Mitch Clem - Nothing Nice to Say [book] (Cover Artwork)

Mitch Clem

Mitch Clem: Nothing Nice to Say [book]Nothing Nice to Say [book] (2008)
Dark Horse Books

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: BryneBryne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Nothing Nice to Say is the first foray into the dirty underbelly of print comics for Mitch Clem, and this collection of strips serves not only as a nice addition to any punk's second-hand coffee table, but as a surprisingly strong introduction to new readers. This book collects strips that were o.

Nothing Nice to Say is the first foray into the dirty underbelly of print comics for Mitch Clem, and this collection of strips serves not only as a nice addition to any punk's second-hand coffee table, but as a surprisingly strong introduction to new readers.

This book collects strips that were originally published online from January 2005 to September 2006, and actually serves as volume two. There's no real description given in the book as to why volume two was printed before volume one, but when taking a peek at the archives on the NN2S website and seeing how much better Mr. Clem's art has gotten over the years, it makes a little bit of sense for him to Tarantino this whole project, giving himself ample time to tweak and redraw the early stuff for a proper print release. Let's hope he actually gets around to doing that someday.

The strip revolves around Fletcher and Blake, two jaded twenty-somethings living in the Minneapolis area. Fletcher (the bald one) is prone to making outlandish statements and behaving childishly, while Blake (the one with the eyebrows) usually serves as his foil. It's not exactly an atypical setup for a comic or any other means of media, but the quality writing and what Clem does with his characters are what sets NN2S apart from many other forms of entertainment utilizing this setup.

There are plenty of supporting cast members that seemingly cover every subculture existing in the punk community, and none of them (including Blake and Fletcher themselves) are safe from serving as the butt of a joke at one time or another -- emo kids, feminazis, crusties, hipsters, skinheads, and the list goes on. Most everything is covered here and more often than not, Clem is right on in both writing for and illustrating these archetypes. NN2S is ostensibly at its best when at its most meta -- Clem often breaks the fourth wall and involves a cartoon version of himself in both stand-alone strips and story arcs, usually with highly amusing results. More on that later.

In addition to the aforementioned supporting cast, several famous punk (or punx) figures are referenced or make appearances in the strip. Whether it's Blake's shrine to Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye telling Nike executives to piss off, or even Blake and Fletcher becoming born-again Christians after news breaks of Blink-182's indefinite hiatus, it's all wildly hilarious and again, spot-on when there's a point attempting to be made.

Most of the strips are one-off jokes, but there are a few story arcs contained herein. The much-ballyhooed and delayed Bike Gang arc is included in its entirety, as well as an arc involving Clem leaving the strip in charge of his one 'readers' -- a teenage punk with spiked hair and bad acne donning a shirt emblazoned with a huge anarchy sign -- and his driver who begins crafting poorly drawn comics loaded with grammatically poor internet speak, and a neat crossover arc involving Joe from fellow seminal webcomic Joe and Monkey joining Blake and Fletcher's band, the Negative Adjectives. The highlight of the included arcs is undoubtedly the story of Clem 'selling out' to a massive newspaper syndicate, and an older, bearded man invading the strip armed with a clipboard full of standards and practices attempting to wash out anything offensive from the Nothing Nice to Say universe.

Also included in this collection are some wonderfully annontated notes by Clem, who expectedly does a fine job of explaining the origins of his characters, as well as a multitude of guest strips he's penned for other webcomics, including Questionable Content, Theater Hopper and a full month's worth of Joe and Monkey strips that Clem cites was the main catalyst for his renewed interest in cartooning and subsequent resurrection of NN2S.

The only pseudo-detractors present with Nothing Nice to Say are its shorter-than-it-sounds 128-page length (it probably took longer to write this review than to read this thing cover to cover) and the book's smallish size, 7" by 7". Maybe I'm just used to those huge, rectangular Calvin and Hobbes collections, but I was expecting something bigger. And yeah, NN2S is a niche comic with a lot of the more specific jokes falling on deaf ears to readers unfamiliar with punk culture, but seeing the website we're on, I'm trusting most of you won't fall into that category. None of these faults, if one could even call them that, keep Nothing Nice to Say from being a must-own for any fan.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Loomis (August 13, 2010)

Calvin and Hobbes FTW.
Seriusly, I need to check this comic out.

bluexmaslights (October 27, 2008)

theres some funny shit on this website if anyones interested...comics and such

bluexmaslights (October 27, 2008)

holy shit i didnt know you could get timed out of punknews. fuck. well i pretty much tried to write a comment saying the comic was cool but want fast enough so i'll be damned if i'm writing that shit out again

Medley (October 27, 2008)

I don't like it.

PoliticsOfStarving (October 27, 2008)

"Someone scan that shit it and let's get it moving faster then D4 and Gaslight combined."

