Old Man Winter and Other Sordid Tales: By J.T. Yost, 56 Pgs. By CT Terry

A collection of stories in comic form, the longest of which is about the last days of an old man who is mourning the passing of his beloved wife. Aside from an autobiographical comic about an ongoing prank in high school, the rest of the book has an animal rights theme.

The art has a clean, deceptively simple style with thick lines and adorned backgrounds that add to the richness of the images. The pictures are on the cute side, but not too much. They add to the material’s wistful mood.

The animal rights bits don’t come off as short-sighted or didactic. J.T. Yost gets great impact by drawing parallels between the lives of humans and animals, like in a brief piece that traces the events that lead up to a trainer and an elephant facing off in the circus ring.

This collection of comic stories won the 2009 Xeric Award, which is a grant given to artists who self-publish comics. It’s great to learn about any DIY art being rewarded, and Yost’s work is deserving of the prize. –CT Terry (www.birdcagebottombooks.com)