Canned Heat “A Collection of Mixed Drink Wednesday comics from October 2013 to October 2014.”
From Drunken Cat Comics, Brian Canini and Derek Baxter.
(Part of catch up January. Review is long overdue.)
Long time readers will remember previous reviews of publications from Drunken Cat Comics. If not, click any of the tags at the bottom of this article to bring up some past articles.
Canned Heat is a collection of one year’s worth of web comic posts from the deranged geniuses known as Brian and Derek. Like everything I have read so far from these two, this batch of short stories has numerous tales that speak to those unspoken feelings deep inside. If I had read this back in June there would be different emotions than what I experienced today. That is one of the hallmarks of any great piece of fiction: the ability to speak to the reader throughout the years.
There is the funny and absurd. The Drunken Cat himself always has asshole level hijinks that put a smile on my face. For some characters like this, a little goes a long way, but the DC is like that horrible best friend that one never tires of. Death itself has numerous tales within the comic. The first one “Death Goes to Work” caused me to laugh so hard my wife demanded an explanation. After telling her all about this twisted story starring the Grim Reaper and my hysterical reaction she suggested counseling. I will only attend if Brian and Derek go with me. Group therapy!
A young Brian (age 8) showcases his childhood stories, the Adventures of Bugman! Its crudely drawn, the plot is everywhere, and all I want to do is cross my fingers and hope my similar drawings are in a box somewhere at my mom’s house. Bugman made me feel young and free again. Back to a time where a stack of paper and some pencils could fill a day if not a weekend if not the whole week. I look forward to my child discovering his inner Kirby the same way. The funny thing is I had just bought a how to make your own comics book I remember taking out of my local library when I was 8. Its a perfect storm of wide eyed wonder and creativity.
“Where do the ghost children play?” hurts. Flat out hurts. If you are over a certain age this one will hit a little too close to home. Then again, Brian has always had a gift of expressing his emotions and doubt as an artist through the medium. He quite often speaks directly to me through time and space. There are many short stories throughout Canned Heat that is just Brian trying to work through the pain and depression that is the monkey’s paw to the gift of a creative mind.
Only a mind that creative could bring the adventures of Dracula Cops, Winston Churchill, and my favorite “How Do You Explain Time to a Mayfly?” These are the ideas that Hollywood buys and everyone scrambles to find the small run indie book it first appeared in.
I have not even begun to share all of the stories inside this book. It is not up to me to tell everything within to future readers. It is up to you to have this book in your hands and let the stories speak to you and where ever you are at in life. Then do it again a year or two later and see what magic speaks to you then.