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Smith, Andrew & Jordan, Rusty – History in Ruins #2



History in Ruins #2

Ah, so that’s where the mayhem is going to come in. This issue sets things up nicely for a showdown still to come. Things start off a good look around the basement of our hero, and we also get to meet his “friend” the mouse, who helpfully jumps around and points at things to attract his attention. Then we see his mom getting accosted and then fired by two mysterious men, and of course this will not stand for Duane. He goes out and cheers her up (staring at her boobs all the while, which, again, is a little on the creepy side), threatens action if the men ever come back again, and eventually heads to bed. The mouse wakes him up in the middle of the night, after things upstairs have taken a turn, and there’s a great final image promising beatdowns to come. I’m pretty much sold at this point, although I suppose there are still plenty of ways for it to get screwed up. How’s that for optimism? Eh, these two have a pretty good track record at this point and have earned the benefit of the doubt.


Jordan, Rusty & Smith, Ben – History in Ruins #1



History in Ruins #1

This comic is more a teaser than a regular first issue (unless you think that all first issues are teasers for series, which is a perfectly legitimate position to take). Things start off with a heavily acned kid working at a convenience store, coming to the end of his four hour day (he’s forced to leave early because otherwise he’ll go over 20 hours for the week). On the way out, grumbling about his work restrictions, he takes three things that he says will help him with his “home project.” He arrives home, seems a little too interested in the ass of his mother as she works in the garden, and heads downstairs. So yes, you will have to wait another issue to see what the story is behind those ingredients. Or the ass. The comic is certainly a lot more, well, accessible (for lack of a better word) than some past comics I’ve seen by either of these guys. We’ll see whether or not that ends up being a good thing, but it’s off to a damned intriguing start. They were also nice enough to send along the second issue, so I’ll get a better idea of what’s going on here when I review it in a week or so.


Smith, Andrew – Sausage Hand



Sausage Hand Now Available!   $6

Do you like mayhem in your comics? Not just a little bit, but a whole lot of it?  Do you also like, along with the mayhem, the occasional deep philosophical musing about heaven, hell, and the costs/benefits of dealing with other people?  Well, then you’re in luck!  You might be thinking that those things don’t really go together, and you’d be right, except for the fact that this comic exists and blows that preconceived notion of yours right out of the water.  There are two stories in this one, assuming that the first one can properly be called a story.  It’s all about a bloody fight between two brothers and, not to spoil the ending or anything, nobody wins.  That’s a small piece though, the meat of this thing is the next story, in which Sausage Hand, after working up the nerve to face the world, eats a rancid pork burger.  He falls into a deep coma (thinking at first that he might be dead, which leads to his philosophical ramblings), meets the other side of his brain and almost makes a human connection with his waitress.  This piques his curiosity about death so he does some research, which again renders him unconscious, and this time he meets his inner child and a strange invader in his mind.  The whole thing reads like a more demented version of a Tex Avery cartoon, with characters growing and shrinking based on their confidence and mood, and with them all being able to pull whatever they need out of their throat at a moment’s notice.  It’s not for the squeamish or humorless, but for everybody else, you’re in for a treat.  $6


Jordan, Rusty (editor) – Shitbeams on the Loose #2



Shitbeams on the Loose #2 (edited by Rusty Jordan)

Hey look, an anthology!  I’ve never understood why so few of these clearly label who did which pages (some even have page listings for the artist without having the actual pages numbered).  This one at least has a chronological listing of the artists, but the nature of this book makes it difficult to tell where one story ends and another begins.  Why?  They’re mostly highly interpretive blasts of art, that’s why.  Still, I’ll give you a list of who’s in this and you’ll most likely be properly amazed and impressed.  There’s Ron Rege Jr.(looking less deliberative than I’ve seen him, and I’m a bigger fan of that than I of the mildly sloppy story in this issue (said mostly because the bits of text are hard to follow)), Jason Overby (brilliantly smacking the preconceived notion of what makes a comic strip around), Dave Nuss (with a welcome quiet moment of the Roman soldier who theoretically jabbed Jesus in the ribs), Andrew Smith (puking a tuna melt is the worst), Hector Serna Jr. (I could spend the whole review trying to unpack those images), Brent Harada (with a mildly out of place regular old story about searching for boots in thrift stores), Robyn Jordan (a quiet piece about camping), John Hankiewicz (a breath of fresh, distinctive air in a sea of chaos), Grant Reynolds (with one of his more disturbing pieces, and that’s saying something), Ayo Kuramoto & Amane Yamamoto (please place your review here, this went right over my head), Rusty Jordan (this is where it starts getting really difficult to tell where one artist ends and another begins, I believe his piece is the one with the escaping brain), Luke Ramsey (ditto, I believe his stuff is the series of full page heads), and Andy Rementer (an oddly adorable piece after all this about a man, his bike and their mutual love).  Or maybe Andy Rementer is the one who did that utterly horrific back cover?  Hard to tell, and that website doesn’t clear it up a bit.  Oh well, with that list of stars it’s a hard thing to pass up, and the quality of most of the stories makes it even more difficult.  And if you don’t love that cover, well, I’m afraid there’s no hope for you.  It is a fairly hefty $9, but it’s put together nicely.  You decide!