Oh, Magic Whistle. What do you have against a table of contents? If you’re intimately familiar with all the artists listed in the tags, you’re in luck! If, like me, some of the names were at least mildly unfamiliar, best of luck to you in determining who did which story. Except for the Sam Henderson bits, of course. If you’re not familiar with his style, I don’t understand why you’re buying Magic Whistle anyway. Or how you can draw breath without a functioning sense of humor, but that’s your problem, not mine. So we’ve established that all right thinking people love Sam Henderson, what can I tell you about this issue specifically? There’s the Lonely Robot Duckling story by Steven Weissman, a haunting tale of living too much in the digital world and getting advice about disconnecting from it all. Also featuring horrific violence, of course. There are a couple of strips done in old timey comic strip art, with boxy panels and tiny writing underneath. Possibly by Jim Campbell? They were also my clearest indicator yet that I am seriously getting old, as the tiny text was too tiny for me and I gave up on both of the strips. But if you’re still young and healthy and haven’t had terrible eyesight for most of your life, have at them! Stay Out of the Closet by Jen Sandwich tells the story of the time she ruined Christmas, but mostly it let us peek into the world of her family, her parents, and the various tricks they all played on/to each other around the holiday. Yellowed Kid by Roy Tompkins shows us a “3D” space adventure featuring Frankenstein’s monster and a planet filled with cheese. Finally Honey by ____ shows us a disturbed peeper (more disturbed than most based on the subject matter of his peeping), the ways that the family deals with said peeper and their delightful holiday meal. And I haven’t even gotten to Sam’s bits yet! There’s the immaculate conception of Dirty Danny, a sentient snowman discovering heroin, even the return of Gunther Bumpus and his cat door. And lots more (Sam probably contributed to about half of the comic), but why spoil it? If you’re already a fan you either already have this or are going to get it now that you know it exists. For the rest of you… take a chance on laughter! $9.99
I don’t usually do this, but here’s a link to an old review of mine of one of Jim’s comics. Why am I linking this? Mostly because the review is at least a decade old (I really wish, and not for the first time, that the reviews still had actual publication dates on them), meaning the guy has been at this comics thing for quite a while, meaning that it’s a good idea to pay attention when a guy like that puts out a graphic novel. This is the story of… huh, it’s trickier to describe than I thought. It starts off with a group of teenagers hanging out, complete with some pretty great dialogue and some low-key flirting. They all decide to go to the beach, but one of them (Gabi) really doesn’t want to leave the car. When they wonder why that’s the case, she starts a hilarious running gag of attempting to tell them why they’re all in danger, but being such a poor storyteller (who is also stuck with friends with no attention span) that they keep interrupting her and shutting her down. Meaning that they don’t get around to learning what the potential danger is until they’re actually in danger, but that’s jumping ahead a bit. Before that they end up trapped on the beach after dark, see a few Nessie’s while they’re out (which is exactly what it sounds like: the mythical Nessie from Loch Ness), and are there zombies involved? There are certainly zombies involved. There’s also a professor who is the only one who knows how to stop things, Gabi’s family knowing how to combat those things but not being all that great at it, and just a touch of more flirting and some of them not being able to stand each other. Since I really don’t want to ruin the story bits, I’ll just add that the dialogue was consistently funny throughout, the story itself wrapped up very nicely, and Jim is really a master of facial expressions. With a few tweaks this could damned near be a wordless comic and you could follow along from their faces alone. Also if you’re one of the people who was buying this in comics form, don’t fret, as this book includes a few issues that look like they were never released as individual comics, so you’re finally getting the ending you were no doubt wondering about. For everybody else, you get Nessies, zombies, teenagers and possibly a mad scientist. What’s not to love? $19.99
Sure, the number’s probably fake, but who cares? It’s his comic. He can number it any damned way he pleases. Before I start, if you hate my reviews but like learning about the new folks, go here. This entire issue is available online at his website, so you can just go there, read it, and come back to see if you agree with me. Isn’t this fun? Anyway, I liked this one a lot. Maybe it’s just been a good week, except it hasn’t, so that must mean that I’ve seen a lot of great comics this week. There are three stories in here. One’s about an invisible boy, one’s about pork trying to get a squirrel to write his essay, and the other one is about a guy who’s wearing a dog hat quitting his job. A lot more to them all than that, obviously, but you can read it all for yourself for free if you’re that curious. After looking at his website a little more, I have to concede that his numbering system might be accurate after all. Quite a few comics are available for your perusal, even if some of them look a little too small to actually read if your eyes are as bad as mine. If you want to do things the old fashioned way and actually buy this comic, I think my copy was $5.