Most mini-comics don’t get a lot of attention. They’re usually self-published, and, with some exceptions, not sold in comic shops or bookstores. Mini-comics are often smaller than standard sized comics (hence the name ‘mini’) and are as a rule (but not always) printed in black and white. Many graphic novels were originally published as mini-comics and later collected into book form. Here are some mini-comics (and a graphic novel) worth seeking out.
URBAN NOMAD, by Alisa Harris, is an autobiographical mini-comic that’s written and drawn in a simple, yet eloquent style. It features episodes from the cartoonist’s life, such as looking for an apartment, going to a wedding or adjusting to living in New York (after growing up in a small town.) Don’t let the mundane sounding subjects fool you. Alisa is able to transform the minutia of daily life into satisfying and engaging vignettes.
BURN THE BRIDGES OF ARTA, by Amelia Onorato, is a mini-comic set in the early 1900s. It’s not only a mini-comic but a mini-series, with each issue telling an ongoing story. Her attention to period detail in clothing, furniture and architecture is excellent, as are the characters. Amelia has also done a number of other mini-comics, each one taking place in a different historical era. I particularly liked ULTIMA THULE, an ancient Roman story, but they are all well worth reading.
CONNECTION LOST, by Carey Pietsch, is an autobiographical mini-comic featuring engaging slice of life stories from the artist’s life. She also writes and draws fantasy comics, such as WITCHES, DRAGONS, MAGIC & CATS, which takes place in an imaginary, medieval world.
THE AMAZING “TRUE” STORY OF A TEENAGE SINGLE MOM, by Katherine Arnoldi (originally published in 1998, and in a new edition in 2015), is a graphic novel memoir about the author’s difficult life. She was abandoned by her mother as a small child, worked in a factory as a teenager, and was raped and bore her assailant’s child, whom she raised. The book recounts her harrowing struggle, survival and ultimate triumph over terrible adversity. Her story is raw, honest, hard hitting, powerful, and extremely moving. It appeals on many levels, including as a cautionary tale for teenagers.
Check out the new webcomic, Tom’s Tiki Bar, written by me and drawn by Jason Chatfield. You can read it at: www.tomstikibar.squarespace.com