Review: A Dollar Late and a Day Short


Mortality is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad thing to have to confront. Perhaps a friend develops cancer and has to go through multiple debilitating treatments, trading a few body parts so the whole can survive. Perhaps someone from school gets into a terrible accident, and the next time you see him, his reconstructed face is resting on a pillow in a pine box. Perhaps you find yourself trying to help your parents or grandparents as they slowly lose their old vigor. Or perhaps your barber or hairstylist innocently asks if you’ve been painting because that big blotch of gray certainly wasn’t in your hair last time. Whether the trigger is profound or vain, at some point most people come to realize that their lives have an inconvenient tendency to get cut short.

Some people spend their time bemoaning this fate. Others take solace in religion or other spiritual activities. And yet others do their best to get a good laugh out of things, because if they didn’t, they would probably die. Jin Wicked, cartoonist behind A Dollar Late and a Day Short, is one of these. In the FAQ page of her previous comic (Crap I Drew on my Lunch Break), Jin notes that her comics are a way to vent frustrations that would otherwise lead to unhealthy physical reactions (perhaps even lethal ones) and face mortality on her own terms.

So perhaps this is why I feel more inclined to give her a pass on being political. And a little raunchy. (Which is to say, not always work-safe). And kinda salty. Or even more raunchy. I mean, when you see Jin’s poor-little-urchin eyes melting into a woebegone expression or her desperate nostalgia, you just sort of want to hug her and make everything better. And occasionally someone does.

I am enamored of Jin’s drawing style. She’s deliberately simplified her artwork since the days of CIDomLB, giving her a comic she can save effort on and freeing up time for her other work. The result is a comic of thick lines and soft curves that somehow makes even death scenes strangely adorable. And of course, the contrast between wide-eyed Jin and her more down-to-earth boyfriend makes for a nice visual pun.

So on the one hand, DL&DS is pessimistic and frightening, and it hasn’t updated in close to a year. And on the other hand, it’s just so darn cute.

Comic Rating: Four kinds of gifts I know to be more careful about giving.

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  1. #1 by fluffy on 4 January 2010 - 1:24 PM

    She actually has updated more recently than the most recent comic date would imply – for some reason she backdates the comic publication dates to the days they actually happened, or when she wrote them, or something. I’m not entirely sure what her pattern (or rationale) is.

    But, for example, the sequence of Christmas movie parodies actually went up the following March.

    • #2 by fluffy on 4 January 2010 - 1:26 PM

      Oh, and according to Google Reader, the most recent strip “from February” actually went up on November 13.

      Basically, your best bet for reading any of Jin Wicked’s output is via an RSS reader, since her updates are kind of random and sporadic and easy to miss.

      • #3 by Luprand on 4 January 2010 - 1:34 PM

        Aha … this explains a few things. And actually, Phil Likes Tacos also tends to backdate any late comics, now that I think on it. One of these days, I’ll figure out how to wrangle them thar newfangled RSS thingamabobs, that I will.

        I feel a sudden urge to sit out on the front porch and shout at small children running across my lawn, but with the way it’s snowing in Ohio, I’d just freeze to death.

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