Maybe it's because I'm serioously fucke dup right now. But that is making me laugh like a crazy man.

This score is for your comment.

that_band_changed_my_life (October 27, 2008)

And scan the Snakepit stuff, too.

that_band_changed_my_life (October 27, 2008)

Why fuck up JUST our favorite punk bands by downloading their records without actually paying for them!


Someone scan that shit it and let's get it moving faster then D4 and Gaslight combined.

Score is for my request.

someone-yeah (October 27, 2008)

haha oh, i'm a dumbass I thought it was the meaty beaty big and bouncy cover, my bad

It certainly does make more sense to reference Minor Threat given the comic's subject

*eats some words*

givemenewwave (October 26, 2008)

The "B-Sides" section is the best part, I think. Just because it has more stuff of his I haven't read yet. It would have been pretty awsome if he included The Coffee Achievers in this book. Hopefully they (Mitch and Joe Dunn) put that out in print sometime (possibly in color!).

wonton (October 26, 2008)

picked this up.

ive read em on the desktop, but being able to read nn2s on the toilet rocks.

grafixx (October 26, 2008)

i think you guys are neglecting to realize that this was not a copy-paste effort. check the comics right at the beginning. quite a few of them are from wayyyyyyyyyyy back in the archives, but they're in the new style that mitch has adopted.

the crazy bastard has been working on this book for like a year and a half, redrawing, writing explanations for the comics in certain spots, coming up with concepts (it's 7x7 because it's supposed to be like a 7" Record).

PoliticsOfStarving (October 25, 2008)

I agree with Scott. So disappointing to have the Bike gang arc cut out about 1/3 of the way through.

Still, better than nothing.

misterspike (October 25, 2008)

by the way mitch doesn't do MSL any more...

Methinks you mean San Antonio Rock City.

istapledmyfoot (October 25, 2008)

greg: they start here and go for about 20 strips, it's rad.

maverick (October 25, 2008)

"The much-ballyhooed and delayed Bike Gang arc is included in its entirety"

Definitely untrue, and this was my biggest pet peeve about this book -- the lack of order or continuity. How can you include the set-up to probably the longest art in NN2S history but then not finish it? Really bizarre choice.

The actual cover is really nice, though, with that high-gloss print over the image. Makes for a cool coffee table book (which is what it'll be for me until I get something neater).


gotsmuch (October 25, 2008)

it's silly to say it's not worth buying the nn2s book because they're all already online. that's like saying you're not gonna buy a calvin and hobbes book because you kept all your old newspapers. actually, more like saying you're not gonna buy records any more because you can just download music or listen on myspace. it's nice to have something real besides a shirt or a button. plus he doesn't charge for his website, if you've read all his comics why not support the guy with a few bucks?

i picked this up for 8 bucks at heavyink.com. worth it.

by the way mitch doesn't do MSL any more...

Outsyder (October 25, 2008)

Who reference? Dude, it's a homage to Minor Threat's Salad Days EP.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1b/SaladDays.jp g

someone-yeah (October 25, 2008)

That's a pretty cool Who reference on the cover :)

IanIsSuperRad (October 25, 2008)

I bought the book and my only problem with it is it doesn't contain my favorite arc. The "A Hero Is Born" arc where Danzig summons Satan to kill the present day Misfits. So awesome.

Scandelicious (October 25, 2008)

definately a nice gift to people who don't like spending too much time infront of their computer screen
cuz everyone deserves to read NN2S.. just not everyone is on their computers as much as everyone else...

davesanta01 (October 25, 2008)

In reference to the book's size I liked the fact it was 7" by 7". It made it seem like I was buying a record instead of a book, which I felt worked considering the subject matter. The book itself is really good, but is a bit short.

Lmnndtlgrph (October 25, 2008)

"None of these faults, if one could even call them that, keep Nothing Nice to Say from being a must-own for any fan."

but the fact that i've already read all of these comics on the internet does.

greg0rb (October 25, 2008)

Can someone direct me to these Joe and the Monkeys that revived NN2S? Was looking through the archives and couldn't find more than a few random Clem guest strips.

suburbanxcore (October 25, 2008)

Even though I think I've read most of these, I still wanna pick this up.

I really hope Mitch keeps up with NN2S, since My Stupid Life is horrible.

Slazey (October 25, 2008)

Good review.

I was a little disappointed with the collection- something more definitive would have been nice. As it is, things feel a little chopped up- as far as I can tell the Bike Gang arc isn't here in full, and the translation to the printed form frequently seems little more than a copy-and-paste job.

NN2S is still probably the only comic to get me into a load of good music, though. That alone covers up the book's minor aesthetic flaws.

skolarx (October 25, 2008)

i was a bit bummed that the book ends in the middle of his 10 best albums of 06 arc. this book is a great addition to any collection and it helps to bring people like my roommate who refuses to read internet comics into the fold

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