Dear Internet. I have been trapped under this pile of mini comics for a week now. And by the arcane compact of the Mole people, I can only remove comics from the pile upon reviewing them. SO SPEAKS THE MOLE KING.
The Life & Times of Otto Zeplin vol. 4 by B.T. Livermore
This is the heart-warming story of the possible life of a young Otto Zeplin (who, the preface is careful to tell us, was a real person who died at 8 months of age, and that no disrespect is intended) and his best friend, the ghost of Ulysses S. Grant (who was also a real person, according to money).
The first thing that drew me to this comic was the gorgeous exterior. Livermore has done a fine job with a tightly-registered two-color black-and-gold screen print and hand-stitched binding. I often complain to all those who will listen (mole people) that I’m sick and tired of the trend of making mini comics into art books; object d’art with hand-colored or hand-printed covers, specialized paper stock, custom bindings; drawing the focus from the comics inside to the book itself. But the reality is that, time and time again, these are the books that catch my eye. They belie a care and attention that I cannot help but assume (rightly or wrongly) extends to the comics within.
And happily The Life & Times of Otto Zeplin vol. 4 is no exception. The comic is winningly charming, using a single-panel-per-page approach that is evocative of a child’s picture book. Each panel is a vignette, some of which interconnect into larger storylines. The result is a breezy read that is very approachable to new readers. The art is character-ful and expressive, although I did find myself wishing for more detailed backgrounds (a complaint you’re bound to hear from me fairly often. This is one of those things that cartoonists often neglect), if only to have environments that are as inviting as the characters and story.
Favorite quote: “Otto and Grant build a blanket fort and stay up gossiping all night long.”
You can read more comics by B.T. Livermore here.