Are you somebody who likes to laugh while reading comics? One of those old fashioned types whoâ€™s here for the â€œfunny bookâ€ aspect of it all? This is, and somebody please correct me if Iâ€™m wrong, the funniest book youâ€™re likely to find. I could really cut and paste the reviews for all issues of Hickee, with a few minor changes for actual stories, and leave it at that. Putting out a book that makes me laugh out loud more than a few times is an impressive enough achievement, putting out multiple books that do that is Â at this point. OK, fine, so itâ€™s funny. Whatâ€™s in this particular issue thatâ€™ll get you to check it out? There are a number of short piece by Nathan Stapley, including Depressed Pitcher, Football Players, Good Game, and Pee Weeâ€™s. Thereâ€™s Joop Joop by Razmig Mavlian, in which we get to see what happens when all the wishes of a small female child come true. Or maybe youâ€™d prefer Getting Creamed by Joe White, an epic adventure of a farmer trying to milk his cow. Perhaps Gladiating by Scott Campbell, because somebody has to root for the guy with a net as his weapon. Not convinced yet? How about The Anna Nicole Smith Board Game by Vamberto Maduro (what, too soon?), a wonderful guide of her path to fame, fortune and early death. And, as always, Graham Annable raises the bar for funny with his piece, Frankâ€™s Big Hand, in which a losing poker player finally has enough. Itâ€™s cheap at $2.95, that cover could fold out into a board game if you wanted to buy two copies and wreck the other one, and I did mention the part about all the laughing, right?
Anybody out there looking for the funniest anthology ever? EVER? OK, maybe some people would contest that, and I’m sure there are a few things that I’m forgetting, but this is the total package. I bought it because I mistakenly thought it was a new Graham Annable comic, but boy am I glad I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, he does have the funniest story in here, out of four or five that are tied for funniest. There’s one story that’s retelling a song (even that had funny art), one with a guy farting and one that might have had a moral. Those were the ones that were below perfect. Everything else… ah, why rave about it? I’ll put the single funniest page in comics up as a sample (note from 8/6/07: turn out the computer ate those funny pages. Sorry). If you disagree, well, don’t buy it. If you agree at all, it’s all going to be funny to you. That story actually continues and gets even funnier, if you can believe that. Watch out because Alternative Comics is putting out a collected edition of this in a few months and you’d better believe that it’ll be up here as soon as I see it online. Here’s a list of contributors, and don’t let the fact that you might not have heard of these people scare you: Joe White, Marc Overney, Nathan Stapley, Razmig Mavlian, Scott Campbell, and Graham Annable. Anybody know if they have any solo efforts? E-mail the crew for ordering info or just wait for the big book…
The Bridge Project
Just so it’s clear, as of 10/07/09 that website is still “under construction”.Â Well, it does lead to a fair amount of samples from Matt and other places to learn about this book, so it’s better than most “under construction” websites, and this book is new enough that it might really be under construction.Â I’ve just become jaded from seeing that warning on countless websites only to have the construction never start.Â Anyway, how about the book?Â This is an anthology with a unique goal: team up on cartoonist living in Portland with one living in San Francisco, let them do their thing and see what comes out of it.Â Some of these stories just have one person drawing, some of them mix both artists in, but the mildly surprising thing is how well all of this works.Â Collaborations can be a tricky business, but Matt seems to have found the magic formula.Â This did take a couple of years to put together, so I guess technically he did have time to work some bugs out.Â Stories in here include The Forlorn Hope (by Shannon O’Leary & Ryan Alexander-Tanner, dealing with the infamous Donner party), The “The Bridge Project” Project (by Peter Conrad, the only solo piece in the book due to Peter’s partner crapping out on him), Nerd Prom (by Carolyn Main & Jesse Baggs about cartoonists in relationships getting along a little too well at a convention), Shanghooked (by Graham Annable & Scott Campbell), Lost Intersection (by Matt Leunig & Seamus Heffernan, the heart of the book), Jumpers (by Sina Grace & Susan Tardif, about a long distance relationship disintegrating), Future Jerks (by Jonathan Hill & Calvin Wong about, um, vegan jerks in the future), Dark Matter (by Tom Lechner & John Isaacson, dealing with an especially creepy invasion), The MVPs (by Josh Frankel & Greg Means, it’s about star basketball players yearning to make comics), and The Doppelganger (by Tessa Brunton & Vanessa Grunton, it’s all about the various evil twins we have all over the place.Â All that and there’s still room for a couple of short pieces by Rina Ayuyang & Erika Moen (an untitled piece about trying to fit in in Portland), Mari Naomi & Rachel Mendez (Inga and the Whales, a heartbreaking tale (almost certainly an urban legend) about a whale thanking its rescuers), and David Chelsea & Two Fine Chaps (that’s really what they’re called, it deals with David’s uncle having a stroke).Â It’s packed, is what I’m trying to say, and there’s really not a weak piece in the bunch.Â Graham Annable is always worth the price of admission to me and his piece on the sea serpent was brilliant, there were some damned useful tips in The Doppelganger (if you ever run into yours, that is), Peter Conrad was far too nice in not naming the slacker that promised him a script for months, and the center of the book by Matt & Seamus, dealing with a few people and their relationships over the years, was a perfect place to do some artist swapping.Â So now that I’ve mentioned how great the content was, I at least have to mention the layout.Â No table of contents, but that was made up for by the inclusion on the bottom of every page of the artists.Â Â It seems to be the norm not to mention that on the page in anthologies, and it bugs me every time it’s not included, so kudos to Matt for that.Â It’s an impressive achievement, here’s hoping this didn’t scare him off editing anthologies altogether and he can keep this concept going with other cities.Â And did I mention this is a measly $9.95?