Blog Archives

Kamison, Michael & Arnold, Steven – Heel on the Shovel #2


Heel on the Shovel #2

Sweet Christmas, this is one behemoth of a comic. Can a comic be a graphic novel based purely on size? Because if this wasn’t the second issue of a three issue series, this 80 page beast would definitely qualify. I hope you’ve read the last issue, because this is going to be impossible to review without spoiling how that story ended. Which was by (last chance to bail if you don’t want any spoilers for the first issue) Muriel, the wife and one of three main characters (the other being the husband and the small child), dying. In rather slapstick fashion too, which was particularly brutal considering all the character growth she’d undergone. This one starts off with her funeral, which we get to see entirely from her perspective. Meaning lots of people saying their final goodbyes to her body, and her child just thinking she was sleeping and not getting the whole death thing at all. This time around we spend a lot of time with Klaudia and Rocky, a couple that had broken up in the first issue (which each of them being friends of one of the main characters). This is by necessity, as Adler (husband) has fallen into a deep depression, so most of his scenes in the first half of the comic are with him being completely immobile. Daniel gradually comes to accept what happened, but by then he’s been half adopted by another family who’s willing to take care of him while Adler tries to work through his grief. Still, this all seems fairly normal, and if you look at that cover you see a pretty solid indication that things are going to get weird. Adler, throughout his depression, has been watching several movies over and over again. One of them is called Re-Animator, and if you’ve seen that I don’t have to tell you where this is going. If not, see if you can work it out from the title alone. It’s fairly straightforward! The rest of the issue deals with the complications of making that happen, and naturally that also gets the police involved, which sets everything up nicely for the big finale issue. Well, small finale issue, as I’ve seen it and it’s nowhere near the size of this one. Maybe I’ll get to that one sooner rather than later, as I’m really curious to see how this is all wrapped up. This one could work on its own, I suppose, but I’d really recommend getting both issues. There is SO much here that I’m gliding right on by. Several damned near brilliant sequences with the kids, with the sad cop that gets drawn into things, with the relationship troubles of Klaudia and Rocky… lots of great stuff in here. $10

Kamison, Michael & Arnold, Steven – Heel on the Shovel #1


Heel on the Shovel #1

Boy, this one takes you on a real journey. I got one set of expectations from that cover, another one from the first few pages (although the hints were there all along when I went back and checked), and then quite another set after I really got into it. This is the first issue of three, and don’t fret! They were nice enough to send me all three issues, so there’s no danger of another unfinished series dangling around out there. This is a story mostly focused on three people: Adler, Muriel, and Daniel. Adler and Muriel are married and Daniel is their three year old child. You’d think there wouldn’t be a whole lot going on with a three year old, but Mr. Kamison has other ideas on that front. Things start off with full frontal male nudity, so if you’re at all prudish, move along I guess? Why you’d be buying small press comics if you’re alarmed by a dick is another conversation. Anyway, from there Adler and Muriel each go to console one member of a friend couple of theirs who has just broken up. Muriel is distracted because she’s thinking about biting people, and Adler just finds the apartment gross and tries to reassure his friend that every marriage has problems, even one that seems as perfect as his. From there things get dicey in terms of me saying too much about it, as spoilers for a comic that has two more issues coming seems like a bad idea. I’ll just say that Muriel is tremendously dissatisfied in her life (we get a brief synopsis of her former hopes and dreams) and finally decides to do something for herself, Adler tries to roleplay his way into cracking the case of the bathroom smoker at his school and ends up in an entirely different scenario, and Daniel tries to understand grownup problems as well as his new playground friend who is significantly further along the “woke” scale than he is, what with being three years old and all. All of this is expertly drawn into a collision by the ending, with everything coming together to cause a shocking ending. But hey, two more issues to find out what’s going to happen next! I had my doubts about the first comic from these two that I reviewed, but this one right here, this is an absolute winner. If you’re curious about their work(as they have a lot of comics to choose from), so far I’d say that this is the place to start. $8

Kamison, Michael & Arnold, Steven – Bee-Man: The Death of Bee-Man


Bee-Man: The Death of Bee-Man

Don’t you hate it when you randomly pick one comic from a new stack by a team of artists while you’re pressed for time, read it, then quickly flip through the other comics from the stack and become convinced that you inadvertently picked probably the weakest of the bunch? What’s that you say? The amount of people in the world who relate to that are probably in the single digits? Oh yeah. Anyway! These fine folks sent me about a half dozen comics (don’t fret, I’ll get to them), but look at the cover of this sucker! Of course I’m going to go with that one first. This is the story of a team of scientists who are trying to reverse the dying out of the bees, but their first attempt ended with them accidentally making “vampire bees.” Erwin (the hero of the piece) is by far the most dedicated of the bunch, but it comes at the expense of his home life and new child. He eventually starts to hallucinate that the vampire bees are talking to him (or possibly they are; I wasn’t entirely clear on that), which leads to him trusting the bees far too much and entering a controlled environment to prove that they aren’t dangerous. Multiple bee stings ensue, and the guy ends up in a coma for ten years. When he wakes up things have changed quite a bit, and that’s before he notices some gradual and then sudden changes to his own body. I honestly can’t decide if I should go into spoilers here for the rest of it. I mean, when you call your first issue “Death of Bee-Man,” the writing is very much on the wall. I’ll just say that they stuck to the science of what happens when a bee stings somebody, and even with that the ending seemed abrupt, like they had just had enough of the story. There were some funny bits and some solid quotes, but this felt like something that should have maybe been a few issues long to let it breathe. Either way, that is some cover, and I’m looking forward to getting to the rest of the books from their pile. $5