Oh, Comics! #20
Hello comics anthology! What sort of mixed bag do you have for me today? Before I get into it I should point out (in case I haven’t already) that I love that title, as it could be taken in so many ways. I prefer to take it as an exclamation of alarm, but am also happy accepting it in the context of some lovable scamp accidentally knocking over a flower vase. The subject of this one is “Air” (which should maybe have been mentioned on the cover somewhere, but in hindsight it’s hard not to think of air when you’re looking at that cover by Max Ink), and stories include a silent tale of an overly inquisitive space ghost (not THE Space Ghost) by Bianca Alu-Marr and Steve Peters, a hilarious parody of the 50’s style alarmist propaganda videos by Derek Baxter and Brian Canini (probably the highlight of the anthology), Pam Bliss proving that she can draw the difference between a husky and a wolf, a gloomy but accurate (and gorgeous) tale of an astronaut trying to fix a satellite and the consequences of it by D. Skite, Canada Keck’s tale of getting on a plane and getting a one-way ticket to anywhere, two short poems/pieces by Matt Levin about the subject matter, Michael M. Carroll’s tale of some issues between the elements of his Accidentals, Bob Corby’s piece on space cops and their search for an illegal passenger, and a Robert Gavila tale from 2004 about giant lizards. I saw the ending of that one coming, but I am also a gigantic dork with way too much knowledge of such things. There are also a couple of Cornelia pieces by Kel Crum and one story by Steven Myers that I didn’t mention because it is not for me. The two lady hero characters are called She-Eagle (seriously) and First Lady, and the whole thing is meant in earnest, and it is just not something that I enjoyed. But hey, to each their own. It’s a nicely varied pile of stories, and there are quite a few of them for that tiny $5 price tag.
Walking Man Comics #71
I don’t care if the guy does make comics based around different stamps he’s managed to find, getting to #71 in the small press comics world is still a big deal.Â This one is a bit more defined than some of his past issues that I’ve seen, as there’s a distinct story happening and more than a few stamps that he’s working with.Â It’s all about, as you can see from that cover, a super hero frog.Â He mostly flies around, being all super hero like, and we get to see his origin story: playing with chemicals while being struck by lightning.Â Kids, that is a sure-fire way to get super powers.Â I’m also not entirely sure why a frog would need a fiery steed, but it sounds good to me.Â It almost seems like there’s a page missing between 6 and 7, as I’m not entirely sure what the little guy was upset about.Â Other than that it’s an entertaining story, if a bit sloppy here and there (or maybe his super power on page 5 involved his having a tinier pair of legs dangling behind his regular legs), but a fun read.Â I think you should dig up any old stampers you have laying around and e-mail the guy to see if he could use them, as I’m all for increasing the variety of his stamper collection. $1
Walking Man Comics #34
Matt Levin has been doingÂ comics for a very long time, or at least he has in “internet years”. I reviewed one of his books age ago (oddly, it was #38), but he just sent me a few books, so it’s clear that he is still cranking them out.Â My confusion last time is the same as this time: are they all done with rubber stamps?Â It’s an interesting idea, but I just don’t see how it holds together for at least 59 books.Â Well, that’s not my concern, right?Â Let’s talk about this one.Â This is a story about the belief in magic or, rather, why people believe in magic at all.Â He makes a few good points about it (this is basically a poem, so it meanders a bit) then circles back around to believing that there is at least one thing in humanity that is magical, but what kind of reviewer would I be if I spoiled that for you?Â It’s interesting how he lists the source for all his stamps at the end of the book, so if you wanted to produce one of these comics, it’s easy enough to do.Â Well, you do also need a bit of talent, as a simple story of hope, longing and peace isn’t that easy to pull off.Â He has plenty of these books available but no sort of coherent website to check them out, which is a shame.Â Still, samples can be found at that website I linked (which looks a bit outdated but it still works), and if this sounds like the sort of thing that would intrigue you, it’s worth a look.Â The last I heard these were available at 3 for $4, so that should be a wide sampling range if you are so inclined.
