Romantic Mayhem Pocket Book
OK, I’m only assuming that everybody involved is an Irish artist, and those assumptions never end well, but I’ll no doubt be corrected if I’m wrong. Which I probably am. Moving on! Romance is a ripe environment for parody. Granted, some of these stories almost play it straight, but it’s an inherently ridiculous concept that is clung to by otherwise well-meaning people well past the point where it makes any kind of logical sense. But it’s romance, so logic rarely plays a role. But enough about me, how about these stories? It starts off with a story by Paddy Brown and Gar Shanley that nicely plays up the internal dialogue bits that overtake so many romance stories. In this case it literally does just that, as the thoughts of the smitten young woman completely overtake whatever the man is actually saying, with a conclusion that manages to be both hilarious and inevitable. Next up is a piece by Cathal Duggan about a young woman from fancy pants breeding that falls in love with the pool boy. The way she picked the last word or two of what the other young suitor said as her questions was brilliant. That sentence will make perfect sense if you’ve read the book, otherwise not so much. Ian Pettitt has a nice piece about jealousy (done in brightly colored romance comic style), John Robbins’ story deals with taking a virgin through the three necessary steps to become a woman, Davy Francis and Gar Shanley have the life’s story of a woman who has the hots for god (that’s the sample below, and the last thing said in that sample may well be my favorite thing in the book), Alan Nolan has a quick story about a woman whose super power is to change into any outfit that she wants (while then picking up the skills associated with that outfit), Deirdre De Barra and Gar Shanley mix an astrology lady with a scientist man with unfortunate results, Ronan Kennedy wins the the prize for the creepiest story that I don’t want to spoil even a little bit, and the zipatone is all the last story by Archie Templar and Gar Shanley, which deals with a woman who waits by the phone for her lover to call all throughout her life. There are a few other bits as well that I’ll leave as a surprise, like those fantastic fake ads or a few other short pieces. Overall it’s a pretty damned solid anthology, with only a piece or two that I’d qualify as “meh.” For an anthology it’s always amazing to me when at least one story isn’t actively bad, and there were no such things here. As for the price, I have no idea. I’ve seen it listed for digital download for around $4, but then I saw another site where the actual comic was going for something like $30. So who knows? Maybe I’ll get that cleared up when I figure out if listing this under “Various Irish Artists” was literally true.
Matter Summer Special Now Available! $5
Huzzah for no panels! OK, so the title page has panels, but the entire comic is free of panels, just images floating in a structureless background. Don’t panic, all you lovers of panels, it’s perfect for the story. This is the tale of two friends, one of which has no higher goal in life than to relax and get high, the other who is trying to “grow up” and fit in at his normal job. Sadly, the pot runs out, leading Whitey White (can you guess which one that is from the cover?) to order drugs online. Said drugs end up being a sort of dimensional portal and things get complicated in a hurry, with a giant corporation, another world, and a strongman enforcer all coming into the picture. Any more info ruins what is truly a great ride, as following all the steps in interdimensional travel and what allows people to travel and why is at the heart of the book. It’s a great book all around, and I have no idea what else Philip has done (although he does pop up on the enormous Various page), but if this is his first book the man can certainly go places. If it’s not his first book he probably already has gone places and I’m just the last to hear about it…