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Saturday, February 8, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
www.aaronlange.com published by The Comix Company Here's a new title from the super talented and funny Aaron Lange (see my review of his last comic, Romp, here). But wait a minute. His comix go deeper than simply being 'funny' - the heart and soul of it is some of the heaviest black humour you'll find. And that's good! ... So first up, before the real grim funniness arrives, there's 'Damien Hirst and Me'. The only thing in here that's not a comic, only text. Each point about Hirst is matched with one about Lange. Like this one: Damien Hirst found a patron in Charles Saatchi, who offered to fund whatever work Hirst wanted to create. I sometimes borrow money from my dad. Next is 'At the bar with... Vietnam Tom'. Vietnam vet 'humour' is pretty old, let's face it, but Aaron has a unique spin on it, since Tom (name changed) was a real Vietnam veteran who Aaron actually knew and hung out with. The strip is a collection of things Tom said. There's three pages, and on the last page Aaron drops a bombshell that will really hit you in the guts. Great, strong stuff. Another very funny strip is about William S. Burroughs 'wanna-be's'. The young bohemian proclaims, "When I grow up I wanna be like William S. Burroughs!" A bystander asks, "Are you sure? Do you really want to..." and each subsequent panel illustrates 'highlights' in Burroughs's life, like: "Get hooked on heroin? ... Kill your wife? ... Have a crush on THIS guy?" [Allen Ginsberg]. Then a one-pager, 'Zen Cop'. But the main feature is next. The 14-page 'Dog and Kitty', a brutal autobiographical tale of drug days, and hooking up with the couple of the title - a dealer and his missus, both of whom were into bestiality. This is fucking heavy shit. You're gonna laugh, but it's not an easy laugh because you keep reminding yourself these are real people, and this stuff really happened. Do I have to note that this one is 'recommended'? Get it, big boy.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
thecomixcompany.ecrater.com The feature of this one is a 26-page strip, 'Wow, You Draw Comics?' It begins normal enough. A guy is in a coffee shop drawing comics when a girl walks up to him and starts chatting. She really likes comics! The guy can't believe it. I mean, this never happens in real life. Before you know it, the girl invites him back to her place where her flatmates also draw comics. At this point I was sure this was gonna end up a really bad idea, and I wasn't wrong. Back at the girl's place, two guys appear and they soon drug their visitor, then rape and torment him in various other ways. One of the most twisted aspects of this scenario, however, is that while this is happening, the two guys come across like professional comics editors. It's very strange and sinister, and even funny (in a pitch black sense). There are a few short strips at the end of the book. One of them has a robot being released from robot prison. [JB has got this really great and unique thing going on with robots - see my review of his recent Gladhand Comix #1.] Another one-pager, 'Fuck Me!', has JB (?) walking down a street, torturing himself over autobiographical comix. The final 3-page strip, 'He Got No Chopz', presents the nightmarish (for a comics artist at least) scenario of JB at his drawing table being verbally abused and ridiculed by two of his own characters, one of whom is Dev-12 from the previously mentioned Gladhand Comix. Yikes! Wow, JB seems to be quite prolific right now (no doubt thanks in part to Dexter Cockburn and his The Comix Company). Good for us!
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
4.25" x 5.5", 40 pgs., $4
Neil Fitzpatrick gets personal in this aptly titled comic. Some terrible things happened in Neil's life (a bad break-up being one apparently), so Neil used his comic book making skills as an outlet to deal with it. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed some of Neil's other books, I was excited to explore this one. It did not disappoint. However, here is my dilemma: Neil went through a rough time, and then I got to enjoy reading a comic about it. Sorry, Neil. The truth is, this is stuff most anyone can relate to, which is partly what makes it so good. We go through rough times, we beat ourselves down while simultaneously trying to build ourselves back up, and ultimately we get through it. In the meantime, some of the best art gets made as (for whatever reason) our creative juices flow when life is sucking the most. Hopefully Neil can take heart from that.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
digest, perfect bound, 42 pages
$5 digital copy/$7 print copy
Joseph Kyle is a music journalist who believes that "a record has no expiration date," and so, frustrated with the lack of coverage older, lesser known bands receive in today's music magazines (even when classic albums are reissued), he decided to do something about it. And that's how The Recoup was born. It's "a journal dedicated to music - superb, excellent, forgotten-about music." In the debut issue you will find interviews with the drummer of Semisonic, a member of Texas is the Reason, Peter Byrne/Naked Eyes, and Brother. Following the interviews, there are 8 pages of reviews of reissued/classic albums. The issue ends with Joseph discussing his Yoko Ono obsession with a friend of his who shares his obsession. It's a great looking little magazine, and, in my opinion, a very worthy cause.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
thecomixcompany.ecrater.com JB seems to have found Bender's evil brother [Dev-12] and presented a bunch of his hi-jinks within these pages. Dev-12 is a robot who is always broke, having spent his dough on such things as Bollywood scripts. He also has sex with human women. He has dreams in which he is human, attends comix & zine fairs, and loses entire nights getting wasted and abusing others on the internet. Among these adventures of Dev-12 are other strips, some wordless and surreal (like the one with the guy pursued and tormented by owls with breasts) and others autobiographical, like the one in which he gets depressed about the quality of his comix so visits a bohemian record collecter to buy some of his records, gets high with the dude while listening to some of those records when a tsunami hits the house, killing the record collector. ... Wait a minute, is this really autobiographical? JB also reveals what happened when Picasso met a young female fan; and flips the jock/nerd dynamic in 'Revenge of the Turds'. The jock here yearns for a nerdy girl, bemoaning the fact that "Nerds have it made!" yet we find out that the nerdy girl is horribly mistreated by her nerdy boyfriend. JB's got this really great ability to take things we think we know and transform them in genuinely surprising ways. Plus he can be very funny! Good stuff.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Burning Building Comix by Jeff Zwirek
6.25" x 12.25" (unfolds to 6.25" x 24.5"), hardcover, 40 pgs., 19.95
Probably the most creatively designed and manufactured comic book I have ever seen. The main book unfolds to reveal two smaller books. Each of the smaller books includes 5 floors of a 10 floor apartment building. Each floor is a separate story, and so each floor is meant to be read individually from bottom to top. However, there is an underlying theme to each story/floor. The building has caught on fire! As you read through each floor, you'll see the reactions of the characters to the fire as they discover it, attempt to put it out, and then ultimately exit the building. This is a silent comic, so all of the "dialog" is shown using various pictures and symbols. This is such a fun read and well worth getting your hands on.
