Various: Riverwurst Anthologies
Man, I was expecting so much more from this one. I read #4 before #3, in case you were wondering, and this was an issue that was all about Halloween. I was really expecting great things from this one, and instead I got a mish-mash. Certain stories are pretty funny, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a lot more poetry in this one, and at least one of the poems looks like somebody had those poetry magnets and just threw it onto a page. Not that I’m an educated critic of poems or anything, but blech. A lot of the same people are in here that were in #4, but I’m much too lazy to type them all again, so scroll down there if you’re curious. All in all I’d say you should get #4, as that was a solid, thoroughly entertaining anthology, while this one was your typical anthology: a few good stories, a great one or two, but mostly it’s not worth the time or effort. Oh, stories in here include zombie love, old Denis Kitchen stuff, eggs from hell, a bad dream, demon night, aliens making fun of Earth, piercing humor, a punk rock zombie, and the true story of Satan. $3, contact info is down one title, and get #4 instead!
It’s always great to see a good random anthology. Seems like these are a dime a dozen, but real quality books are always hard to come by. Here are some familiar names from this website, at least: Nick Jeffrey, Larned Justin, Jen Sorenson, and Jenny Gonzalez. All kinds of good strips in here from people that I’d never heard of too, and a former sex worker who had an essay about how great boobs are, Candye Kane. What’s the book about? Well, you can read the cover for a few themes (it’s magazine sized, I just shrunk it down), but it also has Pickle Dude by Ben Liesch, a story about the ironies of eating meat from Jeremy Kirk, tattoo revenge by Bill Krupinski, some old strips from Denis Kitchen (you know, the guy who ran Kitchen Sink Press), a couple of incredibly funny strips from Dug Belan, and a disturbing story about a young girl who wants to be a robot from Heather Shinn… and that’s only the the first half of the book. Great stuff all around, probably the best anthology I’ve seen so far this year… but it’s early yet. Here’s an e-mail address, #3 is available too, and this is a great way to spend $4 if you like comics.
OK, there are two possible ways for me to review this book. One is to treat it as just another anthology, and on that front it’s not bad at all. Fairly typical, actually. A few great good stories, a couple of crappers, and a whole bunch somewhere in the middle. The other way I could review this, however, would be to see it as a piece of political protest, an informed piece of dissent, and on that front it pretty much sucks. Is there a single good political comic being done out there? I don’t mean the newspaper stuff, I mean a regular, independently published small press comic. There’s nothing new in here about George W. Bush, and most of criticisms are simple, easy jabs about him choking on a pretzel or being a small man with a huge ego. That’s great, but I’ve seen it done a hundred times, and most of the book has nothing to do with GW. So why the cover? Were they just trying to cash in on the flood of anti-GW books out there? If so, kudos to them, but you should at least make the entire book about the guy and his administration, and do some research! I know it might be a bit boring, but there’s plenty to nail the guy on that doesn’t involve just calling him names. Most of the usual suspects are here from the last two issues, which automatically means that a lot of talent was involved, and I have to repeat that this is far from a bad anthology. It’s just that one look at that cover gives you an entirely different impression of what you’re going to get on the inside, and it’s hard to consider that anything other than a disappointment. Contact info is up there, this is $3, check out #4 if you want to see what this crew is capable of when at their best, and I’m perfectly willing to accept the hypothesis that I didn’t like this book all that much because the artists didn’t tear GW apart nearly as much as I would have liked to have seen, especially after the election…