Midnight Fiction 2008 Desk Calendar Now Available! $6
The contributors: Sean Azzopardi, Scott Ball, Hunt Emerson, Brad W. Foster, Allen Freeman, Richard Krauss, DC McNamara, John Porcellino, Bill Shut, Jim Siergey, Dan W. Taylor, Bob Vojtko, and Steve Willis. In case you’re wondering how this thing work, it’s beautiful in its simplicity. These are individual pages inside of a CD case, so all you have to do is flip the CD lid over backwards and you have an easy stand for your desk calendar. So instead of Dilbert or some other crap in your office cubicle, you can show the world how cool you really are with a calendar full of small press art. It starts with November of this year (2007), so you get a couple of bonus months with your calendar.
Slam Bang #1 Volume 3 Now Available! $9.95
Somehow this massive book has been available in the store here for almost a year and I’ve somehow missed talking about it. I blame the elections and the loss of my appendix last year; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Want some details? As the cover says, there are over 50 contributors, this massive thing is over 200 pages, the cover art is gorgeous (even though the girl on the cover doesn’t actually appear in any of the stories) and keeping something this packed to under $10 is an impressive achievement. As for contributors, there are way too many to list them all, so I’ll just stick with the ones who have pages up here at the old Sloth for reference: Dan Taylor, Brad Foster, Tim Corrigan, John Lustig, Stan Yan, Dean LeCrone, Matt Levin, and Jim Siergey. That leaves all sorts of new cartoonists for you to discover in here, doesn’t it? As a whole, well, it’s an anthology, so some parts are stronger than others, but there’s more than enough in here to make it worth your while. Highlights include Ethan Wenberg and Stan Yan’s tale of the poo-flinging reporter (which makes this the most political book I’ve seen all year, sadly enough), the brief Kevin Hanna puppet theater story explaining to kids how the fast food is made, Ron LeBrasseur’s vampire love story, Dean LeCrone’s tale of an old lady trapped in a hot car by her dog, Tyler Sticka’s fly fight over some poo, Dan Taylor’s story about a successful weight loss clinic, Dan Lauer’s Iron Chef Funnies, Anton Bogaty’s tale of a space crew trying to defeat an unstoppable alien, and John Lustig’s always amusing Last Kiss comics, which are scattered throughout. The heart of the book though (figuratively and literally) is the Tim Corrigan Mighty Guy piece about the slave driver that is Allen Freeman and the methods he uses to keep all his cartoonists happy. Mighty Guy has been around for decades (although if I remember correctly it was always self-published) and I’ve always thought it was vastly underrated. What fan of cartoons ever wouldn’t appreciate Mighty Guy being shoved into a tin can (when trying to take over “Marvelous” comics) by the “Bulk”? All told, this is a pretty solid bunch of comics. A few stinkers, naturally, but more than enough good stuff in here to make up for it. $9.95
Slam Bang #3 Volume 2 Now Available! $4
It’s time to go back to another forgotten issue in my constantly growing online store, and three cheers for it being another good one. There’s only one mildly weak piece in this anthology, and on further review I might have even misread that one. This starts off with a story from Allen’s childhood (drawn by Christine Wald), where he tries to keep up with a friend on a much better bike through a raised dirt trail with disastrous results. Next is Moose of Terror by Mark Monlux, in which two moose (meese?) wander into a small town, followed by a small gang of wild turkeys. Eric Weems then has what is essentially an ad for the comic in which a variety of celebrity spokespeople are chosen and then discarded, and I confess to being mildly baffled by the punchline. Anton Bogaty is up next with The Short Biography of an Unknown Artist, the “weak” piece I mentioned, but looking again at that title I think this story works well as a one-pager that ends abruptly. Revenge of the Booth Babe by John Lustig (who should be on this page much more than he is, as I always get a kick out of his Last Kiss series) has an abused model of comic conventions turning the tables on the middle-aged fat guys who always make her dress up in degrading outfits. Finally there’s one of the better stories of pure mayhem that I’ve ever seen, Power Struggle by Dean LeCrone. There’s a young boy, you see, who wants a cookie. His father does not want him to spoil his dinner and so refuses said cookie. What follows is ten pages of constantly escalating violence including power tools, crapping on the carpet, stuffed animals and flesh-eating ladybugs, and that only covers the first few pages. Seriously, if the rest of the comic sucked I’d be recommending it for this story alone, and the rest of the comic is already pretty good. If you’re a fan of mayhem, this is required reading. If you prefer the quiet stories, there are plenty of those on this website too, you big baby. $4
Slam Bang Volume 2 #6
Kudos to Christina Wald for that cover, there’s plenty to unpack before you even open the book.Â In case you can’t read the fine print (which is a shame, as there are jokes all over the cover) this is the advertising issue, basically an excuse for the people involved to take the “random fake ads” gag and have some real fun with it.Â Edward Pun (which can’t possibly be his real name) shows a bad day that ends in a clever ad for a massage chair, Brad Foster has a “rehabilitated” quack doctor, Ryan Estrada shows off the civic conscience of the actual Big Boy, Roger Langridge has the inspired idea of selling “mother in a jar” (just in case you’re too independent), Dean LeCrone & Allen Freeman have a time machine for sale, Tyler Sticka plays with celebrities in his bit (and hopes to get sued to “land a major distribution deal”), John Lustig again steals the show with his bit about the biological clock and where to place the blame after a bad break-up, and Jim Siergey has some games for children to help them find their place in life (as automatons).Â That’s leaving out plenty of stuff, as this thing is packed with ads that are only 1/2 or 1/3 of a page long by all sorts of folks.Â Big laughs, big issue, all kinds of stuff to pick through, what more do you want?Â $4
Slam Bang #1 Volume 2
Note to comics people who parody those old ads in the back of comics: it’s hopeless. Chris Ware did it however many years ago in Acme Novelty Library, and he did it brilliantly. Anything after that is just a waste of time. In my opinion anyway, and I’m just some schmuck with a website. A couple of the parodies were funny, most of them just sort of meh, but I still think that particular form of parody has been done about as well as it ever could be. Oh yeah, and there was a comic somewhere here too, wasn’t there? The first story, by Anton Bogaty, is about a monster self-help group that helps them deal with life after they’re no longer scary. Pretty funny, and three cheers for all the unmentioned cameos. Next up is a little illustrated poem/song called Darby O’Spudnuts by Mark Martin, a so-so shortie with a great title. Then you have a couple of shorties by Christina Wald called Slacker A.C., about a teenager who’s supposed to be the antichrist but who is too consumed by video games and girls to care about this true calling. My favorite of the bunch, this one could be seriously funny as a regular mini… or it could fizzle out and get old quick. Hard to say, but I think it’s worth a shot. Kevin Hanna has a couple of newspaper sized strips with some really stupid punchlines. Maybe he has better stuff on his website, but I didn’t see anything here to impress me. Next is a story by Sygnin called Spanky the Ouija Monkey, about a frantically violent monkey who desperately wants to be spanked. Finally you have a short sample of Last Kiss by John Lustig, where he takes old romance comics and inserts his old dialogue. This one left me mostly indifferent, but I have more from the guy that I’ll be getting to soon, as it’s a great idea and I want to see more before I pass judgment. Oh, and this is the first issue in 13 years, which probably isn’t the best sign in the world. Here’s an e-mail address, this one is $3!