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A double-snark, for you!

(From Timmy Kat! Click on the thumbnail for ordering information and to consign your soul to the inky blackness!)

One of my overall problems in life is ambition. In another window, I'm working on the first of four Shortbread lists. I'm totally insane. And needless to say, it's got my writing time a little bit consumed. At least it's being consumed for all of you, right?

But I need a break, and fortunately I have the perfect thing to Snark! You see, my copy of Timmy Kat came in today.

Timmy Kat is the first comic book from Mel Hynes and James L. Grant, who are best known as the writer and artist of Two Lumps. (Two Lumps is the Keenspace comic that currently heads my "why the fuck isn't this on Keenspot proper? Don't Crosby, Crosby, Bleuel and Stone like money?" list.) Well, there's some of that good old fashioned Two Lumps humor in this... and a nice healthy dose of humor from Grant's other comic, FLEM Comics.

If that doesn't scare you and thrill you all at once, go click on the FLEM link and read the archives straight through. I dare you.

This is a double-snark, however. Not only is this a fast set of impressions on Timmy Kat itself, it's also my inauguration into ComiXpress's wares. ComiXpress, for those who don't know, is the latest project from Logan DeAngelis, webcartoonist of the brilliant (and underappreciated, in my view) KU-2 and impresario of PV Comics. DeAngelis is trying to bring quality Print on Demand comic books to the Indy Comics community, coupling a certain degree of editorial oversight with the POD model.

So, on the one hand, there was no way in Hell I wasn't going to buy this comic. I'm too much of a Two Lumps and FLEM fan not to. On the other hand, this would be a chance to see the actual execution of the ComiXpress experience and see what kind of quality they could produce. In the Critical Community, this is what we call win/win.

Ordering was moderately painless but slightly frustrating. The site was well laid out, though it kind of insisted on me opening an account (which isn't my favorite thing to do when I just want to buy something). It was easy to use, though, and it featured a Paypal option for paying.

I like paying with Paypal. I always have. It's by far my favorite means of giving people money on the Internet. If Amazon.com took Paypal, I'd never go to Barnes and Noble again. So that got props from me. I went through, punched in my password, hit submit, Paypal told me the money was sent, and redirected me to ComiXpress's website to give me a receipt....

And got a page of PHP errors.

Well, shit.

So, being in a technical field, I did what I do in these situations -- I did a copy/paste of all of them and e-mailed them to their technical support. And I got back a response in like three minutes thanking me and letting me know that yes, the Paypal order went through and I'd get my stuff. Logging back in confirmed this. So, while it was scary, and could potentially lead someone to double-order, it wasn't a dealbreaker and the ComiXpress staff were fast to reassure me. And that's a good thing.

They shipped that same day, by Priority Mail, in a nice flat, solid mailer. And it got to me.

Let me finish up the ComiXpress discussion by talking about quality of printing. This is black and white, including the cover (I believe that covers at least can be printed in color over at ComiXpress, but that's not what Hynes and Grant elected to do). It's about the right size for what we think of when we think of comic books, and it's nicely put together. More to the point, my brain thinks "comic book" when I hold it, not "saddle stapled bunch of paper," which is a good sign. It prints to glossy paper for the cover, and then what feels like a seventy pound laser safe paper for the interior. From the reproductive qualities, I assume it's produced on the current generation of Docutech printer/copiers, or a competing brand that does the same thing as the Docutech. There is a little bit of streak in the greys, owing to xerographic instead of offset printing, but that's expected and hardly a dealbreaker.

Yes, I used to work at Kinko's. I own my McPast, damn it.

The interiors are bright and clear, thanks to the paper choice (quality paper really stands out, especially in the greys). The pictures look good, and the text of the introduction and foreward (by R. K. Millholland and Nick Mamatas respectively) is crisp and clean. The text of the story proper has a little bit of jaggedness to it, but that's more an issue with the font (which really wasn't meant for the size it was printed at) than the reproduction.

Suffice it to say, I don't feel badly for spending five bucks on this comic. I sort of expect to drop five bucks on a 36 page comic with minimal advertising (which is confined to the back of the comic and is all in-house for ComiXpress) these days, and I'm not disappointed with the quality.

So, enough of that. You want to know how Timmy Kat is.

The art is beautiful. Two words: Sand Castle. I don't know how Grant has enough life to draw that. The story hits the tone it was going for -- this is written as a children's book (well, in style. Though my nieces might like it. But then, I have exceptional nieces with dark senses of humor), and it comes across exactly right for that. The pacing was excellent, and the story resolved in exactly the way I hoped.

Oh, and Hynes and Grant are total bastards who will come to a horrible end, and I need to spork out my own eyes and wander the streets in a purgatory of my own creation, babbling incoherently but insightfully until the darkness of sweet oblivion claims me at last.

But that's really what I was looking for in their first comic. Needless to say, I am content.

Now, back to these damn Shortbread recipients. Me and my fucking bright ideas.


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You referred to ComiXpress as ComiXpedia a few times ...


That's because I'm very tired and not very smart.

Thank you, Joey. It's fixed now.

Comixpress is great. Logan is a mad man for putting it together. It's really taken off for him! And man, I've never dealty with a better POD. IN fact, I hate to even say POD at all. It became a bad word to me! I couldnt be happier with my comics through them.

Nick did the foreword for that? I'm surprised he hasn't been lobbying for us all to go buy it. :)

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