Hey look, anthology reviews on back to back days! Readers in the future, never mind about that comment, but for today I can compare the two, and I’m happy to say that this one got every single little thing right that made me cranky about the last one. Clear and legible table of contents, the pages are numbered, and most of the strips had the name of the artist on the bottom of the page. Yep, my only complaint here is that they managed to put together an anthology of U.K. cartoonists and left Rob Jackson out of it, but maybe he lives somewhere else and I’m just confused. OK fine, so they got the basics right. What about the quality? Pretty much top-notch all around, which is always at least slightly rare for an anthology with this many people in it. Highlights include a chopsticks dilemma by Luke Pearson, putting all of the eggs in one basket by Lizz Lunney, the wisdom of using egg whites instead of cream by Philippa Rice, the fantastically destructive Skull Force by Jack Teagle, one seriously destructive romance by Luke Pearson, a great example of a comic about nothing that ends up being pretty damned great by James Downing, a horror show called Dream Leader by Joe List, an excellent way to turn the tables on door to door salesmen by Joe Decie, deciding who you would like to survive the apocalypse along with you by Stephen Collins, video game monster advice by Dan Berry, judging someone from their shoes by Lizz Lunney, “I Was Attacked by some Naked Children” by Isaac Lenkiewicz, being stuck as a conscious fossil by Kristyna Baczynski, terrible story ideas that Gareth Brookes has been given over the years, and the Death Train by Lizz Lunney. Huh, I seemed to like Lizz Lunney’s work quite a bit, but there’s a pile of great stuff in here. Check it out, support both Hic & Hoc and the idea of getting more international anthologies going over here in the U.S. $12
Secret Prison #2
Here’s hoping it’s still OK to use images from the internets for the review, as it’s impossible for me to scan the newspaper sized stuff.Â And if you agree with me that Benjamin Marra is tearing shit up with that cover, you should see the back cover by Pat Aulisio.Â I’m also not entirely sure if it’s possible for any old schmuck online to get a copy of this, as I think it’s only available at cons, but that’s a damned shame for a pile of great strips like this.Â Share it with the world!Â If I’m not mistaken (and I probably am) this one is even longer than the last issue, and it’s one of those rare anthologies with no really weak pieces.Â Sure, some things are better than others, whatever that means, but everything in here has something going for it.Â Strips in here (and they are strips, nothing is longer than 2 pages) include Pat’s tale of deliciously sorrowful soul, Luke Pearson’s absolutely brilliant “How to Exist For a Day,” Ian’s silent cubed spy story, Josh Burggraf’s text message-a-rific story of need, Cody Pickrodt with some true confessions, Bob Pistilli going a long way for a great ending, Box Brown and his experience with an exotic “delicacy,” the story behind that ridiculously good cover by Benjamin Marra, Art Baxter loving the summer, Simon Gardenfors getting the most out of his page with a series of mishaps involving a round dude wearing underwear, Kelly Phillips wondering if there’s a line cardiologists should not cross, Cyn Why with a tale for the ages, Steve Teare going to heaven, Doug Slack with a pile of funnies, and Jose Mochove & Rusty Rowley using photos to destroy us with reality.Â I skipped a few to leave some surprises for people who manage to find an actual copy of this, not that I spoiled too much for the other stories, but everybody likes surprises, right?Â Seriously, show this to the world, you guys!Â A working table of contents, a huge pile of talent, this should not be kept away from the world at large.Â Unless it isn’t, and I’m wrong, in which case let me know and I’ll tell people here how to buy it.