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ACME Novelty Library
44 pp; Fantagraphics Books / #1 - $4; #2 - $3.95; #3 - $3.95

There are unique things in life, treasures you want to keep forever, show your friends, encase in lucite; the ACME Novelty Library is nine of these things. Excruciatingly detailed parodies of 50's print ads, hiliariously stiff prose, wonderful paper cut-outs ("This Gay Little Assortment is Guaranteed to Divert Even the Most Deficient of Little Minds.") that would clearly take seventeen hours to assemble properly, and cartoons! Quimby the Mouse, Jimmy Corrigan ("The Smartest Kid on Earth"), and "a small man shaped like a potato who goes blind and lives alone in a house." The third issue in the first volume, chronicling the adventures of said spud-man, is an incredible steal at $3.95. Order it through your local comic shop, then you don't have to pay shipping! Wee!

"Maybe you start reading a lot, or try drawing or something, even though it's not FUN like it used to be because all you can think about is that you're probably doing it WRONG or that it's BAD and someone's going to NOTICE, maybe someone you really don't want to notice, maybe someone you really want to have SEX with."
Optic Nerve
$2.95 / distributed by Drawn and Quarterly

Adrian Tomine has developed quite a unique comic style during the past three years of Optic Nerve. The stories themselves are split between autobiographical (appearing on the Jane Pratt show, his evil allergies to peanut butter and other assorted food) and relationships (man vs. woman, women vs. jerks, woman vs. teeth-grinding). Clean lines, a minimalist tyle and realistic dialogue make this a rare treat. Although the move will net him more exposure, it's sort a shame that Adrian is no longer self-publishing Optic Nerve and is now going through Drawn and Quarterly (they've already released two issues, and a compilation of back issues). Little gems, these small books were.

"With only about fifteen hours of consciousness in each day, only so much can be accomplished. As a result, the things I really care about have often taken a back seat to the more dreary aspects of life, such as school, work, mindless errands, etc. If I didn't have to sleep, I could accomplish those things and still have time for more productive, enriching activities ... like drawing comics!"