Before I get into any of the content, I just want to point out that this is one of the most beautifully colored books that I’ve ever seen. Granted, a lot of small press anthologies are in black and white, but every story in this collection is colored beautifully, up to and including the collages by Josh Burggraf. So hey, what about the content? This is a collection of science fiction stories on a variety of different themes. Some (but by no means all) of my favorites included Vincent Giard’s tale on perspective in movement and meaning, Jason Murphy’s conceptual struggle, Lala Albert’s piece on mutations caused by a certain type of water and what people do with said mutations, a lengthy wordless piece by Alex Degen about virtual reality and the consequences of dreaming, William Cardini’s depiction of the death of a planet and the aftermath, Pat Aulisio playing around in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with mad dogs and killer lizards, Aleks Sennwald and Pete Toms showing the lingering effect of ads on the environment (even long after humanity is gone), and Anuj Shreshta’s story on the increasing ease of blocking out all bad thoughts and opinions and the consequences of those actions. Aside from being just damned pretty, this is also one of the more thoughtful science fiction comics I’ve read in ages. The last two stories I mentioned alone had several comments and images in each of them that made me stop and think or examine an assumption I’d had from a different angle, which is always welcome. No anthology is ever going to be perfect for everybody, but if you can’t find several stories in here to love then maybe the fault is on your end. $18
Is it condescending for me to say that it feels like Pat is now all grown up as an artist? Almost certainly, yes. But hey, I have been reviewing his comics for around 10 years and have nothing but respect for the sheer volume and increasing quality of his comics, so I’m going to say it anyway. And that’s with me not fully understanding everything that goes down in this comic, but that feels more like a failing on my part than on his. First off, giving the hero of the book a horse with the head of Garfield was brilliant. And yes, it does say/think various Garfield-like things throughout the book. Our hero is chasing down some creature/man, eventually catches up to it and savagely bashes its head in. After that he takes the leftover bits of uniform from the creature and puts them on (as detailed in the sample below, which is probably the simplest page of the comic). There are also a few flashbacks thrown into this book to show how our hero got to this point, although honestly they could have been made to look a bit more distinct from the rest of the book to avoid confusion. Anyway, our hero goes to a big city with his new uniform, and those few pages have more detail that most entire comics. I don’t think Pat left a bit of background blank in this entire book, and the result is a feeling of complete immersion in this world. Things get increasingly ridiculous (and I mean that in the best possible sense) from there, with space gods, giant monsters and huge battles going on all over the place. My only complaint is that I wish the translation for the letters of the alien language could have come at the start of the book instead of the end, but other than that my advice is to sit back, relax, and let this book wash over you. And then read it again, as you’re probably going to need to to put the whole story together. And then flip through it one more time, without reading anything, just to appreciate everything that he’s thrown into the backgrounds. So yeah, I’d say that’s worth $5.
