interest in Platinum Age comics, I slowly started to understand how important the strip that inspired the movie was. Little Nemo was one of the first comics to show what comics can do, exploring the potential of the dream world in a way that no other medium can. Dream Another Dream looks to be a loving tribute from dozens of talented artists (including Paul Pope, David Mack, Craig Thompson, Carla Speed McNeil, and more!) to Winsor McCay’s classic strip. I am very excited to see how these creators interpret McCay’s world, and the oversized nature of the book (designed to be the same size as the original Sunday newspaper pages) along with the sheer quality of the previews I’ve seen look to make the rather high price point totally worth it. I cannot wait to read this book. $124.99 (GT)

Mr. Wolf #3 by Aron Nels Steinke This is the third issue of Steinke’s fictionalized autobiographical series about the life of an elementary school teacher. Mr. Wolf and the entire cast are anthropomorphized, which lends an extra sense of whimsy to these delightful, smartly observed vignettes, and Steinke’s art just gets better and better. There are very few comics about teaching out there (Ms. Bean’s Art Class by Cara Bean is the only other title I know of) and there should be more.  Get a copy for the teacher in your life. Available at Birdcage Bottom Books. $5. (RK)

Nix Comics #7 continues Ken Eppstein's music-themed horror anthology, which are two great things that go great together. It looks to be another quality batch of stories, with the lead story being called MP3s of Madness and the return of everyone's favorite unpleasant guy, Bus Stop Ned. You can pick this one up at Nix Comics for five bucks. (RBM)

Weird Me Vol 1 details Dirty Diamonds co-editor Kelly Phillips's time as the person running a Weird Al Yankovic fan site, which included flying to concerts and earning a stalker. A look at the King of Parody from the perspective of a fan and what it means to be a somewhat known fan within a larger community. Available directly from Kelly here. $5 (RBM)

Wendy by Walter Scott. Wendy is a mercilessly satirical look at the Montreal art school scene, as seen through the eyes of its titular heroine. Wendy means well, always trying to succeed as an artist, but she has a fatal weakness for excessive partying and choosing unavailable men, which tends to derail her plans, time and time again. Her circle of hipster friends and frenemies includes estranged pal Tina, no-nonsense Vienna, not-to-be-trusted Paloma, sexy paramour Byron, and her always horny, always-a-bad-influence gay pal, Screamo. Scott is a wonderfully expressive cartoonist, specializing in laugh-out-loud, operatic reaction shots. His characters are deeply flawed, hilariously funny, and always recognizably human. Another triumph from Koyama Press. Available in November, being previewed now. $18. (RK)

*We can't do the column until the Tumblr updates. As of this writing, it's still only showing September books.