Crass Sophisticate #25
In this issue of Crass Sophisticate we learn the meaning of life, the love of family and how true love always wins out.Â Did I have any of you going for a second there?Â All those things may have been touched on, and some of them were, but this is supposed to be a fun comic, and it has managed to succeed in that task every time I’ve read an issue.Â This gets off to a great start with a Tom Waits quote (and ladies, if any of you like Tom Waits you’ll be the first woman I’ve heard of who does, also I would like to propose to you sight unseen), then heads off to the coffee shop where Justin strikes up a conversation with the attractive female worker.Â Ah, we’ve all been there.Â Things go passably well, then later Justin has the terrible idea to mention this coffee shop lady to his cousin Josh, who decides to see her and mention that his cousin “wishes to court her.”Â Oh, and he also offers her a gift of rat jerky that looks suspiciously like a turd.Â Justin mourns the loss of any shot with this girl and his upcoming birthday, Josh goes back and invites her to join them for the celebration, and somewhere in the middle of all this is that goofy looking lady on the cover.Â It’s funny, mildly creepy and informative all at once, in other words it’s a success!Â OK fine, a few unerased pencil lines slip through here and there, but with this much dialogue and this many pages that’s bound to happen, right?Â Especially with the two of them being so prolific.Â Buy it and enjoy if you’re not easily offended and like things that are funny, if you are easily offended maybe you should buy it anyway just to loosen yourself up a bit, you could probably use it…Â $2
P.S. I just noticed that I already have a review up for issue #25 of this series, even though there are two distinct cover, each with “#25” prominently featured on them.Â This one definitely comes after the other #25, making this #26?Â Or this #25 and the other one #24?Â Damned if I know.
Crass Sophisticate #11
I’d like to start this review off with a little rant to people that probably only exist in my head.Â Hey you!Â Yes, you, the person who is going to skip this review because they’re offended by the cover, or simply think that it means this comic is going to juvenile and stupid.Â Well, you’re wrong.Â You know what?Â While the Crass Sophisticate crew is often, well, crass, they do manage to put out an entertaining issue each time, often something that makes me feel like I learned something.Â Very few series can say that, and very few series get their title so right.Â If you have no complaints about that cover, please ignore that rant, but I felt the need to make it clear that these guys are amassing quite a pile of crassly sophisticated work and should be credited as such.Â This issue, as you can tell, is about masturbation.Â I’m really hoping the story told in the first part is fictional, as it deals with a young boy who, after first learning what masturbating is, enjoys it a little too much and eventually sees blood in his urine.Â The doctor announces this fact to the mother of the child, which would be OK if it wasn’t for the fact that the boy’s brother was there as well.Â The Dad only cares that he is thinking of girls while the Mom wants to take him to a shrink.Â This all comes to a head as the boy draws a science project partner who is remarkably well-endowed for her age, his brother tells some friends that he was called a chronic masturbator, and his science partner hears the story.Â Again, I can only hope that this wasn’t true, as it would certainly mess a guy up for life.Â The second part of the book deals with the early days of porn, when our author (or his fictional stand-in) would go to a local newsstand once a week to get a copy of High Society.Â This practice was done happily for years, until a chance encounter with an older woman did him some serious damage.Â I’m not sure who did what this time around so I’m just throwing all the names up there and hoping for the best.Â Sure, there are still some unerased pencil lines, but the quality of the stories has officially surpassed my annoyance at such things.Â Buy some of these and be cured of a bit of your indie snootiness!
Crass Sophisticate #7
Well, it may not be the first issue of the series, but it still goes a long way to seeing what this series was like in the early days.Â One obvious change?Â It’s just Josh with the writing and the art this time around, with his later partner Justin Rosenberg contributing only a one page strip at the end about the poor timing of Death arriving.Â It’s funny but it looks like crap.Â For anyone who’s looking for a pull quote, no smartass, I do not mean that for the whole series or even this issue, just that last little strip at the end.Â This issue, as you can probably tell from the cover, has some celebrity “guest stars”.Â Wait, what is it that you call it when a creative team uses the likenesses of celebrities without their permission?Â Satire?Â OK, we’ll go with that.Â The issue starts off with a group of friends leaving a showing of the Jennifer Aniston movie Derailed (2005, so you can place the release date of the comic a little bit too), remarking that they enjoyed the movie.Â One of them makes the point that it’s obvious that Jennifer was lousy at giving head (based on her being unable to convincingly portray it in the movie), and that this probably had something to do with Brad Pitt leaving her for Angelina Jolie.Â Hey, I just realized: are all these celebrity names going to drive insane amounts of traffic to this site?Â Pamela Anderson Cindy Margolis Halle Berry!Â OK, now that I’ve crashed the site, the comic continues with the group of friends going to a crappy trendy Chicago eatery, at which point Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston walk in for dinner.Â Vince comes across as more than a little bit of a douchebag here, with his constant declarations that he IS Chicago, and things continue on in this vein until he points out that she’s clearly lousy at giving head.Â She takes him up on the challenge but he needs to visualize a Chicago hot dog with all the fixings to get aroused, and she ruins the whole thing by bringing up the concept of ketchup on a hot dog.Â This is forbidden for some reason in Chicago, she leaves the bar and eventually ends up in a confrontation with Jolie.Â Meanwhile Richard Roeper shows up to get an interview with them but ends up showing that he is the one with the real BJ skills, and things get a little gory from there.Â Clearly Josh already had a good idea of what kind of stories he wanted to tell early on, and frankly this looks pretty much like the more recent issues do.Â There’s generally a stronger story in the more recent stuff, but this is a pretty funny comic is you (like I) really can’t stand any of the three celebrities involved.Â Check it out why don’t you?Â $1.50
