Oh jam comics, don’t ever change. In case you’ve only read three comics in your life and none of them were a jam comic, this is a thing that a bunch of cartoonists do together, either in person or through the mail/internet, usually under the influence of booze at the very least. As such, reviewing a jam comic like a traditional comic is a waste of time, as it was never meant to have a coherent story. This particular comic is the “dirty” bits from the regular Sunday jams that a bunch of Columbus artists do when they meet up on a weekly basis, and it is all over the map. But, oddly, usually either offensive or funny. And often both! Each of these strips are one page long, passed over to the next person in line from panel to panel, with none of the panels being signed by the artist, making this a fun/excruciating guessing game. Your best bet to know whether or not you’re going to like this is by looking at that list of tags and seeing if your favorite Columbus artist is included in that list, but I’ll try to summarize at least a few of the strips for you. Stories include the bleeped out clown and monkey love, “The Family Cirque Du Soleil” (with a fantastic last panel), the adventures of a pile of broken glass and a dead dude, William Shatner’s soap, how the Smurfs were wiped out, the end of the world, various types of tongues, cat piss vs. meatloaf, raccoon vice, a devil and a cockroach in love, and creepy Superman. That’s most of the first half, which leaves the whole second half a delightful surprise. Try a jam comic, you’ll be glad you did! Unless you’re easily offended, in which case you should maybe look at any other “Sunday” book. $3
Silver Comics #8
And here I thought I was getting a new Michael Neno comic.Â Well, technically I am (he has the first story in this collection), but there’s much more to this than just one story.Â Before I get started, click on that website above.Â There’s a cover collection there, and if that isn’t the sort of thing that you like, you’ll know it instantly.Â These books are basically new versions of silver age comics, with the occasional wackiness thrown in, but they’re basically faithful versions of that type of story with some funny thrown in.Â First up is the story by Michael Neno, which just so happens to be the cover story.Â Well, this cover story anyway, there’s also an excellent back cover.Â Someone is attacking all the milk men and none of the children are getting their milk, so an enigmatic hero called The End decides to help them out by going undercover.Â Yes, you will find many puns about spilt milk, and yes, “The End” is used as a pun more than once.Â It’s still a thoroughly entertaining story.Â Next up is The Day of the Ice Menace by Johnny Ortiz, Dan Beltran and Mark Prudeax, dealing with an Iron Man-ish character trying to stop a mysterious ball of energy.Â He touches the ball, which quickly encases him in a block of cosmic ice, but manages to fly to a nearby volcano to get out of it.Â This story captures the feel of those old stories perfectly as the hero flits from catastrophe to catastrophe before the shocking ending.Â Finally there’s Let Them Be Damned by the same crew of Ortiz, Beltran and Prudeax, which deals with a depressed Santa (after Satan has taken over his job) trying to get his fighting spirit back with the help of Rudolph.Â More mayhem and I particularly enjoyed the “to be continued” ending, knowing that it probably won’t ever be continued unless this is part of a much larger Santa storyline that I missed by not getting the earlier issues.Â All of this is wrapped up by a text piece from Dan Beltran, which was entertaining enough even if it felt slightly out of place alongside all the illustrated shenanigans.Â Finally there are a few pin-ups and fake ads, and you’re left with a thoroughly entertaining fake silver age comic.Â Like I said, you already know if this sort of thing, done well, is something you’d enjoy.Â This is done extremely well, so it’s your call.Â And it’s cheap!Â $1.95
Michael Neno’s Dream
Damn you Michael Neno, do more comics! I like everything I’ve seen from you so far and I’m perfectly willing to spend more money at your table when I see you at conventions, so why won’t you let me? Anyway, this is another solid comic, if tiny, but hey, it’s only a dream. It starts with Michael in a taxi with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and the conversation goes to all sorts of things, including how they’re disappointed in Kurt Cobain for killing himself when F. Scott died of a heart attack. Tiny but good, contact info is above, and somebody please give him a grant of some kind and chain him to the drawing board!
