Hey look, anthology reviews on back to back days! Readers in the future, never mind about that comment, but for today I can compare the two, and I’m happy to say that this one got every single little thing right that made me cranky about the last one. Clear and legible table of contents, the pages are numbered, and most of the strips had the name of the artist on the bottom of the page. Yep, my only complaint here is that they managed to put together an anthology of U.K. cartoonists and left Rob Jackson out of it, but maybe he lives somewhere else and I’m just confused. OK fine, so they got the basics right. What about the quality? Pretty much top-notch all around, which is always at least slightly rare for an anthology with this many people in it. Highlights include a chopsticks dilemma by Luke Pearson, putting all of the eggs in one basket by Lizz Lunney, the wisdom of using egg whites instead of cream by Philippa Rice, the fantastically destructive Skull Force by Jack Teagle, one seriously destructive romance by Luke Pearson, a great example of a comic about nothing that ends up being pretty damned great by James Downing, a horror show called Dream Leader by Joe List, an excellent way to turn the tables on door to door salesmen by Joe Decie, deciding who you would like to survive the apocalypse along with you by Stephen Collins, video game monster advice by Dan Berry, judging someone from their shoes by Lizz Lunney, “I Was Attacked by some Naked Children” by Isaac Lenkiewicz, being stuck as a conscious fossil by Kristyna Baczynski, terrible story ideas that Gareth Brookes has been given over the years, and the Death Train by Lizz Lunney. Huh, I seemed to like Lizz Lunney’s work quite a bit, but there’s a pile of great stuff in here. Check it out, support both Hic & Hoc and the idea of getting more international anthologies going over here in the U.S. $12
Anybody out there curious what the British comic scene is like these days? No? Then shame on you, there’s nothing for you to see here. For the sane members of the viewing audience, read on. There are eight artists in this, four of which are on this site somewhere: Gary Northfield, Nick Abadzis, Tom Gauld and Dave Shelton. The concept of this anthology is simple: each creator gets to work with one sentence, and one sentence only, of their choosing. Then they have six pages to tell that story, only using the words in that sentence, if any. Here are the sentences: I want your body and soul; Walk towards the light; What could possibly go wrong?; You’ve gone up in my book now your grandad had a hook; Like a bird-call, but harsh and distorted, like sounds in a cave; Be a happy, healthy dog; Heavens to Betsy, Miss Wickerstaff, have you no shame?; and If I stumbled from your party at three in the morning, would everything turn out fine? There’s not a single bad story in here. My favorite of the bunch changed almost every time I read a new one, which makes this nothing short of a phenomenal success in my book. The price is a bit steep at $12.50 but this is a rare chance to see creators from “across the pond”, as they say, all in one place and getting the chance to really shine. Here’s the e-mail address of the publisher and I really think this book should get some attention…
Cecil the Nice Wasp
Why do so many of Gary’s books look rushed? Maybe he draws them on planes on the way to conventions or something. Either way, the rushed, sloppy art does help add to the frantic pace of a book like Cecil. This is a short book about Cecil, a wasp who just wants to be loved! But he’s a bully and doesn’t see how this would put people off, so he decides to take his revenge! It’s much too short for me to tell you anything past that. Look, sloppy art or not, I liked this one. I love the sheer randomness of his comics. I’d guess this one is $2-3, it’s gorgeous anyway and can’t imagine it’d be less. Send the man an e-mail (this one is different from the one posted above and this comic is more recent, so I’d say this is where to go) or check out a version of this comic online.
Well, this book is fairly stupid. I was warned ahead of time, and I think Gary has improved tremendously since this book came out (it’s early work, and that’s usually not the greatest), but this is easily skipped. The first part is a superhero parody about Mr. Great and his quest to get his own action figure randomly from inside of a cereal box. Hilarity (in theory) ensues. Then there’s a bizarre, and more than a little bit twisted, story about two drunks running over a guy and then playing video games. Maybe I gave too much away there, but it doesn’t take away from any of the dialogue of the piece, which is the highlight. Some funny stuff in here, I have to say. The last piece is an oddly sad tale about an abused drunk and the paranoid thoughts in his head that eventually bubble to the surface. Actually, this isn’t that bad, but it’s not that great either. Geez, what a crappy pun. Contact info is the same as above, this is either 2 or 3 bucks, although there probably aren’t too many copies left…
Ah, the random comics that I get. This one is from London and it’s great. Cute, smart and downright depressing at the end. The other comics I got from this guy were funny and looked like they were done in about ten minutes flat, this one is color and looks great. Don’t get me wrong, the ones that looked kind of rushed were still funny and full of charm. It doesn’t have to look like you spent all day on a page for it to be good, you know. Anyway, this one is about a monster who goes to sleep and enjoys his dreams, like the title suggests. Whimsical, that’s what you’d call these books. This one is $4.50 and is done before you know it, which is about the only negative thing that I can say about it. The other ones are: #1, 2 $2.25; #3 $1.50 and a cute little box of comics with three totally different things in it is $2.25. Get the box as a sampler or go ahead and get #1, as it’s probably my favorite of the bunch. E-mail the guy or send him money at: 6 Foxberry Court Foxberry Road Brockley London SE4 2SQ England. By the way, the black and white sample doesn’t look as bad as my scanner makes it appear… Hey, he has a website now too!