Robots Are People, Too! #1
I figured it would be a difficult thing for this comic to live up to that cover, and it managed to pull it off rather easily.Â Note: I’m just guessing on the number, as Greg sent along other issues of this series as well, but it makes sense to me.Â So what, this comic is all about robots?Â Well yeah, what else would you expect from that title?Â The themes here stay fairly similar, but there’s more than enough variety to satisfy the cynics.Â Unless you hate robots altogether, or think it’s only a matter of time before they rule us all.Â Silly people!Â What makes you think the human race is going to survive long enough to be taken over by robots?Â Stories in this book of wonders include Let Me Tell You About My Mother by Victor Claudio (a surreal tale with the dialogue being taken entirely from Blade Runner), Great Americans by Lou Copeland (in which the true history of Davy Crockett is revealed), People Are Robots, Too by Steven Mangold (a fascinating text piece about the point at which a machine might reach independent consciousness and what happens next), Android Institute by Jerry Stanford (a parody of the old comic book ads), Rodney vs. Jer. Mac by Jason Franks (in which the horrible sin of clip art is saved by a great punchline), Lonely Robot by Daniel Boyd (a silent piece about, um, a lonely robot), Dick Danger by Fran Matera (a noir thriller about mistaking a femmebot for a woman), Handybot by LaMontagne, Mangold & Wiedemer (possibly the highlight of the book, a fake legal disclaimer detailing all the potential troubles of owning the HandyBot (formerly Destructomat)), some sketchbook pages by a variety of folks (this killed the momentum of the book a bit but they were still interesting sketches), and …Only Flesh and Blood by Greg Vondruskra (in which a robot sort of falls for a human, but does realize that this one will never live to see Halley’s Comet again).Â I don’t know if this series is still going (this issue came out in 2007), but if it’s not it should be.Â I would think this would be the sort of thing all sorts of small press folk could get behind if given the chance.Â Greg’s site leaves that a bit of a mystery, along with whether or not you can get copies from him.Â Oh well, if you can find it and if you’re a fan of robots, it’s more than worth the effort.Â $5
Anybody out there curious what the British comic scene is like these days? No? Then shame on you, there’s nothing for you to see here. For the sane members of the viewing audience, read on. There are eight artists in this, four of which are on this site somewhere: Gary Northfield, Nick Abadzis, Tom Gauld and Dave Shelton. The concept of this anthology is simple: each creator gets to work with one sentence, and one sentence only, of their choosing. Then they have six pages to tell that story, only using the words in that sentence, if any. Here are the sentences: I want your body and soul; Walk towards the light; What could possibly go wrong?; You’ve gone up in my book now your grandad had a hook; Like a bird-call, but harsh and distorted, like sounds in a cave; Be a happy, healthy dog; Heavens to Betsy, Miss Wickerstaff, have you no shame?; and If I stumbled from your party at three in the morning, would everything turn out fine? There’s not a single bad story in here. My favorite of the bunch changed almost every time I read a new one, which makes this nothing short of a phenomenal success in my book. The price is a bit steep at $12.50 but this is a rare chance to see creators from “across the pond”, as they say, all in one place and getting the chance to really shine. Here’s the e-mail address of the publisher and I really think this book should get some attention…
Landscape of Possibilities
Flip books are one of my favorite things as far as comics are concerned, but I hate to review ’em. Just a matter of not knowing how to categorize, so don’t mind me. The other half of this is Net Result by Paul Peart-Smith, and I’ll get to that in the next couple of days. As for this one, there are two pieces in here by Nick. Am I allowed to call a comic “wordless” if the main character never speaks but there are words literally all over the place? Well, I’m going to anyway. In the first wordless tale, a young man is just trying to find his place in the world when he finds a home. Things are more complicated than they appear, but I’m not giving away more than that. The second story is a couple of friends watching tv when one of them realizes how stupid the whole thing is and tries to find something better. These are, of course, just my interpretations of wordless stories, so I could be completely wrong. Maybe they’re both about the wonders of the Republican Party and I’m just missing the subtleties, but I’m betting against that. Good stuff from Nick, as always. Contact info is up there, I’ll review the other half of this in a few days or so…
Before I say anything at all about this comic, I want you to look up at the other work of his I had read, The Amazing Mr. Pleebus. Now I want you to look at a sample from this comic.
