Confessions of a Cereal Eater, Vol. 2
by Rob Maisch, Scott Hampton
(NBM, 2003)

Rob Maisch crafts stories with a nerd's heart and a poet's eye for detail. This book, a collection of short tales drawn by various artists from the Savannah College of Art & Design, includes self-referential tales of woe, snow and lots mo'. Tales from Maisch's college life are hilarious and his travails with women from his youth into adulthood bounce from poignant to downright wacky.

The thing that separates Maisch from the hordes of "personal" comic artists and writers in the field is that there is a general sense of good-guy-makes-goodness inherent in the work; sometimes the good guy in the funny glasses gets the girl and sometimes he doesn't, but he doesn't whine about it.

This isn't some slacker diary of longing. Maisch gives his flabby comic doppleganger the life he lived and the charm to go with it. He's comfortable in his own skin and he's peeling back the band-aid from his scars to show you the cool-though-way-personal parts beneath.

Not that the book is all fun and games. The first tale, "Two in a Canoe," though comical, balances the game rush of first love with the lame crush of first loss, while not being smarmy about it. The tone and pacing of the book running against the grain of the various art styles also gives the overall feel of the book a flashback sense, some vivid, some gray, some short and sweet.

This is a solid book of human condition telling from someone who knows who he is and doesn't mind telling you all about it.

- Rambles
written by Scott Woods
published 31 January 2004

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