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Ehrenpreis, Brian (editor) – Necrocomicon

No website or other contact information

Necrocomicon #1

It seems oddly fitting that I picked this comic to review on the nine year anniversary of the site, as there is no contact information readily available for anybody involved and it is the first zine Brian has put together.  Hey, that’s what the site is there for, to point people in the direction of comics they wouldn’t otherwise find!  The trouble with this one is obvious: there is nowhere to point them.  I get the impression that Brian and the other people involved are high school students, which makes me an asshole to critique their stories, but I can live with that.  How will they learn if somebody like me doesn’t tell them what they’re doing wrong?  First, I’ll get the good stuff out of the way: that is one great title.  And the idea of a horror anthology will always, always appeal to me, even if most of them seem to fail in the execution.  Brian was also smart enough to put the name of the artist for each story clearly at the end of the pieces, something even the “pros” often forget to do.  From here it gets dicey, and this is because of the talents of some artists just starting and the various problems in the print.  Brian had a lot to say in his story (and I will get to them all individually), but chose to keep the text boxes small and cram all the words into them.  This might have left more artwork visible, but it was at the cost of being able to understand the story.  When there are at least three panels that I can’t read the lettering, including the final page of the story, you’re making it too tough on the reader.  In most cases all he would have had to do was expand the text box into the solid black of the background.  Other stories in here suffered from the dreaded uneven copying, and when some of the art on display was so-so as it was, leaving the text too faint to be read or the art too indistinct to be understood is just going to leave the reader feeling cheated.  And seriously, no e-mail addresses anywhere?  I guess if these are high school kids they might not want their names associated with this, but there has to be SOME method for curious people to buy the book.  OK, now that I’ve bashed the process, how about the stories?  Rubble by Anthony Wasilewski was an interesting ancient tale of cat gods and curses, but the last two pages were so garbled and/or indistinct that I’m not sure what happened.  Tom Bombadil Got Cut by Quinn Murphy didn’t look all that great at times (squiggly lines don’t actually count as a background), but the idea of Tom Bombadil getting kidnapped and killed by Peter Jackson was funny enough to make up for it.  The Siamese Twins’ revenge by Lizzie Baur was also interesting, as it dealt with a man who wanted to know about death without dying, and also had some of the best art in the book (except for the bit with the skeleton of the twins running away from Joseph).  Wendy Lotterman’s story about Rick Moranis accidentally making babies being born so big that they literally made the mother explode could have been great, or maybe it was terrible, but I’ll never know because the copy was so faint that I couldn’t read some of the many asides that Wendy put into this piece.  Ben Long’s piece about Nazism and a golem didn’t make a whole lot of sense, unless maybe the Jewish kid who killed his rabbi was supposed to be Hitler.  Brian’s story has the excellent title Mutant M.D. and probably the best art in the book (he did the cover too), but those clumpy text boxes and the fact that he left it “to be continued” made it more than a bit garbled.  Walker Tate’s piece about the Murker was the cleanest of the book, but was only one page, so there wasn’t time to do much.  There’s also a H.P Lovecraft story, which would probably be illegal in any format other than zines.  So, overall, even if you could find this you’d probably be better off giving it a pass.  To any of the people involved in the making of this, I can’t state this strongly enough: don’t get discouraged byme.  Tighten up some of the technical aspects, work on making sure your stories are crystal clear to the reader, and this review could have gone a different direction.  Above all, NEVER let a reviewer talk you out of making comics.  Just make them good enough that said reviewer has to eventually  eat his/her words…