At least I’m pretty sure Pat is the editor for this issue, with all that artistic expression going on around that guy it’s hard to tell sometimes.Â This is another anthology by what appear to be locals around Philadelphia, as they include a class schedule for people interested in signing up… back in September.Â Just a note to anybody who sends me time sensitive comics: send me an e-mail mentioning this fact, as if it comes on a note with the comic those two things often get separated.Â I try to do new releases first and then go back to the older stuff, but what with the whole “Pat Aulisio Tuesdays” theme I’ve just been grabbing whichever book of his is handy.Â Wasn’t there a comic here somewhere?Â Ah yes.Â This is short but tall and vibrantly colorful.Â There’s Ian Harker with a piece about… yeah, not going to touch that one.Â Beth Heinly has the sampled piece, as I have an elderly grandmother’s resistance to cat-related strips.Â Box Brown, Pat Aulisio and James T. Arnold share a page of strips about fantasy, the distant future and animal funnies respectively.Â Bradford Haubrich then has the bulk of the comic with different pieces using layered techniques to make a better whole.Â Or something, I’m not so good with the technical descriptions of art, in case that wasn’t blindingly obvious by now.Â Steven Streisguth brings up the rear with a couple of gorgeous black and white pieces.Â Pterodactyl is the group putting this together, and their motto is in part: “To revive the enjoyment and practice of creating art for personal fulfillment, to create exhibitions and experiences that resonate with diverse audiences, and to bring people together through the arts.”Â Sounds good to me and, especially if you know and love the people involved, this is definitely worth checking out.Â How you get a copy is another question, but I’ll pass it along here if I find anything out…
If there’s one thing I hate about Pat’s comics, it’s that they’re so linear and easy to understand.Â Wait, where’s my “snark” button?Â Yes, that may have been sarcasm, but Pat gives up the ghost entirely here with this comic.Â The title is absolutely accurate, as this mini appears to have once been an actual comic, then it was printed over with another comic, then possibly another comic.Â The result is occasionally fascinating (I’m not sure if my scan did the sampled page justice), but in no way resembles a coherent story.Â If that’s all you’re asking for in a comic, run for the hills!Â If you’re willing to read something that won’t make any kind of literal sense but that will still leave you with a visceral impression, or if you’re already a fan of Pat’s, then you might want to give this a shot.Â This also comes with a minier mini, a little black and white things that’s shoved into this color comic, which features abstract art as well, but only one layer of it for panel so at least you have some idea what you’re looking at.Â Not much more to say about it than that, and I’ll forgo my usual urge to just keep rambling until something stops me.Â As this can’t be judged against other comics, I can’t say whether it’s good or bad, if those concepts even mean all that much to you.Â I don’t see this listed for sale on his site (update that list dude, you have all kinds of new comics to put up there!), but I’d say it’s in the $2-4 range.
Secret Prison #2
Here’s hoping it’s still OK to use images from the internets for the review, as it’s impossible for me to scan the newspaper sized stuff.Â And if you agree with me that Benjamin Marra is tearing shit up with that cover, you should see the back cover by Pat Aulisio.Â I’m also not entirely sure if it’s possible for any old schmuck online to get a copy of this, as I think it’s only available at cons, but that’s a damned shame for a pile of great strips like this.Â Share it with the world!Â If I’m not mistaken (and I probably am) this one is even longer than the last issue, and it’s one of those rare anthologies with no really weak pieces.Â Sure, some things are better than others, whatever that means, but everything in here has something going for it.Â Strips in here (and they are strips, nothing is longer than 2 pages) include Pat’s tale of deliciously sorrowful soul, Luke Pearson’s absolutely brilliant “How to Exist For a Day,” Ian’s silent cubed spy story, Josh Burggraf’s text message-a-rific story of need, Cody Pickrodt with some true confessions, Bob Pistilli going a long way for a great ending, Box Brown and his experience with an exotic “delicacy,” the story behind that ridiculously good cover by Benjamin Marra, Art Baxter loving the summer, Simon Gardenfors getting the most out of his page with a series of mishaps involving a round dude wearing underwear, Kelly Phillips wondering if there’s a line cardiologists should not cross, Cyn Why with a tale for the ages, Steve Teare going to heaven, Doug Slack with a pile of funnies, and Jose Mochove & Rusty Rowley using photos to destroy us with reality.Â I skipped a few to leave some surprises for people who manage to find an actual copy of this, not that I spoiled too much for the other stories, but everybody likes surprises, right?Â Seriously, show this to the world, you guys!Â A working table of contents, a huge pile of talent, this should not be kept away from the world at large.Â Unless it isn’t, and I’m wrong, in which case let me know and I’ll tell people here how to buy it.
