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Winter, JB – Izzy Challenge #5


Izzy Challenge #5

This has turned into a weekend of anthology comics here at ye olde Optical Sloth, and these are a couple of good ones to contrast.  The other comic reviewed was the first issue of the Trubble Club anthology, in case anybody reads this years down the line and wants to compare.  In this issue, JB recruited people to do a panel each, based on a state, and have the story be about Izzy traveling through all 50 states.  It had to be all ages stuff, JB sent an image of Izzy along and the artist had to fill in the backgrounds.  With Trubble Club, well, I’m not entirely sure how they did their stories, but they certainly weren’t all ages (a plus in my book), and they had a whole page to set up a story, not just one panel.  It’s probably silly to compare the two books, as they’re aiming to do completely different things, and… you know, that’s a good argument, so I will.  This comic is less about a story than it is about the challenge to have 50 artists represent something from each state, whether or not that something has anything to do with reality.  Looking at JB’s website I can see that he/she has experimented with the individual panel idea before in different ways, and I’m all for people pushing the boundaries of this “graphic art” idea as far as it can go, so kudos to him/her.  There’s also a deal up at the moment (through the end of December) where you can get #1-5 of this series for $3.50, which is a good a chance as any to see what other experiments have been going on with the Izzy Challenges.  So, to sum up, the Izzy Challenge books are a fascinating look into single panels from all over the country (because that’s what they were trying to do) and Trubble Club is a fascinating look into utterly random jam comics that somehow stick to a basic theme (because that’s what THEY were trying to do).  Can you believe I’m not rich from such utterly random commentary yet?  Yeah, me too.  Oh, and as for the list of contributors to this book, check out that website listed above, as I’m not typing 50 names in here.  Some of the people I know are listed on this page are Jack Turnbull, Isaac Cates, Barry Rodges, Sarah Morean, Joshua Cotter and Matt Feazell, but that’s a very incomplete list.  $1

Turnbull, Jack – Apollo Astro #6


Apollo Astro #6

Now that’s a long time between issues. Looking at Jack’s website, he’s up to #9 in this series now, although it looks (at least from this one) like there’s not much of a continuing thread holding it together. This issue, for example, is three stories strung together, much as is usually done in the “mini comics” world. Not sure where I was going with that so I’ll just quit while I’m still slightly ahead. First up is a poem about working and still clinging to some of your youthful ideals, or at least still being able to remember those ideals. Then you have a wonderful wordless story about a… um potato who loses a leg and tries desperately to get it back without being able to say anything. Finally you have the strongest piece in the book, a story about a girl who’s trying to remember why she’s on a bus going to visit a boy she got to know during summer camp and piecing it together from a photograph. Not that she has amnesia or anything, she just wonders how well memories hold up to real life, and the winner there has a tendency to be memory. Another really good issue, if a bit dated at this point to be putting up on the website. Hey, I’m just reading it now, it’s new to me… $4

Turnbull, Jack – Apollo Astro #5


Apollo Astro #5

I love getting that second issue from a creator that I liked the first time around. Sure, the first one I read was good, but what about other work? Was the early stuff as good? How about later issues, did he/she keep it up? I’m happy to say that this issue was much better than #4, and I liked that one just fine. There are a few shorter pieces in this, but the bulk of it is the story of a boy as he grows up in a town where he’s told to stay away from the “bad people”, but by the time he’s in high school there are bad people everywhere. I don’t want to ruin it for anybody who hasn’t read it, but the scene with the 13 year old boy came as a complete surprise to me, even with the hints thrown in with the fingernails. That’s a sentence that makes no sense to the people who haven’t already read this, which is fine because you should read it. I still don’t know about his earlier issues and, after his introduction about how much he’s changed and how that’s reflected in the comic, I’m not sure that I want to. Some of the dialogue is a bit stilted here and there. That’s about as much of a complaint as I can muster. It’s $3, contact info is above, check it out! Oh yeah, and I liked the smaller stories too…

Turnbull, Jack – Apollo Astro #4


Apollo Astro #4

It’s really odd to go from reading the new Mr. Show book right into a serious tale (sort of) about high, school, but I’ll give it a shot. High school stories are a dime a dozen, granted, and it takes a little something to make one stand out. This one’s good enough to qualify. It’s the story of Harry Pearson, a sophomore who makes robots and has a huge crush on a girl who’s dating a cartoonist. Already different from the norm, because the vast majority of these stories are written from the perspective of the cartoonist. I like a lot of little things about this comic. The way he programs his robots to call him master, the fact that the girl he likes is as much of an asshole as the the guy she’s dating, the radio interviewer making fun of him afterwards. Pretty much everything works here. As far as the art goes, it’s hard not to compare him with Alex Robinson, both in look and in the general tone of his stories. I don’t know if he’s read Alex’s stuff, but the art is eerily similar. Anyway, well worth a look, and I’d like to see how he does shorter stories. Lucky for me, he has other issues in print… Send him an e-mail to see what else he has around.