I was curious so I just looked back on how I labeled all of my old reviews on David’s books, as he’s the writer but usually only the artist on some of the comics. I was all over the place over the years, sometimes calling him an editor (which I’m sure he is too), sometimes listing the various artists, usually not. This is all to say that all of those names in the tags? Those are all of the artists in this issue. I never go story by story in these reviews, so if you liked one piece in particular, look up that artist why don’t you? Christ, now I’m telling people how to use the internet. OK, moving on. This is another collection of short pieces by David and friends (nothing is longer than a couple of pages this time around), and it’s yet another solid pile of stories. If you’re thinking that “yet again” is a slam, no it is not. Somebody putting out quality work on a consistent basis should never be taken for granted. Stories this time around deal with whether or not the Titanic cracked in half before sinking (I had no idea that this was a controversy for decades before the wreckage was found), explaining the gap in observable work between comic writers and artists, car people vs. non-car people, the disturbing process of “weeding” in public libraries (basically pulling books from the shelves permanently that haven’t been checked out in a certain number of years), trying to do a nice thing for a new writer, how some painful memories may be ridiculous but still manage to haunt you, rejecting the cop-out answer that saying you believe in god doesn’t hurt anything because you’re covered if it does or doesn’t exist, how the official Star Wars Celebration has changed over the years, and being yelled at by an automatic fridge to close the door. That last one was illustrated by Peter Conrad, another one of those artists who were around in the early days of the website but I’ve since lost track of. Well, he’s still making comics, which is always a positive sign. I mentioned maybe half of the stories in here, so that leaves plenty of surprises for you to find. So, to recap: are these great stories that I will enjoy? Yes. Are there a wide variety of stories so that I’ll still like plenty of them even if some of them aren’t for me? Also yes. When in doubt, should I just throw money at indie comics in case I like them, because even if I don’t like a particular issue that still means that the artist is more likely to make comics in the future? Absotively yes. All clear?
Did I really not write any reviews about David’s comics last year? It looks like my last review was on the literal last day of 2021, and this is early 2023, so I guess not. Sure, he actually sent me this book several weeks ago, and it could be argued convincingly that the gap is my fault, but hey, look over there! This is another solid collection of stories by David and friends, which is something I’m kind of starting to take for granted, so maybe he should have his next collection by filled with total crap to keep me on my toes. So what’s going on this time around? There are stories about the time a polar bear broke captivity and got loose in Scotland in the late 1800’s (it seemed to be OK for everybody for involved, including the bear, which is a rarity), the difference between being “legal” to drive and being comfortable driving when you’re having trouble reading street signs, how Luke and Han are handling being replaced in the popularity of Star Wars merch by the Mandolorian (with a punchline that got a literal laugh out loud out of me, so kudos), not knowing where your mask is but having it end up in the most obvious place (possibly not as relatable to American readers, sadly), revisiting the TV show Miami Vice years later after it was too “adult” for him to watch as a kid (with Clio Ding), the sad reality of the modern state of sex robots (with DogJohn), the righteous anger of Disney using May 4th as “Star Wars” day when it has nothing to do with any actual anniversary (with Rebecca Horner), and a brief history of Tears For Fears, including a possible way for them to keep performing a song written by one of the members about the other member from back when they were feuding. As always, that’s roughly half of the stories, and the rest are left as a mystery to you. Well, I can’t resist mentioning one more, which is a love letter from David to all of the various spaceships of his youth as they all face off in a space race. I think we’re roughly the same age, but even I couldn’t place a couple of them, so good luck to everybody on that one. It also has a really great ending and, as per his end notes, no, it doesn’t feel like a cheat at all. Give it a try, there’s something in here for everybody. $5 (ish, once again I’m unfamiliar with the conversion rate)
I realize that nothing is promised to anybody in this life, but it really feels like there needed to be at least one great drunken story in here. Alas! This is yet another really solid entry into David’s personal library, and he’s once again backed up by a solid crew of artists. They’re all listed in the tags and I’ll mention them when I talk about specific stories, so don’t fret. As always, you get your money’s worth and then some with his comics, as it also includes exhaustive end notes on the stories (which I always find fascinating) and a couple of interviews he’s done recently on top of a whole bunch of stories. Star Wars is covered again in a few different stories, as we see some of his doubts about the accuracy of Han’s demolition work in Return of the Jedi, see his brief meeting with Dave Prowse (the man in the Darth Vader costume), and see an alternate ending for RotJ where Obi Wan Kenobi finally gets to make some sense out of his cryptic final words. There’s also a brief bit about an interview he saw with Harrison Ford in 1990, where he was asked about working with somebody who was only 12 years older than him an playing his father in the third Indiana Jones movie. I had no idea as a child, but seeing it now it’s pretty obvious. I’m not going to go story by story here, what with my constant bias towards leaving some surprises in comics, but some subjects include how meaningless “now” gets after time travel has been invented, a lockdown fairy tale (with an appropriately ghoulish ending), how quaint Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” looks after 30 years of his generation not doing much of anything to fix things, the blending of binging with reality (art by Abi Wye), fighting with the internet to get a good description of why women get rejected (art by Ali Hodgson), taking lessons learned from teaching about how much students love stickers to realize how accurately it applies to internet adults today, reimagining Back to the Future with a time traveling Chuck D singing Fight the Power (and good lord would that be an amazing movie (art by Mike Sedakat)) and the thrill of getting the last one of something and the likelihood that you’re being scammed with that information (art by Zu Dominiak). And, as always with this man and his comics, much more! Maybe the David Robertsons of the world (and the Brian Caninis, Simon Hanselmanns, etc) should offer some motivational speaking for comic creators, some words of wisdom to keep them half as productive as they are. Hey, it might be worth a shot! As for this one, in case it isn’t already clear, yeah, it’s worth a look, it’s pretty great throughout. And if you do like it, you have a vast back catalog of his comics to look forward to!
Mount a Rescue
Thanks a lot for confirming that I need new glasses David! The afterward/credits was officially too small for me to read with glasses on. Which reminds me of a favorite story from this collection, where he compares his reactions to Homer Simpson over the years (when he was much younger than Homer, about his age and actually older than Homer; had the same thought myself recently). This is another collection of stories written by David, about 2/3 (purely a guess) with other artists and the rest he drew himself. This one opens up with a great story about his appreciation of Blade Runner, both the movie, the book, the comics adaptation (which I somehow missed) and of course the score. He goes over the various versions that have come out over the years; he’s also the first person I know of who actually liked the version where Harrison Ford narrated bits of it. If you love the movie too this is fantastic, if you don’t or haven’t seen it this will probably convince you to give it a fresh look. Ah, but what version? Other stories include a caller who claims to have proof of the existence of god, a diary of a day in his life broken up into hourly segments, a story of the discovery of a deep sea diver (in his afterward he mentions his confusion of the end of Planet of the Apes as a child, having no idea what the Statue of Liberty was), tea bags vs. tea leaves, Luke dealing with some conflicting advice from Yoda, trying to relate at an office party, performing your comics out loud, sleep apnea, people complaining about older or younger generations, a butter prank that was killed too soon, a revolt against beauty cream, feelings of hatred long after you forget the reason for the hatred, asking to borrow a kilt, how so many previous heroes have ended up problematic now, and how Mr. T’s fear of planes kept him from going to space like all the other members of the A-team. And even more stories, but aren’t surprises fun? As always, very few people pack as much into a comic as David, with a variety of art styles, which will lead you to even more comics people that you like. Check it out!