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Lange, Aaron – Trim #5

E-mail address

Trim #5

Yep, just an email address for contact info. You can also click on the link in the title to buy his books, but as far as looking at the goods online goes, you might be able to find other reviews here and there, but other than that it looks like he’s chosen the old school option. Says the guy who doesn’t use any social media, obviously. Before I even get to the comic, there’s a letters page on the inside front cover, and it has some of the true greats of the comics field on it. It starts off with a long letter by Robert Crumb, then there’s Mary Fleener, Kim Deitch, even Noah Van Sciver. That’s quite a list of talent offering their thoughts on his work, even if they aren’t all completely in love with it. This book is also put out by The Comix Company, which primarily published XXX rated comics (that means penetration in sexy ways, usually). Outside of one graphic image of him watching porn, this is damned near all ages. OK, that’s hilariously inaccurate, but if you’re only looking for naked sexy stuff, I’d recommend something else from their catalog. If you’re looking for a thoroughly engaging comic filled with all sorts of stories (mostly taken from real life, apparently), I’d recommend this one pretty highly. Stories in here include two pastors from his church as a kid, throwing out all his porn and getting locked outside in his undies when he does, trying to sell “records,” him reading a letter he sent John Porcellino, an extended story about his family history in Germany, and an awkward conversation with a woman who’s bemoaning the lack of single, fun, drinking guys in her age group. She’s 45, he’s 9 months sober. Oops! There are also a bunch of stories from art school, usually single page strips of memorable events like mistiming the effects of acid hitting him while he’s in class, shaving what he thinks is his entire body, the scarred nude model, and getting some advice about his future after art school. There’s plenty more I’m not mentioning; he really packs a lot into this comic. Normally this is the part where I recommend checking this book out, but come on Robert Crumb is a fan. You’d have to be a terrible person not to be at least curious about this series by now. $4


Eichhorn, Dennis P. & Various Artists – Extra Good Stuff



Extra Good Stuff

You can file this review under “you kids today,” if you like to know that type of thing right away. What I mean by that is that there are two people out there that everybody else attempting autobiographical stories should be compared to: Harvey Pekar and Dennis Eichhorn. Sure, Harvey had a movie made about him, meaning that even casual comics folk may know the name, but Dennis, for reasons that baffle me, has never gotten that kind of attention. They also wrote completely different types of stories, as Harvey was all about daily life, the mundane bits mixed in with insights about the human condition. But Dennis, man, Dennis has lived a hell of a life, and he’s chock full of fascinating and/or hilarious stories to tell. Dating back to his Real Stuff series in the 90’s he’s had nothing but the top comics artists in the field helping him out. Back then it was both of the Hernandez Bros, Chester Brown, Dan Clowes, Peter Bagge, I think even Robert Crumb… basically anybody you can think of from that era. So, since this is a collection of (mostly but not entirely) new stories, he brought in some of the best artists working today. The stories in here are all over the place and from various portions of his life; if I had any complaint it’s that I sometimes wished for context as to what age he was or when exactly the story happened (although he did usually give a ballpark estimate). Stories include his very first writing gig interviewing a terrible local band (with Ivan Brunetti), his first night as a taxi driver and how he learned to trust prostitutes (with Max Clotfelter), a fantastic prank on Mormons/a shitty neighbor (with Dame Darcy), a very surreal medical experience with Fox News blaring in the background that also involved him finding out that Harvey Pekar had died (with RL Crabb), finding out that the Coast Guard is not legally bound in any way in regards to searching boats (with Colin Upton), and sifting for gold with a (literally) crazy friend. There are other solid stories in this collection too, but it’s best to leave some things a surprise, right? I checked a bit online and somehow there doesn’t seem to be a definitive collection of his earlier series, so maybe Fantagraphics or Top Shelf should get on that, legal mumbo-jumbo permitting? That’s a pile of really great stories with some of the best artists in the world that are somehow still out of print. Regardless, this is plenty worth checking out all on its own, and if you stumble across any old issues or Real Stuff (or, if you’re old enough, Real Smut), pick that sucker up too. $10