Granted, I didn’t think that Nick only did children’s books, but this range of stories was a very welcome surprise. You have a man telling the story of the life he would like to live (my favorite in the bunch, it involves him living in hotels and having sex with the fattest prostitutes he can find after his band plays), a man who floats, an agnostic dog, a sheep with an identity crisis, a lighthouse named Eric, and two men who are on very different life paths. All kinds of great stuff in here and this is well worth checking out, especially for anybody who’s read all the Mr. Pleebus stuff and thinks they know what Nick is all about. Send the man an e-mail and see what other things he’s done. Oh, I should also mention that these are all from the early to mid 90’s, so I’m not sure where his focus is these days.
The Freaky Beastie of Hill Road School Now Available! $8.50
This comic has the amazing ability to make me want to have kids just so I can read this to them. I’ve read the other two books in the series now, and it’s pretty clear that this is an adventure series meant mostly for kids, but there is so much here for everybody to look at. You can just marvel at the art, and it’s rare when I can’t find at least one lazy panel in the whole thing. Backgrounds a’plenty, the kid’s rooms are intricate and have all kinds of stuff that your average kid would have in them, and the glimpses we get of Plabbu are fascinating. This volume is about the evil Pleebus (called Subeelp, and let me know if you need help figuring the name out) and his attempts to finish the mission of the Grooble King from the last volume. This one was almost too grounded in reality, as much of it was spent at school, but that’s the extent of my negative commenting on the story. Unless I’m just way too far removed from being a kid, I think that any kid in the world would love these books. They’re cheap, they’re pretty big for the size and they’re gorgeous. Contact info is around here somewhere, or you could contact me for copies, if you’re so inclined…
The Magic Skateboard Now Available! $8.50
Any complaints I might have had in the last volume about the whole thing being too grounded in reality were completely removed in this one. The story here is that the kids get a magic skateboard with a cryptic message on how to get to Plabbu after the original gateway is accidentally destroyed. Here, really, is the first time that the true complexity of the world that they’re dealing with is revealed, as they see a talking lion, a giant frog and a dragon, among many other things are too complex for their childish minds, but which might get a chuckle out of some of older folks. Also, I have to say that that skateboard, for whatever reason, is now my favorite character in the series. It doesn’t say anything intelligible, it’s just something about those eyes. Anyway, this is the best book of the series by far, and that’s saying quite a bit. This isn’t one of those series where you don’t need to read the other books, though, as there is no recap that I can see and everything that the kids do is assuming that you know what happened in the previous books. I hope he’s planning more of these (I see this was done in 2001) and I hope more people start to stand up and take notice, because there aren’t enough quality comics out there for children. Contact info is up there, get ahold of him or ask me for some of the copies he sent my way…
The Amazing Mr. Pleebus Now Available! $8.50
There aren’t too many books out there where you can honestly say that everybody would love them. That’s true of the best books, like Love and Rockets, because you have to be old enough to understand what’s going on. This book almost reads like a children’s book but, like the best children’s books, has enough innovation and imagination to make it hold up for adults too. The story in this one is that Mr. Pleebus comes into the world through a television, but is followed by evil creatures called Grooblies who are trying to take him back. That’s the simple version of the story, as I’m not going to tell you where it all goes from there. There’s an incredibly colorful cast of characters with more than a few bizarre objects scattered throughout. I was waiting to get this one before I decided whether or not I was going to buy the second book, and frankly I’m sold. I couldn’t find this anywhere online, but you can always get ahold of the publishers at Rising Trout Press P.O. Box 305 Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 8WA, UK. Oh yeah, and it’s $8.50.