Sunday, February 10, 2019

#SAD! by G.B. Trudeau

Although I have more libertarian political views that tend to skew conservative, I have usually enjoyed reading the comic strip “Doonesbury.” Sometimes the satire in the strip is really funny and right on, other times it seems to be edgy for the sake of being edgy. #SAD! is supposed to be a collection of comics reflecting “Doonesbury” in the age of Trump. I say supposed to be because there are several comics (especially in the first section of the book) that really have nothing to do with Trump at all and I’m not sure why they were even included with this collection. The first section of the book also jumps around: there are comics next to each other that were published months and in a few cases, years apart from each other.  While it might be argued that they are included in this first section (entitled “The Gathering Storm”) because they foreshadow what is to come, many of them seem out of place to me and only used because they needed some filler.  The rest of the book, once most of the strips are published in chronological order, is better than the first section. With that said, towards the end of the book there are again gaps. I’m not sure why the gaps are there; maybe the strips that seem to be missing didn’t seem to fit with the tone of the book or maybe they were another one of Trudeau’s notorious sabbaticals (Trudeau has taken more sabbaticals from cartooning than any educator or college professor ever has). Anyway, while there were parts of #SAD! I enjoyed, I felt that the tone was not consistent. The book claims to be a lifeline for those living through the time of Trump.  However, to me, it seemed to be highly inconsistent and only dealing with Trump on occasion. Those who purchase the book new also receive a pull-out poster of the updated Doonesbury Trump Board Game.


DANCE LIKE EVERYBODY’S WATCHING is the latest treasury of “Zits” comics. It collects “Zits” comics that ran in newspapers from Jan. 3, 2016 – Dec . 31, 2016. There isn’t anything all that new here, just the typical (although sometimes surreal) behavior of teenage Jeremy and his life with his parents.  “Zits” has become more of a throw-back comic, but one that’s still comforting to read.


In THE ONLY LIVING BOY #1: PRISONER OF THE PATCHWORK PLANET, a boy named Erik runs away from his home and falls asleep in a park. When he awakes, he discovers he is no longer home and he is now on a world that has some resemblance of his home, but one that has changed drastically. For instance, the moon has shattered and there are all kinds of creatures out to kill, eat, or capture Erik. The inhabitants of this world are amazed at Erik because he is a human boy and they have never seen one before. Initially, Erik isn’t as fast or fearsome of some of his opponents and he has to rely upon his intellect and wit to survive some unusual circumstances. I really enjoyed this first installment of THE ONLY LIVING BOY and look forward to reading further adventures of Erik. The story is different, but it reminded me of a more colorful and exciting version of the old Saturday morning series, LAND OF THE LOST.

SUPER CHILL by Adam Ellis

SUPER CHILL is a collection of comics by Adam Ellis. Ellis used to work for Buzzfeed but apparently quit his job so he could draw full time. The comics collected in SUPER CHILL are reflections upon his day-to-day life: one comic illustrates the pain of having a hangnail while another reflects on the pain of being at the dentist’s office. Apparently Ellis spent some time in Japan, so several of the comics reflect upon his time there. What I liked most about the comics in SUPER CHILL are the illustrations themselves. I realize it’s a somewhat common style of many online comics, but it’s also one that appeals to me. As for the comics themselves, I really didn’t find any of them to be that funny. There were one or two that gave me a little chuckle, but that was it.  Although I read a lot of comics and graphic novels, I don’t think I’m in the wheelhouse for SUPER CHILL, but perhaps the books greatest flaws is that I’m really not sure what the target audience for this collection is

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


MOTHER IS COMING is a collection of “Foxtrot” comics. It collects the strips that appeared from January 4, 2015 – August 13, 2017. I’ll admit that since “Foxtrot” has become a Sunday only strip, it’s not quite as entertaining as it once was when it was a daily strip. However, despite appearing only once a week the strip still has moments that capture the charm that made it so special. I’ve always liked “Foxtrot” because it infuses educational areas (such as mathematics and physics) with pop culture references. The title of the book is taken from a strip where Jason and Marcus are sitting on the couch watching “Game of Thrones.” Jason loves the show, but his mother has told him time and time again he is not supposed to watch it. In this strip, he and Marcus have built a giant wall out of white Legos so they can watch the show, only to hear Jason’s mom’s voice behind the wall.

BIG NATE GOES BANANAS! by Lincoln Peirce

The misadventures of middle schooler Nate Wright continue in BIG NATE GOES BANANAS! Some of the storylines in this book include Nate’s baseball team changing its name from the Creampuffs to the Cupcakes, Nate’s sister, Ellen, being asked on a date by Nik Fletcher (the captain of the hockey team), Coach John subbing for Mrs. Godfrey during the last couple weeks of school, Nate being “watched” by his Uncle Ted while Nate’s dad is out of town on business, and Nate spending time on the beach during summer break and running into School Picture Guy. The "Big Nate" comics have gotten better over time and this is a nice collection of them. When purchased new, this book contains a "Big Nate" poster of the book’s cover.