Various Artists – Cringe
Quick, think of the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you. Now imagine yourself writing and drawing a comic story about it. That right there should make you cringe, which means you’re in luck, as that’s what this anthology is all about! This book has right around 30 small press artists, some new and some who have been around for awhile, who are willing to share some shameful incident from their past. I don’t think anything in here will get anybody put in jail, but it’s hard not to cringe while reading some of these. I’m not going to review every story because there are so damned many of them (and for a measly $8!), but the highlights include Shaenon K. Garrity wetting herself while out with a group of other cartoonists (including a big name guy, but I won’t spoil the surprise; I particularly loved the way she ended her strip), Sam Spina’s unfortunate method for drinking a rum shot when he met the Bacardi girls, Adam Pasion’s particularly gruesome retelling of an incident involving a finger in the eye, Geoff Vasile dodging a bullet (not literally), Chad Essley and his series of embarrassing moments (hard to top the one where he volunteered to breakdance at school on stage), Fred Noland’s theories on some crayons he used to own, Chad Woody and his racist former roommate, Box Brown and his former habit of eating light bulbs (it’s not quite as life-threatening as it sounds), Stephen Notley and his experience of being “that guy” at a comic convention (you know the one, the guy who gets up to ask a rambling and pointless question and has no idea how to get out of it once he gets started), and Sam Henderson’s experiences with having seizures while surrounded by strangers. It’s a damned fine mix of stories, and at a ridiculously cheap price. Save yourself the embarrassment of not owing this anthology of embarrassment! Ugh, I feel dirty for saying that. I’ll let myself out… $8
Kerschbaum, John – Petey & Pussy #1
Petey & Pussy #1
This is a name that I’ve been hearing a lot about lately. Seems like I’ve seen him in an anthology or two here and there too. His style reminds me a little of some of the old J. D. King stuff that Fantagraphics used to put out, but he definitely puts his own spin on things. This is the tale of Petey and Pussy, a dog and a cat that inexplicably have the heads of old bald men. They live with a senile old woman and the problems start when Petey accidentally swallows a piece of glass while drinking from a broken liquor bottle. Whatever the noise is for this guy, it isn’t loud enough. If his other books are this funny (and they’re even funnier, if the blurbs on the back cover are to be believed) then he should be mentioned right up there with Johnny Ryan, Sam Henderson and Evan Dorkin. A bold statement after reading one book and I’m assuming a lot about the quality of the other stuff here, but there you go. I’m only going by one issue here but I liked it a lot. Any comic that makes me laugh out loud more than a few times gets my complete support. You can e-mail him to see what he has available or you can just ask for a free Fontanelle Press catalog. Not sure if that’s his publishing company or just the people he uses, but I’m sure they have a few of his older books available too. Let’s put it this way: if you like the sample page below, then you’ll love the rest of the book.