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Campbell, Jessica – XTC69

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XTC69

Oh my god, that final image! So unprofessional of me (an unpaid amateur), and how gauche! To start a review talking about the final image! Heavens, however will my fainting couch stand the strain? OK fine, I’ll start at the beginning. This is the story of three astronauts who are on the search for dudes to mate with to help restart their species. They’re human, more or less, so they’re looking for human males, and I already don’t know how much of this I should give away. See, technically they had all willed themselves to be female, and they could also will themselves to be male… but it’s considered unthinkable to even ask anyone to pick a gender that they don’t want. So they wind up on earth, a place with no life signs, but they’ve made it that far and decide to explore. They come across a stasis pod, which contains one Jessica Campbell. Yep, we’re going there! The author is in the comic. Not only that, but “Jessica Campbell” is the name given to the fiercest warrior of that world, while the Jessica that was found doesn’t seem to have much experience in fighting (I make this assumption based on her inability to get out of a pit with the rest of the crew and am referring to the fictional Jessica of the comic; Jessica the real person might be an MMA fighter for all I know). The rest of the book is them all getting to know each other a bit, finding another planet that does seem to have life signs on it, and finally meeting the people that they were looking for all along. And oh, that final image! I don’t break out the “never before in the history of comics” phrase very often, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say never before in the history of comics has that ended a comic. Her “Hot or Not” book about old artists was a revelation to me, so that’s still my favorite, but this is a damned fine comic too, well worth a look. She seems to be sold out at her website, but luckily John Porcellino at Spit and a Half still has copies as of early July 2020! $12

Campbell, Jessica – Hot or Not: 20th Century Male Artists

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Hot or Not: 20th Century Male Artists

Note: the binding for this book was too tight for me to scan a sample image, so all you get is that fantastic cover. Besides, who wants the hotness or notness of even one 20th century male artist spoiled in a review? Nobody, that’s who. Once you get down to it this is one of the more straightforward comics out there: Jessica looks at a work of art from a dude, guesses their relative hotness and then has her suspicions confirmed or denied with (I’m guessing) a Google image search. I haven’t laughed this hard this many times while reading a comic for ages, and this gets as high of a recommendation as I can give for that alone. Not sure what that means, exactly, but I’m really putting my back into wishing that everybody out there buys a copy of this and laughs their ass off. Anyway! Now that that’s sorted, there’s still more to the comic than that! The start and end, where this is all being talked about in the context of Jessica giving a talk, is a few extra pages of hilarity. That last panel alone is a thing of brilliance. One final thing, in case you can’t stoop to buying something with a title of “Hot or Not” unless it’s ready to throw down with a seriously scholarly introduction, you’re in luck! I didn’t know what to expect after reading two dense pages of text about these artists, which made the comic itself even more delightful. In case you only read the last sentence of reviews, you should definitely get a copy of this comic. You’ll become the new authority in your peer group on the bangability of artist dudes from relatively recent history. $10