Philly Alternative Comic Con 2010
Well, at least I think Pat was the editor.Â He put the book together, anyway, and that’s basically the same thing.Â Sadly, it’s one of those anthologies without a coherent table of contents (although I did like the look of the one Box Brown put together), so a lot of these stories are going to be reviewed through a bit of guesswork and process of elimination.Â Stories in here include a very colorful mess from Pat, Liz Baillie keeping the tradition of record collecting alive, Hawk Krall with some disgusting but hilarious pranks, Dina Kelberman’s inimitable comics (with a drunken disclaimer tacked onto the bottom), Mike Sgier with a futuristic tale of trying to cap an uncontrollably spewing well, Ian Harker’s love of flying, L. Nichols and going along to get along, and Sally Bloodbath & Matt Wiegle with a piece on the most horrible child alive and her fitting end.Â That leaves a few pieces without a noticeable creator, so in no particular order, the other stories in here dealt with making a friend (literally), trying to make art to please a critic, and two grotesque creatures sharing an apartment and their antics.Â Chris McDonnell probably did the first two pieces and Lance Hansen probably did the last story (which was actually a series of smaller stories), and I say “probably” because that’s where my coin flip landed, and when has that ever been wrong?Â Box Brown did the covers and has a lovely group of people at the end of their lives bemoaning their lack of buying quality comics in their lives, something you should all take to heart.Â As this was from a con I have no idea if it’s still readily available to the world, but as it’s all in color, gorgeous and full of talent, you should hunt it down if at all possible.Â Pat would probably know if it was around, why not check it with him?Â Or I can post a little update here if I hear anything, how about that?Â No price, but $5 sounds nice, if possibly too low.
I have very few rules on this site, but a big one is not spoiling the end of a comic.Â I have broken this rule utterly today, as the sampled image is the last page of this absolute blast of a comic.Â Why would I do such a thing?Â Just look at that image.Â If that isn’t the most awesome thing you’ve seen today, you must have had a shockingly awesome day already.Â There’s also the fact that practically every page of this short mini has something incredible in it, and you understand my feeling of justification here.Â This is, essentially, a video game told in comics form.Â The hero (who looks suspiciously like Ultimate Warrior from the old WWF days) starts off punching flunkies, moves on to a bigger boss, lands in a toxic sewer fighting frogmen and an alligator, before finally ending up fighting the boss of the whole thing.Â The tacos and turkeys laying around made the comic for me, as who hasn’t played a game with oddly placed food items sitting around to restore your health?Â Again, I hope giving away the ending isn’t too horrible of a thing to have done but, if you don’t use that line below the next time you see a fight, there is something seriously wrong with you.Â No idea of a price here, but as it’s all in color it’s probably in the $3-5 range…
I’ve decided: for certain artists, I’m going to be as hypocritical as possible and decide that spelling errors are OK.Â I know, I bitch about it all the time for most every person on this site (at least the ones who always screw it up), but Pat gets a pass.Â Why?Â Hm.Â Well, there’s just something hilarious about a story predicated on the notion of a lack of oscillation of a fan where the author can’t even spell “oscillation” correctly.Â Not that it’s an easy word, but simply typing a variation of the word into the Google will get you the correct answer.Â He actually started off the story wrong and shifted to the correct spelling towards the end, like somebody told him the correct spelling and he couldn’t be bothered to fix the earlier errors.Â In a book that is artistically his best book yet, I choose to be be amused instead of shaking my head in despair.Â Hey, progress!Â Not that that lets the rest of you off the hook, and this hypocrisy might go away entirely for the next Aulisio book.Â So anyway, how about this comic?Â It’s huge, magazine-sized (and yet still considered a mini comic), and there’s even a burst in the middle when we get to see his artwork in glorious color.Â Jogger (who you might remember from at least one older Aulisio book) is perfectly content to sit in his room with his fan.Â Suddenly it stops oscillating, and he travels throughout the world to find a way to fix this problem.Â Along the way he crosses over the outer barrier, wanders silently through some thoroughly bizarre landscape, gets a cube from the King of Cubes (useless to solve his problem, but hey, he did ask the King of Cubes for help), calls a friend and is informed that he was given a very special cube, uses said cube to stop a whirling vortex by transferring this vortex directly into his brain, goes into a negative space, and meets up with the King of Crystals.Â Can you guess how he tries to help Jogger?Â There are long stretches of silence in this book, but he’s found a happy medium between silent comics and, um, talkies with this one.Â Those wide vistas of utter chaos are needed to help rein in the more casual conversation.Â There’s no price, but a book with color involved that’s this huge has to be at least $5.
