Pizzeria Kamikaze

Written by Etgar Keret
Art by Asaf Hanuka
104 pages, two-color
Published by Alternative Comics

Some books you read and are glad you took the time to experience, and can’t wait to tell others about. Others you might read and then run out to warn people away from. But then there’s that rare sort of book like Etgar Keret and Asaf Hanuka’s Pizzeria Kamikaze, where you’ll put down the book and appreciate the experience that went through courtesy its creators. But if someone asked you if they should read it? Well, you’re not sure. And that’s ultimately the crux of this book.

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Lunch Hour Comix #1

By Robert Ullman
64 pages, black and white
Published by Alternative Comics

I love the idea of the “journal” comic, from extensive travel journals (like Rick Smith’s Baraka and Black Magic in Morocco) to the strip-a-day-format (like James Kochalka’s American Elf). Robert Ullman’s new comic, Lunch Hour Comix, has a nice take on the latter concept. His comics are about his day and what’s going on, but they’ve got to be completed in one hour: the amount of time he gets for lunch. So these really are, well, lunch hour comics.

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Salmon Doubts

By Adam Sacks
128 pages, two-color
Published by Alternative Comics

About a year ago, Alternative Comics publisher Jeff Mason was talking about an upcoming graphic novel he’d just gotten the rights to publish called Salmon Doubts, and how this would be a book that everyone would talk about for some time to come. Having now read Salmon Doubts for myself, it’s easy to see why he was so excited.

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Yellow Baby #1

By Jed Alexander
32 pages, two-color
Published by Alternative Comics

One-man anthologies can be both appealing and frustrating at the same time. On the one hand, you often get a wide variety of stories and styles by the creator all collected into a single volume, letting you experience all sorts of different approaches in one sitting. On the other hand, there’s nothing more frustrating than getting an anthology by a single creator, loving one entry in particular, and wishing all the rest of the pages had been just like that. It’s sort of like an appetizer tray, where either you’ll love the entire assortment or make you wish you’d just ordered a lot more of one particular food. I’d never read anything by Jed Alexander before Yellow Baby #1, so I had no idea just which of those two options I’d be in for…

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Vagabonds #1

By Josh Neufeld
24 pages, green and white
Published by Alternative Comics

Josh Neufeld’s travel stories have caught my attention ever since they first appeared in Keyhole years ago. Neufeld and his then-girlfriend (now wife) backpacked through large stretches of southeast Asia, and the resulting adventures have appeared in comic stories since then. With The Vagabonds, Neufeld has his own solo book to both reprint and hopefully present new stories about his adventures in both foreign lands and those places a little closer to home…

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Baraka and Black Magic in Morocco

By Rick Smith
128 pages, two-color
Published by Alternative Comics

When told properly, I adore reading travelogues. There’s something fascinating about reading other people’s experiences in far-off places that I may never experience for myself. Through their eyes, I’m able to better get an idea of just what this part of the world is truly like. That’s probably why I was instantly intrigued by Rick Smith’s upcoming graphic novel Baraka and Black Magic in Morocco; I knew from Shuck Comics that Smith can tell a story, and I suspect the closest I’m getting to Morocco in the near future is the EPCOT Center at Disneyworld, so this seemed like a perfect book for me.

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A Sort of Homecoming #1

Written by Damon Hurd
Art by Pedro Camello
24 pages, black and white
Published by Alternative Comics

The experiences of our childhood are always interesting when filtered through the perception of adulthood. Things often fall into place, or simply gain new meaning. In reading Damon Hurd and Pedro Camello’s A Sort of Homecoming one can’t help but reflect on your own past even as the central character does the same with his—with hopefully more cheery results.

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Fancy Froglin’s Sexy Forest

By James Kochalka
64 pages, color
Published by Alternative Comics

At this year’s SPX, James Kochalka was overheard describing the creative process for his web strip Fancy Froglin. “Every week I draw a new page,” he said, “and then I show it to my wife Amy. And every week she says, ‘I don’t get it.’ So I ask her if that means she doesn’t like my comics, and she says, ‘Not Fancy Froglin.'” Well, I don’t know about you, but that was all I had to hear to buy a copy (once I stopped laughing, that is).

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Same Difference and Other Stories

By Derek Kirk Kim
144 pages, black and white
Published by Small Stories, distributed by Alternative Comics

Don’t trust editors. I should engrave this on the top of my monitor or something, because every time I ignore this adage I end up spending money. I first got suckered by Matt Wayne from Milestone Media, who promised me that if I didn’t love Maison Ikkoku he’d give me my money back. Fourteen volumes later, I was happier if a bit poorer. Ever since then, I keep getting sucked into new books by editors saying the same thing. When they haven’t published the book themselves, I figure it must be sincere, and it usually is… and my wallet ends up a bit lighter. This time the blame goes to James Lucas Jones from Oni Press, who did the whole, “If you don’t like it I’ll give you your money back” thing with Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference and Other Stories. You’d think I would have seen the end result a mile away.

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Sweaterweather

By Sara Varon
88 pages, black and white, two-color, and full-color
Published by Alternative Comics

Sara Varon is probably not a familiar name to most comic book readers. I’d never encountered her work until last year’s anthology Rosetta, but I found myself already hoping to see more of her comics before too long. Sometimes it’s almost like Alternative Comics’s publisher Jeff Mason is hovering over my shoulder and taking notes at moments like that, because now we’ve got Varon’s first graphic novel, Sweaterweather, collecting a great deal of her works to date.

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