I’ve read plenty of anthologies over the years that I’ve been writing reviews here, but very few of them could qualify as a love letter. This comic here? That’s exactly what it is. This is 20 of some of the best artists going right now, and they all have one thing in common: an obvious love of the tv show Friday Night Lights. If you’ve never heard of this show, or if you dismissed it out of hand because “it’s about high school football,” all I can say is that you missed out. There’s still time to fix your mistake, as it’s still on Netflix as of May 2016; just watch the first few episodes and try not to get hooked. Or maybe the fact that so many great artists came together for this project will clue you in to how great of a show it was, I don’t know. Does it seem like I’m not reviewing the stories? Yeah, I’ll get to that. I’m just trying to convert the last few decent people in the world who haven’t already seen this show. Frankly, I remember most of the stories as giant hearts on the page, so it’s tough to write anything mildly intelligent about that. OK, I’ll flip through this again. Highlights include the Tim Riggins cut-out doll as the centerfold (comes with different outfits!), Tim Riggins in the year 2050, a story about young Billy Riggins, the conversion of a skeptic into a fan of the show, how the team playbook got leaked to a rival, a growing rage of somebody trying to convert friends as they get increasingly sleepy while watching the show, and Coach Taylor sitting on the Iron Throne. Seriously, if nothing else, just look at that list of artists and give it a shot for that reason alone. Or do it the right way: watch the series, then go back and enjoy this fanzine. I’m not going to close with the team motto right here, but know that I am thinking it.
Only the Lonely
The world has been begging for it, so here it is: an anthology about being lonely, standing in the rain and dealing with the women folk. Oh, and its collective tongue in pretty firmly in cheek for most of it. Andy Terhune has a story about potential love in the bowling alley, Thien Pham has a story called “Gummi Bears Taste Like Loneliness (don’t know what explanation that needs), Joe Sayers has the best line in the book with “I have procured a lobster, please prepare for coitus”, Josh Frankel explodes and has some “journal” stuff, Alixopulos creepily goes through his day and makes fun of the anthology, Tom Neely jerks off and pees a lot, Jesse Reklaw does a wonderful Kochalka, and Fredo misses his nighttime lover. A great parody of all of the many, many, MANY whiny autobio stories out there about losing girlfriends and staring at the rain. Which I usually like quite a bit, but parody is always a good thing. Here’s an e-mail address, it’s $3 and completely worth it.
I might have a different criteria for a good anthology than most people. When I get an anthology, I get it to check out work from a lot of different people at once. Therefore, as long as the vast majority of them arenâ€™t actively bad, I usually feel like it was a good anthology. Well, there wasnâ€™t a single bad story in this, so mission accomplished. Lots of familiar names in this (Cole Johnson, Zack Soto, Dan Zettwoch, Jesse Reklaw, Thien Pham, HOB, Damien Jay, Gabrielle Bell) and some unfamiliar names (Howard John Arey, Ellen Lindner, Andrice Arp), which is always a good thing. More than a few of those people are getting e-mails from me to see if they want to be in the distro, in case you were wondering. Thereâ€™s no theme here, which is also a good thing, and stories include a young girl reluctantly spending time with her father, a man trying to find a working bathroom, a cute pug, getting sucked into the television, dating literal monsters, a stranded pirate rhymer, giant babies taking over the world, and how horrible it is to quit smoking. Great stuff in here all around and itâ€™s only $11.95, well worth a look. Hereâ€™s the Alternative Comics website, or just click on the title if youâ€™re feeling spendyâ€¦
Do you like cheesy 80’s movies? Specifically, do you like cheesy 80’s movies, like Karate Kid, about people who overcome insurmountable odds to win against the bad guys, usually with the sounds of “Eye of the Tiger” or something similar in the background? If you do, you’ll love this comic. If you don’t, well, this might not be your thing. It’s a fairly simple story. A man named Indy is forced to give up his favorite thing in the world, air hockey, by his girlfriend. Earlier in his life he had watched his Dad lose a tournament and he’s wanted to get even ever since. He meets a girl in a bar who’s a great player and he finds himself getting back into the air hockey world and is talked into entering an air hockey tournament. There’s even a couple of pages that detail his training with the lyrics to “Eye of the Tiger”. You can see where this is going, right? Indy finds himself playing the man who beat his father and, while I’m not going to give away the ending, shame on you if you can’t figure it out. It’s a fun book, that’s true, but if you’re at the point in your life where 80’s movies have lost their nostalgic charm and now they’re just obnoxious, you’re not going to like this book very much. If not, the art’s great, the writing is good (although cheesy, but if you’re going for the 80’s movie theme it’s hard to avoid cheesy), it’s worth a look.And I’m really curious if there are any air hockey tournaments, because I’d love to go to one.