This month I am posting a review of a different self-published comic book each day for the rest of the month! Here is an archive of the books reviewed so far!
Today I am featuring J.T. Yost's Old Man Winter and Other Sordid Stories #1.
J.T. Yost's Old Man Winter and Other Sordid Stories #1 is a very accomplished work, especially the way that so much of the comic is quite brutal, but it is brutal in a most peculiar (and impressive) manner, where Yost slowly strings you along before hitting you with the brutality. And the best part of the brutality is that it is just so true to life - we're not talking about people doing unbelievable things here, these are realistic things that no one would ever think twice about, except when someone like Yost points them out to you, and then you are taken aback by it all.
The first story of this anthology of Yost stories, Old Man Winter, is the only one that is brand new to this collection.
It tells the story of an old widower living in an apartment in the city, with his weekly visits to the local art supplies story being basically the only thing that's keeping him going.
Yost's cartoonish style belies the fact that he's quite willing to look at the grim realities of life, and he shows you the effects of casual cruelness, even cruelness that's not intended as such.
He has two stories that are so short that I don't feel like showing you samples (one of them is two pages long, so showing you one of the two pages seems like a bit much), but one of them involves a bunny, an insect, a zombie, a monkey, an alien and a robot and the other one is titled "How to Run Away to the Circus/How to Run Away from the Circus"
Yost's next big story is a slice-of-life tale about him and a friend growing up pulling a prank on a third friend...
Yost's storytelling abilities serve him well here, he tells the story extremely well with his artwork.
The last story of the book is perhaps its strongest (either it or Old Man Winter).
It is a pretty straightforward, yet brutal, comparison of a young girl on a family vacation and a young calf on the road to being part of a hamburger...
As you might imagine, this comic has already been appropriated by a vegan group as a giveaway. I don't blame them - you can't get much more effective than this gripping tale where, again, Yost's cartoonish style allows the story to sneak right up on you before he blows you away with the brutality of life.
All in all, this is a charming and disturbing anthology by an artist who is not afraid to take you on a journey through the grim truths of life, but he's also not afraid of making the journey an entertaining one.
The book is bound nicely with and it is 56 pages long. Well worth the seven bucks J.T. is asking for.