Here is a link for it at Top Shelf Productions.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
digest, 16 pages (cardstock cover), $?
A one-shot zine by DJ Frederick Moe. DJ Fred is an only child, despite the longing he had for siblings in his youth. Since he didn't have brothers of his own, he thought of some of his close friends as brothers. This zine profiles a few of DJ Fred's "temporary brothers." "Temporary" because these friendships did not endure...at least not to the same degree as when he "adopted" them. I don't want to give any spoilers. I think you should read this zine for yourself in order to discover the nature of the friendships that DJ Fred had growing up and the adventures he and his "brothers" had. The stories are worth a few minutes of your time. And they are well-written...of course they are - it's DJ Fred. My only complaint: it's far too short. Perhaps there is more to come? DJ Fred alludes to that at one point, so let's hope.
36 West Main Street
Warner NH 03278
Sunday, November 10, 2013
A Survival Guide for Supply Teachers (1st Edition)
8 1/2" x 11", 22 pages, $3 (cash money preferred, trades accepted)
To clarify, supply teacher = substitute teacher. I wasn't sure what a supply teacher was at first, so I have to assume that there are others out there who are/were equally ignorant. And now on with the review...
Gary's zine is - exactly as the title suggests - advice for new (and experienced) supply teachers. Gary covers it all, from what to do in order to get supply teaching jobs, what to expect once you've received jobs, what to do when trouble arises while on the job (and Gary assures us that it will from time to time), what to do at the end of a job, and how to get more jobs in the future. This zine is quite comprehensive despite its length, and considering that I have never supply taught and do not plan to, I was surprised by how interested I was in the subject matter. Perhaps it is because my dad has been an elementary school teacher for more than 30 years now. Or maybe it is because Gary has a very approachable and engaging writing style. Probably both. Seriously, this is worth checking out. The only suggestion I would make as far as improvements go would be to add more personal anecdotes, tell more stories. Five plus years of supply teaching should provide some pretty entertaining/interesting stories. Perhaps we can expect to see that in a future edition...if there is one. So, here's my plan: everyone within reading distance of this review gets their hands on a copy of this zine so that Gary feels compelled to put out a second edition. Should work.
3-42 Spring Street
Saint John, NB
16 pages, 6" x 4", The Usual, Neale Blanden, PO Box 1173, Huntingdale VIC 3166, AUSTRALIA + beautifulartform.blogspot.com + nlblndn [at] gmail [dot] com Wordless comics? I hate 'em! Well, mostly. There's always an exception, and Flea here is one of those. This absolutely charming wordless* comic begins with a flea on a lounge room floor. A dog walks into the room. The flea is hungry. The flea sees the dog. No need to say any more. Get it. [* Note: The final page does contain some words.]
Sunday, November 3, 2013
I Am My Own Stereotype: The My Small Diary Collection
5.5" x 8.5", 112 pages, perfect bound, $8 + $2 shipping ($6 shipping outside of U.S.A)
Delaine has been writing diary comics for at least 20 years. She publishes her comics in her zines (My Small Diary and Not My Small Diary) as well as various other zines. This book compiles three out of print My Small Diary books and includes 40 additional pages. Each page in this book is a single comic strip, and (for the most part) the content is (as the title suggests) basically a diary entry in comic form - highlights from Delaine's life. The artwork is simple, the writing is concise, and the book leaves the impression that Delaine is a spirited and adventurous person who loves life. Diary comics run the risk of coming across as overly narcissistic and self-indulgent, but Delaine's book largely avoids falling into this trap. Instead Delaine comes across as a sincere and generous person, happily sharing the (oftentimes mundane) happenings of her (occasionally charmed) life. It's all in good fun, exactly the way entertainment for entertainment's sake should be.