Well, it’s a benefit book for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which is about as worthy a cause as you’re likely to find in the comics world, so I don’t want to say too much bad about it. The problem is that it pretty much sucked. All of the names that I bought this for just put in some old strips. I don’t know if that’s what everybody but I’d have to guess that that was the case. Greg Vondruska, Neil Fitzpatrick, Stan Yan, Dave Law, Barrett Lombardo, Kistof Spacey & Sal Cipriano, Chris Staggs & Marc Deering and Jose Mochove had stories of varying degrees of interest in the book (actually, I thought the Jose Mochove stuff was the highlight of the book, so check out his site). As for everything else, I either thought it was stupid or mediocre. One man’s opinion, granted, but there it is. If you want to give the CBLDF money, just go their website and make a donation. It might look like I put a lot of names up in the “OK” pile, but I was being generous and some of the other stuff was really bad. It’s cheap at $4.95, but that’s the best thing I can say about it. Stay away, Joe.
Altered Realities 2000
Welcome to an annual anthology of fighting, killing, and more macho cliches than you can shake a stick at. Most of the stuff in here is written by Sal (but not illustrated), which is why I chose to pick on him. Let’s get one thing clear here. I’ve seen a lot of comics like this in my day, and this one is better than most. That being said, most of them are really bad and this one is somewhere between bad and “his heart’s in the right place”. At least he knows how to spell, that’s always good for some easy points with me… Anyway, the comic. This has a story of a boy who hears voices (but the voices are real and the boy can command them, kind of), a breakup, mostly naked girls fighting, pinups, a boxer who was supposed to throw his fight, a reality eraser, and a bully picking on a fat kid and a slut. A lot there, obviously. The highlight of the book is the story of the fat kid, done by Darrell Landa. A cute story, if a bit predictable. Everything else is OK for what it is. Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad, but it’s mostly OK. He’s keeping it cheap (this is a fat book at 64 pages and it’s $2) and he’s trying to keep it on a yearly schedule. It might be worth a look for some of you, if you like a lot of mindless violence with a few interesting plot points thrown in amidst all the junk. Send some money to him at 1819 West 11th St. Brooklyn, NY 11223, or e-mail him to see what else he has available. This sample is from one of two quiet stories in the whole book, so don’t think that they’re all this heavy on dialogue…