Secret Prison #1
Ah, the wonders of the newspaper style anthology comic.Â It’s impossible for me to scan, but luckily I was able to um, “borrow for all time” (sounds so much nicer than stealing, and I’ll be happy to take them down and have this instead posted with no images if necessary) a couple of images, so you don’t have to go into this blind.Â One problem with this springs instantly to mind: I’m not sure how people are supposed to get a copy of it outside of being at one of the cons where this and the upcoming issue #2 will be presented.Â I say “presented” instead of “sold”, as this one is listed as free right there on the cover.Â At the moment Pat is trying to pull together the funds for the second issue.Â By donating to the cause you can get the first and second issues in the mail, so that’s at least one way to see them, and you have the added benefit of helping out a worthy endeavor.Â As usual with anthologies, this one is a bit of a mixed bag.Â More good than bad though, including strips by Art Baxter (dealing with a reluctance to go forward and “living” with the consequences of working up the courage), Box Brown (in which a Googling quest to find news on Audie Murphy turns into self-reflection and slumber), Cyn Why on the high price of becoming Queen on the Internet (at least I think it’s her, if that list of the contributors at the start of the book is the order in which they appear), Kelly Phillips showing the life of a grumpy mountain, Steve Teare with a brutal beating, and Jason Clarke with a problem solver.Â Actually, looking through the pieces I didn’t mention it’s not like there’s a ton of badness there either.Â There’s Pat Aulisio’sÂ strip, sampled below, and his art keeps getting tighter all the time.Â Bob Pistilli’s Skortch seems to be the start of something bigger and at least has the decency to show us lots of naked ladies while we wait for the story to develop.Â Ian Harker has the quiet, sad life of a super villain (?) on an almost inconceivable world.Â Beth Heinly has the simplest piece of the comic that I can’t talk about even a little without giving away.Â Tommy Rudmose has a man literally confined to the panel walls. Andrea Grigoropl & Dan Fitz have a piece of a man, after being hit by a bus, making his own decision about going on with life.Â That’s everything, and there’s not much bad there at all.Â Some things need to be fleshed out a bit more, which will have a chance to happen if they can afford to make the next issue, but most everything in there works as a single page story.Â I’ll update this page if I get a clear idea of where exactly you could get a copy of this and future issues, but in the meantime keep an eye out at cons.
Because I make such a mess of trying to explain these things coherently, here’s the intro from the author: “Meet Quotidian, a joyful gent who’s fond of an adventure or two. Join him in his everyday life of exploring the world, fighting off wild beasts, getting loaded, and rocking out with his band”. It’s a silent tale of Quotidian, a “gent” that looks sort of like the blob in a gorilla suit. He does the things mentioned above and even falls in love, or at least lust. Pat’s work has vaguely reminded me of Jim Woodring’s Frank stuff for a while, but this is the closest it has come to that work in quality. I wouldn’t say he’s there yet, but give him another 20 years or so at this (like Mr. Woodring) and he’s got a shot at it. I love how almost nothing in his books comes from the real world. It’s a joy to see something that comes this purely from imagination, even if the mind behind it is a bit warped. Hell, especially if the mind behind it is a bit warped. Oh, and Quotidian also shoots what looks like a laser beam out of his groin. And have I mentioned yet that the whole comic is a story, no sketchbook pages or shorties in there to mess up the flow? Excellent stuff, and the perfect book to introduce people to Pat, as I’m pretty sure there’s nothing to particularly offend in this one…