Walking Man Comics Presents: Special #38 Split Heirs
What’s there to say about a comic that is done with a variety of rubber stamps? I only got two of these at SPACE, but they’re both basically the same thing. Matt uses rubber stamps and either lyrics or poems to tell his story, and then it’s over. This is a tiny book. Kind of cute, but that’s as far as it goes. Not a bad idea, but there’s not much here to get excited about either. Maybe if I saw more of his stuff, something with a bit more substance, I could draw a more positive conclusion from this. Until then. it’s OK. That’s all I can tell you. Send him money ($1 each) at 123 Elm St. Hatfield, MA 01038. Or just e-mail him, he can probably explain this better than I can…
Slam Bang #1 Volume 3 Now Available! $9.95
Somehow this massive book has been available in the store here for almost a year and I’ve somehow missed talking about it. I blame the elections and the loss of my appendix last year; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Want some details? As the cover says, there are over 50 contributors, this massive thing is over 200 pages, the cover art is gorgeous (even though the girl on the cover doesn’t actually appear in any of the stories) and keeping something this packed to under $10 is an impressive achievement. As for contributors, there are way too many to list them all, so I’ll just stick with the ones who have pages up here at the old Sloth for reference: Dan Taylor, Brad Foster, Tim Corrigan, John Lustig, Stan Yan, Dean LeCrone, Matt Levin, and Jim Siergey. That leaves all sorts of new cartoonists for you to discover in here, doesn’t it? As a whole, well, it’s an anthology, so some parts are stronger than others, but there’s more than enough in here to make it worth your while. Highlights include Ethan Wenberg and Stan Yan’s tale of the poo-flinging reporter (which makes this the most political book I’ve seen all year, sadly enough), the brief Kevin Hanna puppet theater story explaining to kids how the fast food is made, Ron LeBrasseur’s vampire love story, Dean LeCrone’s tale of an old lady trapped in a hot car by her dog, Tyler Sticka’s fly fight over some poo, Dan Taylor’s story about a successful weight loss clinic, Dan Lauer’s Iron Chef Funnies, Anton Bogaty’s tale of a space crew trying to defeat an unstoppable alien, and John Lustig’s always amusing Last Kiss comics, which are scattered throughout. The heart of the book though (figuratively and literally) is the Tim Corrigan Mighty Guy piece about the slave driver that is Allen Freeman and the methods he uses to keep all his cartoonists happy. Mighty Guy has been around for decades (although if I remember correctly it was always self-published) and I’ve always thought it was vastly underrated. What fan of cartoons ever wouldn’t appreciate Mighty Guy being shoved into a tin can (when trying to take over “Marvelous” comics) by the “Bulk”? All told, this is a pretty solid bunch of comics. A few stinkers, naturally, but more than enough good stuff in here to make up for it. $9.95
Almost Normal Comics and Other Oddities #2
Here’s another great anthology from W.E., with stories about making minis to impress a girl, snail wrestling, jazz pianos, adventurers getting an amulet, spying on regular people, not flying, controlling women and making money doing it, a man crashing a beauty contest, a stripper, fish, being abducted by North Korea, the good old days, a whiner, and trying to balance finding a job and finding a girlfriend. That enough for you? No? Well, I left out the parts from W.E., including the real story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, an ancient talking box and an interview with Trent Haaga. Actually, that’s my only real complaint of the book: not enough W.E.! Those little one page stories make the book and there should be at least ten of them per anthology. Am I asking too much? Maybe. That’s what I’m here for! Here’s a list of the talent: Patrick Findlay, Alejandro Alvarez, Matt Levin, Ron LeBrasseur, Adrian Velazco, Phil McAndrew, Buck Weiss, Shannon Gretzon, Jeff T. Kane, Kel Crum, Peter Conrad, David Recine, Simon Mackie, Herve Largeaud, Yul Tolbert, and Anthony Hon. You can find plenty of those people on this page if you’re curious about this book, but seriously, it’s worth the price of admission to find out what really happened to those seven dwarfs, and there’s not really a weak story in the bunch, which is all you can ever ask out of an anthology. It’s $5.50 but it’s huge, contact info is up there!