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Holland, Dustin – Sremmah Fo Dog


Sremmah Fo Dog

There’s this thing I do at the start of reviews of comics I didn’t particularly enjoy, and it’s to find the silver lining to it and compliment what I can. What’s that? That’s a terrible trait for a reviewer to have? Yeah, well, that might explain why this is still a hobby 19 years after my first review. Anyway! This comic has a number of visually inventive touches, with some occasional subtle mixes of art and pictures of real objects. And… yeah, that’s about it. The best thing I can say for this comic is that I never got into it as a story, and it’s entirely possible that it’s on me. But the writing for this was damned near impenetrable, and I don’t think that’s entirely my fault. Do you remember those poetry magnets that people used to put on their refrigerators? They were just a series of unconnected words and phrases that you were supposed to put together to make your own poems. This book feels like nothing less than a complete volume of those poems. Go ahead, check out the sample page and tell me I’m wrong. As for the story, I legit have no idea. As you can tell from the title, this is about the god of hammers, and you can tell that because the title is “god of hammers” backwards. I just read a whole book about the dude and I couldn’t tell you what he does. There was plenty of violence, a character that also talked backwards (and that’s a terribly awkward way to read dialogue, especially when they’re talking in full sentences), and the second half of the book was almost entirely double page spreads of a place called Motorcycle City. Also he has more than a few spelling errors in here, which is death for a book where the dialogue takes a lot of work to understand to begin with. Look, this is the first comic I’ve seen from Dustin, so I don’t want this to seem like a thorough trashing. I did enjoy some of the imagery and that alone tells me that he definitely has potential. How about this: if you like your comics abstract, give this a shot. Otherwise give him another comic or two, then check back in to see where he’s at. That’s my plan!

P.S. (Yes, I know reviews don’t have postscripts. Bear with me.) Since artists often send me their own comics to review, chances are the artist also reads the review when it goes up. So I’d like to remind Dustin or anybody else just starting out: don’t let any reviewer make you feel like you’re not doing good work, or that it’s not worth the effort. If you’re making great art, the rest of the world will come around. If you’re making art and it feels like only you thoroughly enjoy it, there’s immense value in that too. Still, find a friend that’s excellent at spelling and grammar, and pass your book around to a few friends before putting it out into the world and see how they felt about it. Have them ask questions about the plot and story structure. If you can answer their questions and satisfy them, you’re on the right track. If not, take another pass, see if clarification really is needed. Um, also, eat your vegetables. Bye!