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Schulz, Gabby (aka Dahl, Ken) – Sick




Once again I’m going to cheat a bit and quote directly from the disclaimer on the back of the book: “This book is not recommended for children or the self-satisfied.” That might seem to be a confusing description about a comic dealing with a sickness, but boy does it ever make sense after you read it. This starts off as the story of Gabby (aka Ken Dahl) as he deals with a sudden illness. He starts off with the same plan as everybody with no health insurance: wait it out, drink lots of fluids and hope for the best. But his illness keeps getting worse and worse, so he finally breaks down and heads to the local emergency room (despite that same emergency room being recently sued for letting somebody die in their waiting room after leaving them there for 24 hours). 22 hours into his stay he gets in to see a doctor… who doesn’t help him out even a little bit. From there he goes back to his original plan of waiting it out, even though it had clearly gotten pretty terrible for him to head to the hospital in the first place. But as the days went on and he didn’t get any better, he started pondering the reasons for living, and what was or wasn’t worth fighting for. From there he thought of all of human history and the delusions that we all must tell ourselves to enjoy our lives in a place of such rampant corruption, disease and hopelessness. He came away with a damned near irrefutable case against humanity in all its forms, unless you were willing to stick to that plan of willful ignorance, but you can read this yourself to see the case that he made. Granted, his mind was in a sick and dark place when he thought all this through, but I defy anybody to read this without agreeing with a good chunk of what he said. If you’re content in the bubble that you’ve made of your life and have no interest in seeing if anything could break through, stay away from this book at all costs. If you can accurately see your surroundings already and want to live as closely examined of a life as possible, there are few books better than this to help in that task. $21.95


Various Artists – Cringe




Quick, think of the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you. Now imagine yourself writing and drawing a comic story about it. That right there should make you cringe, which means you’re in luck, as that’s what this anthology is all about! This book has right around 30 small press artists, some new and some who have been around for awhile, who are willing to share some shameful incident from their past. I don’t think anything in here will get anybody put in jail, but it’s hard not to cringe while reading some of these. I’m not going to review every story because there are so damned many of them (and for a measly $8!), but the highlights include Shaenon K. Garrity wetting herself while out with a group of other cartoonists (including a big name guy, but I won’t spoil the surprise; I particularly loved the way she ended her strip), Sam Spina’s unfortunate method for drinking a rum shot when he met the Bacardi girls, Adam Pasion’s particularly gruesome retelling of an incident involving a finger in the eye, Geoff Vasile dodging a bullet (not literally), Chad Essley and his series of embarrassing moments (hard to top the one where he volunteered to breakdance at school on stage), Fred Noland’s theories on some crayons he used to own, Chad Woody and his racist former roommate, Box Brown and his former habit of eating light bulbs (it’s not quite as life-threatening as it sounds), Stephen Notley and his experience of being “that guy” at a comic convention (you know the one, the guy who gets up to ask a rambling and pointless question and has no idea how to get out of it once he gets started), and Sam Henderson’s experiences with having seizures while surrounded by strangers. It’s a damned fine mix of stories, and at a ridiculously cheap price. Save yourself the embarrassment of not owing this anthology of embarrassment! Ugh, I feel dirty for saying that. I’ll let myself out… $8