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Aushenker, Michael – Trolls

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Trolls

So as I was reading this I knew that I had seen this art somewhere before. Michael has been working for years on a variety of projects, but all I could think about was Duplex Planet. And, sure enough, in his bio he mentioned making a story for them years ago. Maybe I just have too many comics taking up space in my brain? Because if this is a skill it surely isn’t lucrative. Oh hi, I’m supposed to be talking about the comic! This is mostly a story about Edward and Wayward, two dopes who are air traffic controllers. Their boss doesn’t like them, one of them is on the run from his pot dealer and his landlord has decided that he’s going to kick him out. Throughout it all neither of them takes anything all that seriously (except for the bit where the pot dealer seems like he’s going to murder Edward), and the whole thing reminded me quite a bit of the old stoner comics of the 70’s. Which was great! Those types of books just aren’t around much anymore, and I’ve always wondered why that’s the case. The two of them end up being forced to work the entire weekend shift as air traffic controllers, and they only have one idea as to how they’re going to stay awake all weekend: throwing a big old party. The rest of their story is nonstop debauchery with more than a little bit of surreality thrown in as the sleep deprivation catches up to them. But wait, there’s more! There’s also two short stories in here, one dealing with two other characters working at a McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere (that one also turns into a party with the hobos taking over) and two other characters getting invited to a model party and assuming they got the meaning wrong when they show up to see an array of model airplanes and that sort of thing scattered about. So, naturally, they sniff glue to get away from it all… but there’s a twist! Honestly, I loved this book, and am looking forward to reading the other books he was nice enough to send along. Check it out, or just go to his website and pick out some comics. He has a whole lot to choose from! $4

Various International Anthologies – Blackguard #2

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Blackguard #3

The crime issue! If you’ve read past issues of this anthology and think that this is a subject that this crew could handle very well, you were absolutely correct. My only complaint is that almost the first half of the book is dedicated to a letters page and comics and zine reviews. Not that I hate such things, but sometimes it gets in the way of the actual comics, and I’m speaking from my own personal and cranky bias about getting zines and comics all jumbled up. As for the comics themselves, it’s hard not to find plenty to love. When things start off with a color strip about Nazi superzombie monkey sleeper agents (by Ryan Vella), you know you’ve reading a book with tons of potential. Well I do anyway, it’s entirely possible that such a thing would turn you off immediately, in which case I’d recommend leaving this review now. It’s OK, there are plenty of other comics to read about on this site and not a single one of them has a Nazi superzombie monkey sleeper agent to bother you. Strips include an actual serial killer and the Hamburglar discussing royalties (by “Glenno,” which may or may not refer to Glenn Smith), Adam Pasion (or his story stand-in) lighting an empty pool on fire as kids, Stratu with a brother killing his sister after a stupid argument, scribbling a penis on a “Walk” sign (by Bize), Chris Mikul with the profoundly strange story of Kenneth Neu, Shaun Craike with his crisis of conscience after his only attempted theft, Neale Blandon with the story of the property theft of Mickey Mouse, Anton Emdin with the angriest man on earth and Dexter Cockburn (with one of the few stories of his without visible sexual organs) with the story of the murder of a young girl and the enigmatic diary entry detailing the deed. There are also two text pieces by Damian McDonald and Henry L. Racicot, both of which are well worth reading. As I already gave away in the intro, this comic is well worth picking up. I only mentioned about half of the stories to leave you with a lot of surprises, and even if you think that comic and zine reviews are wasted space (and, even though I pointed them out, I did notice a few comics I should probably check out, making me a bit of a moron for even mentioning that in a negative light) there are still more than enough comics here to make this worth the $5.

Various International Anthologies – Blackguard #2

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Blackguard #2

When they say this is 18+, they are not fucking around. Just a warning to all you sensitive souls out there. This is a collection of stories about Dads, featuring that list of names on the cover (seriously, click on it to check it out if you want, I’m not going to type them all here). As you might expect, very few of these stories are positive, and most of them aren’t true, but they are funny stories.  Highlights include Neal Blanden’s story about not being able to visit his mother for the last two months of her life because his Dad was seeing another woman, Dexter Cockburn (a hilariously fake name) and his story about a Dad helping out with an “adventure club” and his noticing how one of the girl members has blossomed, Glenn Smith and his litany of Dads throughout history, Julie Doye and her Dad’s new teeth, Anton Emdin with his “Deadbeat Dad” strips (which, if there were any justice in the world, would be in newspapers across the globe), Mike Diana playing with the concept of a Dad and his two-way mirror, Ryan Vella with the shortest “Tales From the Crypt” story ever, Chris Mikul with one of the few seemingly true stories in the book, and Lark with a brilliant bit of father/son bonding. There’s also an accurate table of contents (I bitch when it isn’t present, so I should praise when it is, right?), a series of reviews on other minis, and plenty of other fair to great stories in here that I haven’t mentioned to save you some surprises.  No idea on the price of this thing, as the website doesn’t have a listing, but I’d have to say at least $7 for the fancy front and back cover and the sheer size of the thing. Contact the website, why don’t you, and you should also go there because the guy apparently spends a lot of time reviewing comics and such, which I clearly think is a good use of free time.