Forlorn Funnies #5 (preview)
This isn’t a real review, as this isn’t a real comic, just a preview edition for the 80 page, $10.95 monster that should already be out. Can’t find it anywhere online though (not that that’s saying much), but I just wanted to tell you that this looks incredible. He’s already had a few moments in the comics world where he’s convinced me that he the “next big thing”, but this solidifies all that. There were only 8 pages in here, and a full review will follow when I get the actual book, but buy this. Seriously. If I read anything in here to convince me otherwise I’ll let you know, but I laughed at 3/4 of this, and that’s saying something. Contact info is all over, but good luck finding the actual issue online. Oh, and sorry about the sample quality, but it’s actually supposed to look like shit.
OK, here’s the actual review, as I finally got around to buying this. It’s a flip book, for starters, with one half being chock full of depressing, sad stories, and the other half has constant wackiness, also tinged with a bit of a sense of the futility of it all. The bios at the back of the book are even different for each section, which is just another example of how much attention to detail Paul puts into absolutely everything. In the funny part (and this is an overly simplistic way to look at both halves, but it works, more or less), you have The Snob and the Blob, Whatever Dude, a story about as your loud, obnoxious boyfriend, a cute little thing running for no reason at all, and Vanderbilt Millions, a man who loves his horse but has some trouble with his wife. The depressing part has a crazy man with a gun (it’s a lot more complicated than that, but why ruin it for you?), a brutal killing on another planet, a doomed robot, and an orange. There are all kinds of things that impress me about Paul, but the thing that impressed me the most is his ability to master all kinds of different styles of drawing. Parts of this book look radically different, and the fact that it’s in color, while making the book expensive ($10.95), also make it gorgeous, and you should know enough about the guy by now, one way or another, to be able to make an informed decision about whether or not you think he’s worth it. He’s firmly entrenched in my list of favorites by now, that’s for sure. Contact info is around here somewhere…
Forlorn Funnies #4
As I’m tired of making excuses for my scanner, I’ll just say that, obviously, the cover isn’t supposed to be that blurry. This wraps up the story that’s been going on since #2 (or it at least wraps up this arc of the story). If I thought it couldn’t get much more depressing, well, I was way off. No, I’m not going to tell you what I’m talking about. Thomas goes to rescue his father from the mental institution. First we get to see how well it’s all going to go through his eyes, then we get to see what actually happens. One of the strengths of this story is that it’s told through the eyes of a seven year old boy. Yes, there are moments where you really want to know exactly what’s happening, but that just wouldn’t be possible and it’s good to stick to that. Like I said, the only real complaint I had was that it was terribly depressing, but the afterward says pretty clearly that the next issue is going to be funny (or at least half of it is), so don’t worry about it. If I thought the second part of this story wasn’t that great, well, this wraps it all up beautifully. He’s one of the most important people working in comics today, and he’s doing some of the best work. He gets the benefit of the doubt from me during long stories from now on. I can’t believe I don’t already have this website up here, as it features the work of Paul, Anders Nilsen, John Hankiewicz and Jeffrey Brown, four of the best people doing comics today. New stuff up weekly, so you can read great comics for free! Hard to complain about that…
Forlorn Funnies #2
Don’t you hate those complicated books where you have to read it again when it’s all over with just so it makes sense? Yeah, me neither. One thing about Paul is that he’s going to go at his own incredible pace and just trust you to keep up. This is the first part of a longer story about a boy whose father is slowing going insane. Wait, that might be a secret. Pretend you didn’t read that. Anyway, it’s incredible, but it took until the end of the book for me to come to that conclusion. It seemed kind of all over the place as I was reading it and it only really started to come together at the end. Now I can’t wait to see what happens next. That’s one of the benefits of my erratic reading schedule: I don’t usually read things right when they come out, so there’s less time to wait until the next part of the story. There’s wisdom in that, trust me. All the contact info is still above and he still has a great website that people everywhere should look at. Oh yeah, and could somebody have pity on me and tell me how I can get a scanner that isn’t quite this crappy for a tiny amount of money?
Sorry, but apparently all color scans just suck. That aside, it’s a new series for the wonderful (and remarkably prolific, considering how detailed all of his comics are) Paul Hornschemeier! He’s probably sick to death of being compared to Chris Ware by now, but that’s the best I can give you for a quick comparison. Past that, he’s pretty much unique. This book is about a bunch of different people and televisions characters and some of their goings-on, I guess. Some of them are real and some of them aren’t, but their stories all flow together pretty seamlessly, even if the segues seemed almost nonexistent at times. I guess I’m just spoiled on segues from watching Mr. Show over and over… Anyway, I think this proves once again that he knows what he’s doing and that he’s an exciting voice to watch. My only advice to him would be to make sure that people can read some of those really tiny panels, unless that’s the effect he’s going for. Past that, his art is flawless, his writing is witty and inventive, and I’m always fascinated to see where he’s going next. Check it out before he’s all rich and famous and decides, like the rest of the famous comics creators, that there’s no reason to put out new books on a regular basis.
This issue looks like the middle of a three part story, and in this case that means that’s in between the huge events. Or maybe that’s a simplistic way to look at it, I don’t know. Anyway, the father (David) copes with his deteriorating mental state and the son (Thomas) deals with his new life with his aunt and uncle. Overall it didn’t blow me away as much as some of his other issues have, but it’s like writing a review on a few chapters of a novel. I’ll know a lot more when I know how it ends. It looks beautiful, of course, and he does such a great job with that that it’s recommended because of that, if nothing else. I wouldn’t pick it up if you’re looking to try out his work though. Wait until the collected edition of this story comes out, then you might have an amazing thing to read…