Quacky Pig and Friends
Three cheers for a real coloring book! Well, sure, maybe it’s not something that the whole comics world has been clamoring for, but I’m thinking about going out and getting some crayons for this baby. There’s a little bit of a story in here, mostly about Quacky and her friends getting into all sorts of mischief. It’s sort of like a children’s book that no child should ever read. It’s brutally funny at times and also absolutely silly at others, but it works for what it’s supposed to be (a coloring book, please keep that in mind at all times). What more can you really ask for than that? Contact info is above, I’m much too sleepy to actually link everything again…
Michael Neno’s Reactionary Tales #1
First review back, so I apologize to all of you if this doesn’t measure up to my usual incoherent, rambling self. Hm, that might be a good thing. Maybe this will seem more focused somehow. Anyway, how about that Michael Neno! I didn’t know a thing about this before I bought it, but anything that can make me laugh in this day and age (it’s September 21st, 2001as I’m writing this, so you know what I’m talking about) is much appreciated. He has a bizarre sense of humor that fits with me. It might not with you, but I guarantee you’ll either love it or hate it. A Kirby-esque cover and some definite mainstream influence. This Eternal Flaw (about a canine man and his troubles) is hilarious, even if I get the impression that he’s making it up as he goes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it can get ugly for continuing stories. As long as it stays this funny it probably won’t matter much. Larvae Boy was great too. Ack, I feel like Bob Odenkirk reading to the blind guy in the Mr. Show skit. “Man, I wish you could see this, it’s so funny!” If you guys are looking for a funny book that has nothing to do with the real world or current events, here you go. The main stories are about a depressed boy who controls the insect kingdom and a canine man who can’t stop throwing acid into the face of a superhero. Funny shit.
The Toy Box
Believe it or not, this is actually one of those rare cases where the cover scan is slightly larger than the actual comic. The actual comic is almost too short to talk about it, as it details a young boy putting all his dolls into a box and then having the box stolen by another kid running by. It’s cute and there’s a good punchline, so yes, it is worth sending him that $.50 if you’re so inclined. That and I loved all of his other stuff, so there’s plenty of stuff worth getting. My problem with Michael is that he always has the same stuff for sale, year after year that I see him at SPACE (this one is from 2003, I just missed it, probably because it’s so tiny). A brief trip to his website shows that he’s been busy, he’s just been doing stuff for another company, which is probably why the new stuff is never displayed at his table. I’m grasping at straws here, but the only other explanation is that I’ve been missing his new stuff year after year when it was right in front of my nose while he was one of the main people I was checking into every year for new stuff. That would make me an idiot, and that couldn’t be, now could it? Anyway, this is worth checking out, at least after you check out his longer, better stuff first. $.50
The Signifiers #1
Jack Kirby, eat your heart out.Â That sampled page below, the cover, the first fantastic page of this book (a close-up of a screaming man, so close that you can make out hisÂ back teeth), everything you look at screams KirbyÂ while still sticking to a very clear (if a little hazy to the reader) vision.Â There are three stories in this book, and I’m starting at the back for reasons that’ll be clear in a minute.Â Last up is the story of the heat-seeking dwarf (the sampled image), who is held captive by a mysterious group and eventually makes his way free to a hippie commune.Â In the middle of the comic is a tale of invasion, giant guns and sudden love, all told in a different format (panel-wise) than the other pieces, and it’s the only piece in here that can be read by itself with any hope of understanding fully what’s going on.Â Finally there’s the bulk of the comic, the main story of the Signifiers.Â It turns out this story started in Reactionary Tales #1, which Michael put out something like 5 years ago, so forgive me if I’m a little hazy on how that connects to this issue.Â This story is a mess, but that’s mostly because we’re still mostly without context in this first issue.Â He very clearly has a master plan here (he stops the story briefly to map out the important parties, something that may have made more sense at the start of the comic, but who am I to judge?), and I’m happy to be along for the ride.Â What we do see in this issue is a society of freaks, a peace rally (in which a young woman gets transformed into a dog creature), some thugs try to exert their will with varying degrees of success, a mysterious Voyst is referenced several times, and a mysterious man in bandages becomes real.Â Like I said, it was a bit tough to follow (although if I wasn’t still in moving transition and could locate that older issue it might help), but I could stare at this art for days, and as long as Michael knows what he’s doing a little confusion from the reader in the first issue isn’t the worst thing in the world.Â He also has a letter’s page where he addresses some of the more confusing elements and shows that he does have a plan, and has no intention of letting so much time lapse between issues this time around.Â Sounds good to me, but forgive me if I’ve gotten a bit cynical about that claim over the 8+ years I’ve been running this site…Â $4.95