Reviewed by Richard Krauss


By Mike Bertino
Tender Loving Empire, Fall 2007 $10
28 b&w pages, plus green flyleaf and 3-color silkscreened cover
Legal-size digest, saddle-stitch binding



The wheel of fortune spins and you never know where it will land. In this experimental small press comic Bertino offers an intriguing concept. Each of the issue's two stories employ the same script. Every word of the dialogue and narrative is the same, but the settings, characters, and outcomes are another story entirely.


It's a clever idea and makes for a fascinating reading experience. Bertino wisely begins with the more domestic version. By the time you reach the second, you're totally absorbed, racing through to see how he's going to pull off this experiment and where the pinwheel of adventure takes you. A great idea and great fun to read!


Bertino's artwork is a nice cartoony/realistic mix. The backgrounds are sometimes sparse, but he carefully adds the detail where it's needed to set the scene or when it's important to the story.


The wraparound 3-color silkscreen cover is artfully printed on heavy-weight stock. The registration is precise and the colors are rich and saturated as you'd expect. In a way, it's like getting an art print along with your comic, and perhaps that's part of what set the price tag at $10 a copy.


Rating the Issue

Story: Overall 10
Concept: 10
Plot: 9
Writing: 10

Art: Overall 8
Style: 8

Storytelling: 8
Color/Tones: 8

Importance: Overall 8
To the Title: NA
To the Company: NA
To the Medium: 8


Take A Look Inside


Reviewer Bio


R. Krauss reviews small press and mini comics for Comic Related, Midnight Fiction [http://www.midnightfiction.com] and Poopsheet Foundation [http://www.poopsheetfoundation.com].


Name: Richard Krauss
email: arkay@midnightfiction.com


Been reading comics: since I started reading Marvel comics in Junior High School.


Review Bio: After several years I discovered titles like Zap and Bijou at a headshop and was seduced by the freedom and variety they offered. When the new-wave comix era sprouted from the seeds of the undergrounds, I quickly joined the ranks of other struggling cartoonists with phenomenally low print runs. After almost a decade of small press comix, I retired and made a solemn vow never to return. Several years later the Internet happened and over time many of my favorite new-wave cartoonists got online. The bug bit again and I started exploring the new crop of small press cartoonists. Today's explosion of small press comics is more exciting than any time I've ever seen.


Favorites: Papercutter, Not My Small Diary, Slam Bang, Comic Eye, stuff from Main Enterprises and Weird Muse, to name a few.


Website: MidnightFiction.com


Page last updated on November 7, 2008

About Us | Contact Us | Copyright Info