Crass Sophisticate #25
As I’ve been a fan of the past two issues, it’s only fair to start this one off with a complaint (even though I liked this one too overall): erase the damned pencil lettering!Â To those of you who don’t make your own comics (which is probably about two of you), writers often pencil in their dialogue in the word balloons and then ink over it, making it easier to change dialogue without having to redraw the whole panel.Â Sometimes writers get lazy and/or stuck at deadline time (usually meaning a convention) and don’t get rid of all the pencils.Â That can be mildly annoying or, as in the case of this issue when large chunks are unerased, very annoying.Â How about the comic itself?Â Once you look past that issue (which is, admittedly, probably a minor thing for most people), Josh and Justin have managed to put out another thoroughly entertaining comic.Â This time around Justin owns a smoothie shop, and the story begins with Josh coming for a visit, just in time for “chalk time”.Â This is the time of the day where the attractive girl from the cafe across the street comes out and writes the specials of the day down on a chalk board, which means she’ll have to bend over and Justin has the highlight of his day: seeing an attractive female bend over.Â He’s “fake dating” (just what it sound like) her as well as the lead singer of a band.Â Meanwhile, Carl is a slobbish regular customer (who plays a role in things later, as you can probably guess if I tell you that he’s the bleeding guy from the cover) and Josh has found a rotisserie chicken device by a dumpster, but can’t convince Justin to use it in his shop.Â Justin, however, sees an interview with his other fake girlfriend (the one in a band) and learns that her favorite things in the world are rotisserie chicken, smoothies and cigarettes (he also sells cigarettes).Â The rest of the issue involves Justin getting into more and more trouble for not knowing the first thing about raising chickens or hiring immigrant workers and tracking down his fake singer girlfriend in the hopes of giving her a flier for his smoothie/chicken shop.Â Like I said, this has been a consistently entertaining series, and kudos to them for making it to #25.Â Next time just erase the lettering, OK?Â $2
Crass Sophisticate #23
Huzzah for Google and people searching for their own names!Â I don’t know how often that’s been the reason that I get new comics to review, but I’d have to guess it’s been responsible for a solid chunk of them.Â There’s only one big story this time around, the tale of young Justin (so maybe he’s the writer and Josh is the artist?) and his realization at an early age that he going to need some kind of help to attract the attention of women.Â He sees an ad in a magazine to learn how to play guitar and, as the guitar came included for $30, he went for it.Â Naturally, this was only a toy guitar, but he decided to make the best of it and even wrote a song for a girl at school that he liked (who happened to be dating a big dumb jock) and, well, you can probably put together what happened from there.Â The interesting thing to me about this story (as the conclusion was fairly predictable, if still funny) was how Justin wandered around so much during his issue-long flashback.Â His cousin wanders into the flashback a couple of times (with his ham), more or less just to liven up the action.Â There’s also a really hilarious moment when old Justin goes back to the fateful day, hoping to talk his younger self out of making a fool out of himself, but gets distracted by a phone call.Â In the meantime his cousin shows up, also attempting to talk him out of it, but young Justin just doesn’t believe that they’re all going to laugh at him.Â Of course, at the end of the day Justin has the comfort of knowing exactly how all those people who tormented him turned out, so at least there’s that.Â The comic kind of fizzles out towards the end, as it dissolves into an argument about Arby’s.Â Still, on the whole, that some funny shit.Â Worth checking out, and I will always be at least mildly impressed once somebody gets their comic over #20.Â $2
Crass Sophisticate #21
You know, I almost didn’t pick this up when I was looking around Quimby’s, as something about that art turned me off.Â Then I saw the “#21” (and yes, that is always enough to impress me), the cheap $2 price for a fair amount of content, and figured I might as well give it a shot.Â And, as is often the case, my initial instinct was wrong, as it turns out this comic is a blast.Â There are two stories here, one dealing with Josh and Justin (who are apparently cousins in real life, if this story is to be believed) having a lengthy conversation about which of them likes ham, which of them is a Jew, and why the hatred for ham is so strong with one of them.Â Sounds like you would get bored in a hurry, I know (and they wrapped it up with an excellent panel saying that everybody must have stopped reading long ago), but I was oddly engrossed.Â The second story is Josh on his lunch break, talking to a co-worker about the happiest time of his life.Â It’s sadder than you may have even thought (after seeing the guy on the cover, that is), but grade school humiliation due to a health freak mom packing all his lunches is always good fun.Â As for the art (I’m assuming that the traditional comics listing of writer first and artist second is in effect here), Justin, if anything, pays too much attention to detail.Â Granted, sometimes things look a bit smudgy, and he clearly tries to cram too much into the occasional panel, but I’m somebody who often complains about the lack of attention paid to backgrounds by a good number of comics artists.Â How he got to #21 while clearly spending hours on background art is impressive all by itself.Â So there’s an engaging story, art that challenges you to dig around and see what goodies the man put in it, and a hefty pile of story for a tiny price. Yeah, I’d say that you should try to find this.Â $2