Pat seems to be all over the place with his issue titles, which is fine by me (and the title here is wonderful once you read the definition on the cover), as he doesn’t seem to be going for a long narrative at the moment anyway. This one is another collection of odds and ends. There’s the one coherent story from Creatures Saying Foul Things, a wonderfully disgusting story following a mosquitoish creature that infects an ape, a fat rocker eating dinner, some violence to an adorable creature, and, of course, a trip through monster forest. Tucked in with all of this are many pages of sketches and other shorties from guest artists, and it all rounds out to a pretty solid issue. As always, kudos to Pat for keeping these things cheap and I for one don’t mind a bit watching him figure out new and interesting ways to creep me out every few months or so…
Badassitude (flip comic with Craig Coleman) Now Available! $1
Look out, it’s a flip book! OK, possibly nothing to get alarmed about after all. I wish more people would do comics this way; it’s a great way to see people that you’ve possibly never heard of. Pat has a couple of selections for his half. First there’s a silent tale with a rocking band, vomited from the very heavens to rock. Then there’s a shortie that you might have already seen if you’d ordered his stuff from the online store, as I was passing it out as a freebie, about a couple of, um, “guys” talking about a new hot chick at work while going about their business. Craig’s side of things is relatively simple: a whore gets shorted on her pay and takes it out on everybody near her, samurai style. Granted, the ending was something you could see coming, but it was nicely done. All in all, a pretty decent mix of stories for a buck.
Pat seems to be getting tired of telling anything remotely resembling a traditional story. Of course, traditional storytelling is overrated anyway, so it doesn’t make that big of a difference. Even in his one “main” story here, involving people watching advanced aliens of all kinds have sex (until they eventually start having sex with them too, and then bad things are bound to happen), he breaks up the four page tale with a couple of asides. Then most of the rest of the book is simply images of various horrific creatures as well as a few one page stories about puking and a persuasive giraffe. Another OK issue but I prefer it with a bit more story. Purely personal preference, as it’s hard to look at that cover and not love this issue more than just a little bit…
Who likes things growing out of places where they shouldn’t? Or a prostitute service where you get to eat the hooker when you’re done? Or Bananoid? This is collection of random short stories mixed in with a lot of sketchbook pages (or something that looks suspiciously like sketchbook pages), which is the kind of thing that usually annoys me as obvious filler, but in this case it lends to the overall creepy feeling you get when reading these stories, so it all works out in the end. Probably only half of this is “story”, but you won’t feel cheated on those sketches, I can tell you that. Sickened, perhaps, but if you’re looking for fluffy bunnies these comics aren’t probably the first place you would look. Although there are bunny slippers in this, and Pat manages to make even that look slightly deranged. Regardless, this is another good one, if you don’t mind a little bit of nastiness.
Revolution With A Catchy Phrase Collected Edition Now Available! $2
Who’s been saying all along that the comics are the best part of this zine? I think it was me, unless I kept those comments to myself, but I’ve been thinking it all along, I swear I have. Anyway, this isn’t a complete collection by any means, as those samples from the first two issues don’t seem to be in here, but all the good stuff from #5 and some other stuff that I’ve never seen is in here. There’s no way in hell that I can make this all make some kind of logical sense in a review, but it’s a blast and funny, so you could do a whole lot worse. Oh, OK, here goes: in here you have eggs, a recycled grandma, Boca, orange juice, and all the things I talked about in my review for #5. If that makes it sound like it’s not so complicated after all, that’s only because I’m not telling it right. Look, it’s a bit sloppy, granted, but this isn’t a story that you’ve ever seen before or will ever see again, which is always a plus in my book.
