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posted August 24, 2009
Self-Published, mini-comic, 24 pages, 2009, price unknown
I've been extolling the virtues of retailer and convention organizer and cartoonist Dustin Harbin's comics for a while now by spotlighting them when they appear on his site. Indeed, everything that appears in Dharbin!
#2 appears on the site
, so it's hard for me to suggest you go through the trouble of ordering one through the mails unless you're a paper fanatic. But if you were to run across Harbin at a convention or one of the small press affairs dotting the continent I'd certainly put it out there as one for which to trade or pick up with spare cash in support of the cartoonist or one to suggest to a non-comics savvy friend.
This is all work from the first half of 2009, during which the cartoonist became more devoted to regular updates but hadn't quite slipped into the longer works that dominate the site now. It's fairly all over the place. Most of what's here is drawn with aplomb -- there are a couple of sketchbook pages included that show Harbin comes by his style honestly rather than as a way to flee the drawing fundamentals -- and much of it is gently amusing, a mix of autobiography and wry, humorous portraits of an instant or perhaps even a president. The apparent lack of ambition definitely keeps this in prime mini-comic territory: there's nothing here that screams "publish me right now." However, the talent regularly on display suggests an artist afraid to make that final push forward and into the rest of his career, like a senior returning to college for no other reason than he's nervous to turn pro. Hopefully the more focused work on the site as of late is a sign of things to come, and we can look on books like these not just as pleasant mini-comics but pore over them for signs of what eventually came from Harbin's pen.