Symphony in Ink #3
Geez, looks like I was cranky for the review for #2. I try to judge everything on merit and not let me mood effect anything, but really, who knows? However I’m feeling on any given day is bound to have an effect on what I write, which isn’t entirely fair, as my daily mood translates to a review that stays up forever (at least how time is determined online, anyway). Ah well. This one was a blast, and the construction of it had a lot to do with it. The contributors were Jenny Gonzalez, Steve Steiner, Andy Nukes, David DeGrand, Bill Shut and Dan Taylor, and I thoroughly enjoyed how Dan spaced out the stories, even putting little panels of his own under the Jenny Gonzalez strips when there was extra room. Everybody else but Steve Steiner had multiple pieces and Dan scattered them beautifully, with Steve getting the “centerfold”. As for the content, Bill Shut had a few full page pieces of art (didn’t do a lot for me), Andy Nukes had the same thing (oddly, I enjoyed his pieces), David DeGrand had a couple of thoroughly bizarre pieces about shaving a nose and giant fake heads (that I loved), Steve Steiner had a piece about why he hates squirrels (LOVED and am glad to see that Steve can see the truth about those vermin) and Jenny Gonzalez had 5 hilarious strips (she can do no wrong as far as I’ve seen). Oh, and Dan, in his job of “filling in the blanks” under the Too Negative strips, had a few decent funnies of his own. Definitely the best issue of the series so far. $2.50
Symphony in Ink #2
Here we have an example of my fundamental problem with anthologies in general: even when I like a series of anthologies (granted, this one was only based on reading one issue), there are times when individual issues of it don’t do a thing for me. This is one of those cases, as I did like the first issue. This one starts off with a story by Lorena Caiazzo, probably the best piece of the book, about a couple of kids trying to figure out what to wear for Halloween. Tom Brinkmann is up next with a piece about Funky Fetish Fashion Dolls, an OK piece about dominatrix action figures. Michael Roden has a poetic piece next, an illustrated ode about flying through dimensions that didn’t do a thing for me. Finally there’s Dan’s story about a cold zombie who hangs around with a hobo for warmth, with predictable consequences. There are also one pagers by Brad Foster, Bill Shut and Thomas Ferranti with faintly amusing shorties. As a whole it’s OK. If you like enough of these people, as with any anthology, that’s probably enough for you to check it out. If you don’t like them or know them already, there’s not a lot here to make a fan out of anybody else. $2
Symphony in Ink #1
Ok, technically speaking this is an anthology, but as you can get copies from Dan, he gets to have these (there’s at least one more) on his page. Besides, that Various page is a behemoth at the moment. First up is an amusing tale about the hilarity that ensues when a new employee mixes up his job title between “business anarchist” and “business analyst” by D. C. McNamara. Next up is a wonderful example of a rampaging problem I have with some anthologies, as a little story called Weird Light (about, oddly enough, a weird light with a few historical figures) doesn’t have any indication of an author, so let’s just say that one’s by “Steve”. Thomas Ferranti has a rambling piece up next about a general lack of inspiration and his characters that are easy to draw. World of Voodoo is a gorgeous piece about various types of voodoo, although not much there in way of a story, if that’s your thing. Tony Consiglio, always a welcome addition anywhere, has a piece about a dead guy in a fast food bathroom and the inevitability of taking a shit. Tim Kelly has the longest piece in the book (and probably the oldest, as it’s dated 1991) about a couple taking a bath and the dangers of shrinkage. Finally there’s a one pager, also by “some guy”, with a wonderful, wonderful punch line. One of those mystery guys is Tom Brinkman and the other is probably Dan Taylor, but I’m not sure which is which, and seriously people, that can’t be that hard to nail down before publication. Not that I’m trying to single Dan out here, as all kinds of people do it, I just wish they would stop. All in all a pretty good anthology for $2.50.