This comic made me really really happy.
While for all intents and purposes, this should probably be considered a mini-comic, but I'm giving it its own review for two reasons. One, I didn't pick up nearly as many mini-comics as Alex did.
Second, I enjoyed this so much I actually called my best friend and did a dramatic reading of it over the phone just because I wanted someone else to get as much joy out of it as I did.
The premise of the book is simple and the joke pretty one note, but if it's a joke you're in on, it never gets old. The short story is one of two roomates (or best friends, though I don't think it matters) discussing indie rock bands. Only it soon becomes apparent that one of them knows WAY too much about the indie rock scene, and it soon devolves into a hilarious bout of attempted one-upsmanship with one guy desperately trying to seem relevant and the other totally oblivious to his "uncool" pain.
Now the joke its hard to get obviously. The book is funny and truthful and anyone who has ever had a trivial, silent competition with a best friend, or even a sibling, will definitely relate. But here is why I was laughing so hard I had to immediately share: said friend that I called is a huge Phish fan, so we have spent a lot of time playing games of Hippie Jam Band or Diner Menu Item. You might be surprised. (Disco Buiscuts? Jam Band. Disco Fries? Diner Food.) So as the band names in Bands You've Never Heard Of got progressively more ane more seemingly ridiculous, I laughed probably way harder than appropriate. But I'm okay with that, and you should be too.
The art is simple line drawings, which suits the simplicity and mood of the piece. It's not a complex story and the art doesn't work too hard. Jeremy's talent is clear without being showy. His real strength is his ability to capture both young men's facial expressions with a real depth that tells just as much of the story as the actual words. Even if there were no speech bubbles, the reader would still understand the underlying emotions of what is happening in the book.
Bands You've Never Heard Of is definitely one of my top books I picked up at SPX. I only had a couple of dollars left to my name on Sunday and I picked it up on a whim because the title gave me a chuckle. It did not disappoint.
According to the back, Bands You've Never Heard Of is just the first in a series of vignettes, and personally, I can't wait to read the rest of them.
Jeremy Nguyen also has several other comics as well as an illustration portfolio (and some stand up comedy!) on his website, JeremyWinsLife.com. Normally I would have just linked the text "on his website," but even his URL makes me happy. His store is currently down for maintenance, but if you're on the West Coast, he will be at the Alternative Press Expo. It's a great show, and you should check it out (and check out his booth while you're there!)
Go forth and continue winning, Jeremy.
TL;DR Bands You've Never Heard Of made me irrationally happy, and I think you would like it too. Check out JeremyWinsLife.com for more info.