I Heart Becky
Hooray for more stuff from Lauren! OK, it’s mostly older stuff, but I’ll take what I can get. She has a couple of big projects in the works anyway, so there should be more available in the next couple of years. I’m guessing this is all older stuff but, like I said, that’s only a guess. There are stories in here about birds watching women wrestle, Lauren freaking out at college, a girl helping her boyfriend through the tail end of an acid trip, a dead baby bird, a cat on the pill, Lauren trying to change her parents, and Morrissey. Ah, Morrissey. This is a comic that Lauren did when she was 13 and she was kind enough to put a bunch of the best message board responses that she got at the time. This book, as a whole, doesn’t measure up against Inside Vineland, but I don’t think it was meant to. This is a collection of great stuff that’ll tide you over if you read IV and loved it but don’t want to wait until her other projects to finish up. If I’m remembering correctly I paid $4 for this (it’s pretty big), check out the contact info up there for more info!
In case my scan is too crappy and you can’t see that cover, it has floating demon cats attacking the Earth and a monkey traveling with a giant brain down a ski-lift like device. What does it mean? You have to read the book to find out! OK, the giant brain is never explained, but it doesn’t matter. Look, I read a lot of comics for this website. Does that make me an authority? No, just some guy who reads way too many comics. Most of the “funny” comics I get are things where I can see that something is supposed to be funny, or technically sound and potentially hilarious, but I rarely laugh out loud while reading them. This one had me chuckling several times. Everything in here is true and heartfelt, which is always so much better when it’s also completely ridiculous. The only big stories in here deal with a robot taking a walk and a robot trying to find love. I’ll say no more about them, as they’re the highlight of a book that’s full of highlights. The rest of it is one page strips from The Stranger, dealing with manic-depressive dogs, the bird war, life on Mars, things crashing into a Blockbuster, hot car fuckin’ fuckfest, the real world for elephants, and the seniorarium. If you think that there are plenty of unfunny people in the world who could deal with these topics and make them suck, you’re right. Luckily for us, Lauren isn’t one of these people. Look, I’ll make you a deal right now. Read the two samples. If you laugh out loud, you have to buy a copy. If you don’t, then you get to come to my house and throw a football at my groin. Deal? Send her an e-mail or just check out her website, this is only $5.95!
Legal Action Comics Volume 2 Now Available! $18.95
It’s always a copout of some degree to just list the contributors involved in an anthology as proof of it’s greatness. Why not go into greater detail about the (in this case) 73 cartoonists and their individual contributions? Well, to me, the joy of a good anthology is discovering things as they come, finding new artists that you like, taking a chance on all sorts of people you’ve never heard of, that sort of thing. So nailing all this down specifically (outside of it being, in that case, by far the longest review I’ve ever written) kills a lot of that sense of discovery. But none of that is really the point of this book anyway. It’s about trying to help Danny Hellman pay some huge legal bills in a lawsuit that is still apparently ongoing (the only update I managed to find about it (as of 8/15/07) is that only one count is left in the lawsuit and that it still hasn’t gone to trial) and, on a selfish level, getting to see a bunch of the best cartoonists working today all gathered into one book. So how about that list? OK, here’s a few names: Sam Henderson, Carol Lay, Doug Allen, Art Spiegelman, Kim Dietch, Kaz, Johnny Ryan, Tony Millionaire, Ted May, Hans Rickheit, Dave McKenna, Michael Kupperman, Miss Lasko-Gross, Pshaw, Lauren Weinstein, Patrick Dean, Mike Diana, Rick Altergott, and Dean LeCrone, to name a fraction of the people that I had already heard of. There seems to be a bit less personal animosity towards Ted Rall this time around (although there’s still plenty here), with the stories being all over the place. It’s a great anthology whether or not you agree with Danny’s legal case (and what’s not to agree with?), and something that everybody who enjoys this genre at all needs on their bookshelf. $18.95