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Henderson, Sam – The Return of the Magic Whistle (#12)

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The Return of the Magic Whistle (#12)

One of the oddest things about my reviewing comics on this site for the past 11+ years (!!!) is that I’ve lost touch with more than a few of the comics that got me started doing this in the first place. It’s hard to overstate the importance of Magic Whistle during my small press formative years when I was climbing out of the superhero ghetto, and I still have most of his mini comics before he was published by anybody to prove it. Still, I ended up getting overwhelmed with comics submitted for review (a damned nice problem to have) and taking fewer trips to the comic stores, so the end result is that I haven’t read an issue of this in at least six years. It turns out that Sam hadn’t put out an issue in roughly four years, so it turns out that I hadn’t missed all that much anyway (although there are at least two issues advertised in the back of this one that I don’t own, a situation that will soon be rectified). So, much like my King Cat reviews, don’t expect to find a lot of negativity here, as the sheer joy at seeing another issue of this series overwhelmed my critical faculties. Which is not to imply that it’s bad and that I’m too biased to see it but, humor being subjective and all, I guess you might not find it funny. Hey rambly, what’s this comic about? Well, for those of you who have never read an issue of this series (and, after being gone for four years, I could even excuse a few of you for that), there are no magic whistles present in these comics, except for maybe the very early days. Instead they’re a series of funny bits of differing lengths, which may sound like a lot of comics, but Sam’s style is simplistic in his own unique way, and there’s no mistaking it once you see it. Subjects in here include a protest about the reality of the constitution by a man in the audience of a school play, the trials of having a large ass and always being expected to give people rides on it, a look back at a really terrible gym teacher from grade school, Dirty Danny’s sneaky trick after getting elected, the lonely robot duckling asking questions about the terminology behind pornography (in the story that got the loudest laughs out of me), the differences between how you’re perceived crossing a section of the river as a child versus doing it at 42, learning about his teacher and her possible gay relationship as a child, some letters from ages ago, and several one panel gags that I’m not going to spoil even a little bit. If you’re just wondering if he’s still funny: yes. Yes, he is. And that’s why you’d be buying a Magic Whistle comic anyway, right? It’s good to see Sam back and, with his announcement of a big collection of strips coming out in 2013, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more from him in the near future. Hurray! $4

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Henderson, Sam – The Magic Whistle #2 (mini)

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The Magic Whistle #2

Am I wasting my time with all this mini comics nostalgia?  Possibly, yes.  On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that there’s a younger generation of comics readers who may have heard some of these names but haven’t seen much of the actual work outside of what’s available in whatever collections happen to still be in print, in which case this is a vital service to the world.  The world that reads this website, that is.  This is another packed collection of funny, starting with another page of jokes from the 50’s (my best guess on the time period, anyway.  Sample joke: When is a steamboat like a witness in a trial? When it is bound to a pier), and then moving on to the comics.  Again, reviewing one panel gag strips is one of the dumber things a person could do, but that sadly prevents me from going into detail about some of the funnier stuff in the book.  Other stories include Li’l Brainy and his calculations, three men at a urinal, the man and the bear (sampled in the last issue) with a center spread of silent hilarity, how a “got any pictures of your wife naked?” joke went horribly wrong, and the story of Sam and the Secret Service.  Sam, see, sent a nasty letter to the first president Bush (under his friend Scott Russo’s name, who did a comic called Jizz for years that I should probably put up here at some point too, lack of being in print be damned), but had the whole thing traced back to him only after his friend had gotten in big trouble.  This story details Sam’s side of the story (which is mostly “boy was I stupid”) and how he avoided Scott and his friends for years at cons because he thought there was serious bad blood.  Other bits of this book include more “always funny” jokes and a review of a number of zines he’s heard of (or was just making up, this far out it’s impossible to know), including one called Time that’s been running since 1923 and seems to have a bright future.  Basically these old reviews serve two purposes.  1. When this rental project gets off the ground at least a few of these creators are going to give me permission to use my copies of their older books in this idea, which means these reviews will serve a useful function now or 2. If you are lucky enough to go to a comics shop with a box of old minis and are digging through, not sure what to buy, maybe having these names brought to your attention will help.  Either way, if you see something with Sam Henderson on it, but it.