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Jesse Reklaw's Ten Thousand Things To Do #1
posted April 15, 2009
Self-Published, mini-comic, 64 pages, 2008, $4
It should be available through Global Hobo
The sad thing about the decline of the alternative comic book is that every so often you come across someone you think should benefit by the idealized version of that platform that exists in your head. Jesse Reklaw follows up last year's fun, attractive Bluefuzz the Hero
with a diary comic that sticks to a four-panel arrangement like a dog locks into the back seat when you open up the hatch at the animal hospital. Reklaw the character seems to have a million things on his mind -- even moreso during the stretch in this volume that describes a tour in support of a collection of his dream comics -- so the four-panel restriction seems less like a capitulation to having nothing to say and more like a survival mechanism to keep him on point. It's the first diary comic I've read in a long, long while where it's like hearing a couple of sentences from someone about how their day went and it's so oddly put you're dying to ask more.
Anyway, to get to the alt-comic book idea, this is the kind of book I wish had some sort of national distribution (stop laughing, I said "idealized") so that people could come across it unawares, so they could pick it up in a shop and take it home on their own simply from the easy quality of the drawings and the clipped, engaging speech. I wish people could slowly warm to the characterizations that come off in the corners of running around, like the hilariously deadpan demeanor Reklaw gives his girlfriend. I wish I had someone to talk to if just in the shop about how sleep becomes an aggressive theme within the days depicted here, and what that portends. I just wish more people could see it than those that hit the more obscure web site or happen to place themselves in front of the cartoonist at a small press show. It's a nice comic book, that sneaks up on you in unintended way, done with skill that doesn't transform the work into something groundbreaking but never gets in the way of its modest enterprise.