Secret Aircraft of the Luftwaffe
I can’t believe it. I never thought I’d say that Sean Bieri did a book that I didn’t like, but there you have it. Sure, there are still a couple of laughs in here, but it’s Sean Bieri, for the love of all the holy babies. I should still be on the ground clutching my sides, not sitting here trying to think of the funny parts. OK, it was tiny, and OK, it’s at least 4 years old. This is a comic about the other types of aircraft that the Nazi’s developed after their air fleet was decimated, but funny. “Funny” and “Nazi” is a dicey proposition anyway, and it just didn’t do that much for me. There were a few really funny parts. The flying saucer bit was great. Still, I’d have to say that this is something you should get only if you’re a huge fan of Sean’s. For everybody else, it’s over before they can get the laughs. Contact info is above, at least it’s only $1…
Jape Volume 2 #1
Let me make one thing perfectly clear before I start: I am completely biased towards Sean Bieri. Jape was one of the first minis I read when I got on the alternative comics crazy train 15 years ago or so and I think he’s consistently the funniest person to ever do mini comics. Yes, ever. That being said… this may well be the funniest comic I’ve read this year. From the first page (the sample I used) to the last, not one dog in the bunch. In here you have pirates, a stuttering zombie, a cat fight, nostalgia hatred, looking like Michael Caine, guy hugging etiquette, and a handy alphabetical guide to things you should avoid in life. Oh, and all sorts of one page gag strips that I’m not even going to mention so as to leave plenty of surprises, as there’s not one good reason in the world that you don’t pick up a copy of this right now. He’s “relaunching” the series with Volume 2 here, so maybe if he sells enough of this one of the main small press comics companies will finally wise up and sign the guy. Let’s say $2 for this one even though it’s probably less…
Did I say before that Sean is better with longer stories? Well, this time around he’s better with one-liners, or maybe it’s just better all around. Probably about half of this is one-liners and the vast majority of them are hilarious. There’s also a conversation between two guys sitting around a bar talking about gay people, a zombie asking for loose change, two stories about grass (different kinds), and him making fun of Antiques Roadshow. I wish these things would come out more often than once in a blue moon, but it’s always a treat when they do. Still only $.50 too, contact info is up there…
Remember all that praise from the other issues? Well, this one was just so-so. It’s a series of one-page strips and, frankly, his strength lies with his longer stories. Unless, of course, you already read this and thought it was the best one, so what do I know? Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of moments of Jape goodness. I’m just used to laughing all the way through his comics, and I only laughed at about 3/4 of this one. Makes it awfully hard for me to make this review at all negative, but I still think that a bunch of his other issues are close to perfect. Hey, it’s his own damned fault for being so funny. Stories include Sean in the future, a perfect world, zombie Hitlers, milk, Aesop, haircuts and babies. Random enough for you? Seriously, there are few people out there that you could send $5 to and be guaranteed some serious belly laughs, and Sean fits the bill.
Fun With Zombies
I don’t know why I picked this one to review. Mostly so I could show you one page from it. I guess. If you haven’t gotten it yet, I think Sean is one of maybe a dozen cartoonists who are always funny. That’s hard to come by. You should be giving him all your money so he keeps his good mood.
This is long overdue. I read his Jape and 5 O’Clock Shadow comics years ago, but figured that everything was out of print when I started up the page. Well, I picked this up over the weekend at FLUKE (I think it was at the Top Shelf table, so you can always ask them if they have any copies laying around), so it is in print, and it’s well worth the $3. This has stuff from the older books, mostly, but a few of them at least were new to me. Stories in this one include Jesus, The Savior Man, Hard-Boiled Hygenist, Jesus is Cool in Any Age, Cannibal Picnic, Star Trek: The Next Muthafuckas, and Good ol’ Conan the Barbarian. I thought this guy should have been rich and famous for this stuff years ago, and I see nothing to change my opinion in this one. E-mail him and see what else he has around, but definitely buy this one when you do. Unless you hate the samples, of course, in which case you should go here instead.
You probably can’t tell from that scan, but this mini is so old that it actually has rust on the cover.Â At least I hope that’s rust…Â So, alas, my Japes are not in mint condition, and if the world at large ever discovers how funny Sean Bieri is, my fortune will not come from selling his old minis.Â Oh well, I’d rather not sell them anyway, so screw you world!Â This issue of Jape, as you can tell, starts off with a fantastic cover.Â That’s one thing I always loved about these old minis: he hit you with his sense of humor right off the bat, and if it was something you didn’t like (or that offended you), you knew it before you even opened the book.Â Stories in here include trying to find decent comics in a pile of shit (still an apt analogy for the world of comics), an artistic adaptation of “Hey Joe” (or at least I think that’s the name of the song, you’d know it if you heard it but the lyrics might not do you any good), his cat the physicist (in which he/she discovers that knocking things off a shelf will cause them to come crashing down), and a joke on the last page that was a lot funnier when I looked up the meaning of the punchline (episiotomy.Â Go ahead, Google has all kinds of horrific images).Â There’s also one more story, the highlight of the issue, dealing with open mic poets.Â Shouting, whispering, pregnant pauses, repetition, and above all bad acting, this story nails them thoroughly.Â You could argue that they’re an easy target, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t make the piece any less funny.Â So overall, except for that song adaptation (which I’ve never been a fan of), this is a hell of an issue.Â Please add it to your list of things to get if you ever have access to a time machine.
My own personal look back into the mini comics of yore continues, although I’m not sure if 1994 qualifies as “yore”.Â Hey, if they can play Nirvana songs on classic rock stations, I think this fits the bill.Â This is, as all Japes have been known to be, a funny comic.Â Not as funny as some other Japes, but still funny.Â The main reason this one gets bogged down is the big story of the comic: Hard Boiled Hygenist.Â It’s funny to begin with (being a Sin City parody, assuming Sin City was out by then (if not he was remarkably prescient) combined with some intense dentistry), but it does manage to go on for at least a few pages too long.Â On other pieces Sean is his usual flawless self, including a gag that was (sadly) unsuccessful at killing 50’s clip art jokes, Sean and a smoking Jesus in a coffee shop, a nerd being a little too clever at a museum around a jock, and instructions on how to use chopsticks.Â Again, this is another one that probably isn’t in print (although pieces of it are in Jumbo Jape), but would be in a just world.Â Still, contact the guy, you never know.Â Even if it isn’t available maybe you’ll be the last straw that nudges him into putting them all back into print…
Ah, Jape.Â The little funny comic that always, always made me laugh, and still does whenever I see a new collection of comics.Â Which is far too rarely, but apparently all these people that got me into this business back in the day have real lives these days, or have just figured out that nobody gets rich making mini comics, which leaves the rest of us without that essential funny.Â One of these Japes reached a perfect level of humor rarely seen in the world, and I look forward to finding it in my trip back through these minis, but this one wasn’t it.Â Don’t get me wrong, it was still funnier than most things in this world, but it wasn’t that one issue that got lodged in my brain and never went away.Â Stories in here include a creepy true tale of mass transit, the fickle nature of women, having somebody else use the bathroom while you’re taking a bath (and lying about the, um, nature of their visit), making interviewees eat a bowl of shit to gauge their reactions, dating the naked model from art class, and reverse discrimination.Â I’m started to sound like a broken record, but it sure seems like most of these old minis were never collected, and I doubt if they’re still available.Â If they are there certainly doesn’t appear to be any easy way to find them.Â Hello Turtle people?Â There’s a vast pile of things that should be collected into graphic novel form just sitting around out there.Â Start with Jape!Â $.50