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Various Anthologies – Broad Appeal


Broad Appeal

In case you missed the pun, this is a collection of work from mostly female cartoonists and, like most anthologies, has good things and bad things. It’s a great concept though, as it has bios for everybody in here along with links to their sites and even interviews with a few people. At least two of them work for Marvel in some capacity, but who am I to judge? Granted, a few of the stories are more than a bit cute (as admitted by the creators, so it’s not like I’m being sexist or anything), but the strength of this collection is the sheer variety of stuff involved. You have a nine year old girl reading and dealing with a comic about the atomic bomb in Japan on one page and a mostly wordless story about lazy cats working in a glue factory on the next. All kinds of great female cartoonists in here too. Check out the website if you don’t believe me. $9.95 is pretty cheap for something this packed too, so check into it, see what you think.  Contributors: Sara Varon, Becky Cloonan, Raina Telgemeier, Ariel Bordeaux, Ellen Forney, Diana Sprinkle, Miss Lasko-Gross, Missy Kulik, Jen Benka, Kris Dresen, Hellen Jo, Kristen Petersen, Jen Sorenson, Michele Roman, Abby Denson, Jenny Gonzalez, Rachel Hartman, Mary Minch, Megan Kelso, Doreen A. Mulryan, Lark Pien, Sarah Anderson Lock, Elena Steier, Jennifer Moore, Lela Lee, Vanessa Satone, Shaenon K. Garrity, Catherine Tutrone, Ellen Lindner, Elayne Riggs, Robin Riggs, Janet Hetherington, Donna Barr.

Gaynor, Jerome (editor) – Bogus Dead


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I knew as soon as I saw this book that it was going to be great. Here I am, in the middle of my personal “anthology week”, and I’ve already read the best of the bunch. Prove me wrong, people! Anyway, this is a collection of the best small press people (although why John Porcellino isn’t in here is beyond me) doing zombie stories. As that combines two of my favorite things in the world, they’d have to do a lot wrong for me to hate this and, well, they didn’t. Thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, everything in here was tremendously innovative. I mean, there are only so many things you can do with zombies. That’s what I thought before I read this, and I’m more than happy to stand corrected. I’m not going to list everybody in here, as there are 43 folks and you can just go here and order the thing for $10 and read everything you need to know about it. Highlights? OK, but you have to understand first that everything was a highlight, these are just some moments that stood out: Tom Hart with the married zombies, Graham Annable with the almost somber “Revenge”, and Ariel Bordeaux’s ghost being embarrassed by her zombie body. Simply put, it’s the best anthology I’ve read in quite a while.

Bordeaux, Ariel – The Girl Who Trod On An Oaf

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The Girl Who Trod On An Oaf

First off, I just don’t get it. I have every mini she ever did, or at least I think I do, and then I see this one from 1997 that I somehow missed completely. Some people, sure, I can see where I would just miss it, but Deep Girl was one of the minis that got me really interested in the whole medium, and how I missed this is a mystery to me. Anyway, this is a shortie, as the $.75 price might indicate, and you can get it at Poopsheet, which has all kinds of great stuff. It’s a modern day fable about a spoiled brat who decides to step on a bum to avoid getting her boots dirty and her eternal punishment for doing it. Another great mini from her, anyway, and now I wonder if she has a whole pile of minis tucked away somewhere that I’ve never seen…

Bordeaux, Ariel – Raisin Pie #1 (with Rick Altergott)

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Raisin Pie #1 (with Rick Altergott)

Ah, credits in comics. It makes reviews so much easier. Raisin Pie is the first issue of the new “regular” series from Rick Altergott and Ariel Bordeaux (sorry, but I’ve been reading independent comics for too long to believe “regular” until I see it). I’m guessing that Rick does the first story, “Blessed Be”, and Ariel does the “Maple Valley Public Library” and “The Ladies Line”. I haven’t seen much of his Doofus work, so I have little to no idea of what’s going on here or who these people are, but I like what I’ve seen so far. It’s the first part of a continuing story about a young kid who’s trying to get back at the judge who sent him to jail and something to do with Satanists. Hey, it’s early yet, I’m not sure what’s up. “Maple Valley Public Library” is basically the story of an irate woman who’s trying to get a book banned and the woman who has to deal with her. Add a cliffhanger ending and you have the second part of the book that’s going to be continued down the road, always a good sign with the whole continuing series thing. “The Ladies Line” reminded me the most of Ariel’s older work, as it’s about two women talking in a bathroom line about all sorts of things that shouldn’t be overheard. Throw in a one page story in the front and the back, one of the most ridiculous back covers in recent memory and you have a a pretty solid book. Keep ’em coming, you two…

Bordeaux, Ariel – Deep Girl #2

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Deep Girl #2

It’s starting to feel like I’m living on memory lane these days, between all these reviews of old minis and my moving back to the town where this website got started (Champaign Illinois, in case I ever start an Optical Sloth trivia game).  Anyway, it’s reminding me of why nostalgia is as popular as it is, as I’m loving being (mostly) back in town and am also thoroughly enjoying these oldies.  That was expected, but you never know when you go back and read/watch something you enjoyed back in the day if it’ll hold up.  Deep Girl holds up.  There are a few stories this time around, including the early days of Ariel and romance (her first time, what total losers she hung around and how she finally figured out that sex wasn’t hard to come by), Lovie Doll (who gets sick of a guy berating her for not knowing about politics and current events), and the joy of hunting for a job (in this case applying at a trendy coffee shop and feeling insulted just from the application).  Again, this looks a bit cruder than her later work, but it still doesn’t look anywhere near bad  and it’s still funny as hell.  Hop in that time machine and grab yourself a copy, or keep hoping that something in this indifferent universe hears your pleas for a collected edition of this stuff…

Bordeaux, Ariel – Deep Girl #1

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Deep Girl #1

It occurred to me while writing these old timey reviews that these artists might not keep their work in print because they think it was completely awful, and I’m ruining something by posting these old minis at all.   Then again, screw that.  This is some funny shit.  The art may look a bit crude compared to her later work, but so what?  Do you lose points for not being as accomplished an artist when you first start out (as this was done in 1993) as opposed to where you are 17 years later?  If anybody out there really hates that I’m posting their older work for all to see, they can let me know and I’ll take it down.  In the meantime, I think it serves as a helpful reminder that a lot of these people are still making comics, just in case you’ve forgotten about that.  This was one of the first minis I ever bought, and it definitely set the tone for what I was looking for.  Here was this woman, putting out her first comic, who fearlessly lays herself bare for all (well, the couple of hundred people who bought this) to see.  There’s probably a dozen or so cartoonists who got me interested in this business and kept me interested with how often they put out comics (back then, at least), and Ariel was definitely a big part of that.  So what was in here?  Pieces about her delusions of grandeur (thinking she is perpetually on the cusp of fame as an artist while working as a waitress), how shopping for a bra has always been a miserable experience, Weepy the Wee-Wee, Smile-O-Matic, and your very own monk.  I’m just shouting into the wind here, but if anybody ever wanted to put these into a collection, I think they could sell some copies.  Just one man’s opinion…