Revolution With a Catchy Phrase #5 Now Available! $1.50
Remember how my only real complaint with the first two issues of this series was the essays and things done by people other than Pat? Well, I’m not sure when it happened (missed a couple of issues in there), but it’s all Pat now, meaning that it’s all comics, also meaning that it’s all completely bizarre. Oh, and the art looks better too. Still not fantastic, but getting to be pretty good. Do I have to try to decipher this for a review? Oh man… OK, I’ll try. There are these three…um, beings. One is a knight trying to find a quest, one is an old man who happens to torture and kill things, one is a satyr who also kills things, and one is what appears to be mostly a regular guy, at least so far. They all meet in a bar, have some adventures… aw, forget it. You have to read this to get anything at all out of it. What I just briefly described was the bulk of the comic. Other than that you have a relentless quest for eggs, a searing hot french fry, serious bloodshed, Boca, a man with a gun in his back, recycled grandma and a faulty human mask. Any serious quibbles I had with this comic are gone now, and you could do a whole lot worse than to check this out. Unless you’re looking for a coherent story with a happily ever after or the wonders of page after page of angst, then there are other places you could probably go. Contact info is up there, this one is also in the online store, if you’d rather buy it there…
Revolution with a Catchy Phrase #2
OK, this one isn’t as good. The comics are hilarious, don’t get me wrong. They’re growing on me in a big way. This one is about an old man, a clown, a ninja, Scott Baio, some monsters, and LeVar Burton. I’m not even going to try and describe it, but I’d like four pounds of whatever he’s on, unless it’s just plain old human kindness, in which case none for me, thanks. There are also a couple of short comics by Simon Kugel, one of which is funny, and one of which mostly isn’t. Still, enough to spend a dollar on, as long as you don’t bother with the essays. There’s one by a newcomer, Justin Klugh, which might have been good (it was about video games), but the copy was screwed up and it cuts off the first few letters of every line. I tried, but it was just too annoying to deal with. Alan Ferich talks about his life and Simon Kugel talks about shoes. Neither one of those is as dull as I’m making them out to be, but they’re sure not as exciting as you might think. Still, the comics make this completely worthwhile, and I liked the other essays from these guys, so they could definitely put something good together for #3. $1!
Revolution with a Catchy Phrase #1
I’m almost positive that I already have something from this guy up on the site, but I can’t find it. How sad is that? Anyway, this zine is ridiculous, and I mean that in the best possible way. The only comic story is about zombies who come to life while some people decide that they want to try and steal Tom Selleck’s soul. Jesus comes down to help and mayhem and hilarity ensue. It looks like crap, mostly, but there’s a sense of fun here that hard to completely ignore. Worth a look if you like old horror movies and Jesus. Then there are a couple of essays by Simon Kugel (and I know he’s around here somewhere) that tell about why a revolution isn’t going to happen and stuff about Capitalism. Throw in one final essay by Alan Ferich about why Adam Sandler and David Spade are stupid and you have a zine! It’s OK, overall. Not going to set the world on fire or anything, but fun. Oh, and there’s an interview with the band This Radiant Boy, another indie band I’ve never heard or. You damned kids! Here’s a website, this is $1.
Wow, this page is so old that I didn’t even have a spellcheck option.Â Huzzah for clearing out ancient typos!Â This is the first book I’ve seen from Pat in ages (and there were plenty more in the package), and he mentions in the letter that I’ve been reading his comics since he was 14 (he’s 23 now).Â Yes, I am indeed getting old.Â This comic is just what it looks like from that cover: a parody book of Marvel and DC heroes.Â There are a few stories in here, all of which have at least something to recommend them.Â First up is Spider-Man hanging out with Lizard, eventually getting MJ in on the action.Â Next you have the X-Men (Gambit, Wolverine, Cyclops and Storm in this case) drinking, going to band practice and accidentally blasting a hole in the wall of the girls bathroom.Â The story with Daredevil and Punisher ends up about where you’d expect it to if you’ve ever read the comics, as those two are so clearly in love with each other.Â Next is my personal favorite: Ghost Rider versus Aquaman.Â Ghost Rider has gone green, switching to a bicycle, and is almost run off the road by an inexplicably driving Aquaman.Â A hilariously brief fight ensues.Â Finally there’s a Batman story in which he tries to convince Superman to drink and smoke pot, gets Catwoman drunk and has sex with her on a pile of money.Â It’s great to hear from Pat again, even better to get some good old-fashioned parody stories of Marvel and DC big shots.Â No price on this but I’d guess a buck or two…