On Your Marks #1
Oh, what a crank I am. I get a pretty damned great anthology filled with small press people living in Seattle who could use a little more exposure and I can’t help thinking that I would have liked it better with a clear indication of which artists did which pages. They’re even all listed on the inside front cover, but they’re inside of a drawing, which makes some of them tough to make out. Does this take away from the quality of the content? Not one bit, no, as it’s not like it’s impossible to figure out who did certain pages with a little bit of work. Eh, I blame it on the general tone of the holiday season. All this Christmas music everywhere just bugs me. And if you ever needed more proof that I am in fact a total curmudgeon, there you have it. Anyway! This is a collection of mostly one page strips, done by all kinds of people that you either already know about or should be ashamed of yourself because you’ve never heard of them. Stories include Ben Horak having the comic he made when he was 6 read by adults (with a perfect final panel), Tom Van Deusen’s creepy piece about a head growing out of a roof and what happens when it’s removed, Bobby Madness and the sacrifice he made for the environment, Kelly Froh’s traumatic moment on an aimless afternoon, Pat Keck and his dungeon Gremlins, Aarow Mew and the result of his “spider” bite, Julia Gfrorer’s tale of a creepy ouija board experience, Rick Altergott and Pat Moriarty’s story of what cats think is going on with their litter boxes, Marc Palm’s Flannelwolf and Frankcan, Robyn Jordan’s worries about what she’ll be like in 10 years after she has kids, David Lasky’s questions about what you would do if you were a superhero, and Max Clotfelter’s mistaken assumption involving getting his older brother involved in protecting him. Like I said, it’s a damned solid anthology, full of ridiculously talented people. Maybe next time they’ll put page numbers on the pages to lessen my crankiness, or maybe it’s something I need to work on on my own and I’m sharing too much here… $4
Shitbeams on the Loose #2 (edited by Rusty Jordan)
Hey look, an anthology!Â I’ve never understood why so few of these clearly label who did which pages (some even have page listings for the artist without having the actual pages numbered).Â This one at least has a chronological listing of the artists, but the nature of this book makes it difficult to tell where one story ends and another begins.Â Why?Â They’re mostly highly interpretive blasts of art, that’s why.Â Still, I’ll give you a list of who’s in this and you’ll most likely be properly amazed and impressed.Â There’s Ron Rege Jr.(looking less deliberative than I’ve seen him, and I’m a bigger fan of that than I of the mildly sloppy story in this issue (said mostly because the bits of text are hard to follow)), Jason Overby (brilliantly smacking the preconceived notion of what makes a comic strip around), Dave Nuss (with a welcome quiet moment of the Roman soldier who theoretically jabbed Jesus in the ribs), Andrew Smith (puking a tuna melt is the worst), Hector Serna Jr. (I could spend the whole review trying to unpack those images), Brent Harada (with a mildly out of place regular old story about searching for boots in thrift stores), Robyn Jordan (a quiet piece about camping), John Hankiewicz (a breath of fresh, distinctive air in a sea of chaos), Grant Reynolds (with one of his more disturbing pieces, and that’s saying something), Ayo Kuramoto & Amane Yamamoto (please place your review here, this went right over my head), Rusty Jordan (this is where it starts getting really difficult to tell where one artist ends and another begins, I believe his piece is the one with the escaping brain), Luke Ramsey (ditto, I believe his stuff is the series of full page heads), and Andy Rementer (an oddly adorable piece after all this about a man, his bike and their mutual love).Â Or maybe Andy Rementer is the one who did that utterly horrific back cover?Â Hard to tell, and that website doesn’t clear it up a bit.Â Oh well, with that list of stars it’s a hard thing to pass up, and the quality of most of the stories makes it even more difficult.Â And if you don’t love that cover, well, I’m afraid there’s no hope for you.Â It is a fairly hefty $9, but it’s put together nicely.Â You decide!