Are you somebody who likes to laugh while reading comics? One of those old fashioned types whoâ€™s here for the â€œfunny bookâ€ aspect of it all? This is, and somebody please correct me if Iâ€™m wrong, the funniest book youâ€™re likely to find. I could really cut and paste the reviews for all issues of Hickee, with a few minor changes for actual stories, and leave it at that. Putting out a book that makes me laugh out loud more than a few times is an impressive enough achievement, putting out multiple books that do that is Â at this point. OK, fine, so itâ€™s funny. Whatâ€™s in this particular issue thatâ€™ll get you to check it out? There are a number of short piece by Nathan Stapley, including Depressed Pitcher, Football Players, Good Game, and Pee Weeâ€™s. Thereâ€™s Joop Joop by Razmig Mavlian, in which we get to see what happens when all the wishes of a small female child come true. Or maybe youâ€™d prefer Getting Creamed by Joe White, an epic adventure of a farmer trying to milk his cow. Perhaps Gladiating by Scott Campbell, because somebody has to root for the guy with a net as his weapon. Not convinced yet? How about The Anna Nicole Smith Board Game by Vamberto Maduro (what, too soon?), a wonderful guide of her path to fame, fortune and early death. And, as always, Graham Annable raises the bar for funny with his piece, Frankâ€™s Big Hand, in which a losing poker player finally has enough. Itâ€™s cheap at $2.95, that cover could fold out into a board game if you wanted to buy two copies and wreck the other one, and I did mention the part about all the laughing, right?
Here it is, the funniest anthology comic ever. It’s not? Fine, show me something funnier, I dare you. I’d love to see it if it exists, but I doubt it. If I had any doubts that the series would lose some steam or something after the first issue, I was happily proven wrong with the release of this collected edition. This is silly humor at its finest. I wouldn’t feel compelled to point that out if it wasn’t for the introduction of Sam Henderson, as he complains about being lumped into the same category as Graham Annable. There are many different types of humor comics out there among the very few alternative humor comics, and it’s important to try and keep them straight. If you like laughing, you’ll love this book. Few things have made me laugh out loud as much as sitting down and reading this volume. It’s $12.95 and it’s such a no-brainer that I’m not even going to try and hype it up any more.
Anybody out there looking for the funniest anthology ever? EVER? OK, maybe some people would contest that, and I’m sure there are a few things that I’m forgetting, but this is the total package. I bought it because I mistakenly thought it was a new Graham Annable comic, but boy am I glad I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, he does have the funniest story in here, out of four or five that are tied for funniest. There’s one story that’s retelling a song (even that had funny art), one with a guy farting and one that might have had a moral. Those were the ones that were below perfect. Everything else… ah, why rave about it? I’ll put the single funniest page in comics up as a sample (note from 8/6/07: turn out the computer ate those funny pages. Sorry). If you disagree, well, don’t buy it. If you agree at all, it’s all going to be funny to you. That story actually continues and gets even funnier, if you can believe that. Watch out because Alternative Comics is putting out a collected edition of this in a few months and you’d better believe that it’ll be up here as soon as I see it online. Here’s a list of contributors, and don’t let the fact that you might not have heard of these people scare you: Joe White, Marc Overney, Nathan Stapley, Razmig Mavlian, Scott Campbell, and Graham Annable. Anybody know if they have any solo efforts? E-mail the crew for ordering info or just wait for the big book…
Bogus Dead Now Available! $10
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.
So, who else out there thought that Graham only dabbled in funny comics? I confess that I sure did. When somebody is a master at one field, why mess around with the other stuff? Well, this is a serious comic, which was disconcerting when I realized I was still waiting for the punchline after I finished this little mini. It’s the story of an astronaut (with the code name of Grey Bear) and his wife or girlfriend. They’ve both been at their station for a long time and are having a fight which, in the isolation of space, can have some pretty serious consequences. If you’re just looking for a laugh, well, pretty much everything else on this page is a good place for it. If you’ve always wondered what else the man could do, this is an excellent place to start looking. $2
This is for anybody out there who has heard of the genius of Graham Annable but doesn’t want to spend the $10 or so to get a good hefty graphic novel of his work. You’re cheating yourself, as this is tiny and not nearly as funny as his big books, but hey, it’s your money. This is done entirely in corporate logos, or at least mostly. It’s funny ’cause it’s true! This may have even been in one of the graphic novels, but I don’t have the capacity in my brain to remember trivia like that. Either way, if you’re looking for something tiny to try to convince your friends with, you could do a whole lot worse than this. Of course, the bigger books are mostly silent and as such are pretty good reads, but I seem to be traveling in circles here, so I’d best wrap this up. It’s cheap anyway, and available at the stupendous Poopsheet website… $1
Hooray for one of these Graham Annable books being cheap! By cheap I mean $6.95, but still, a much lower price is better for people who are willing to try new people, and there’s not much better out there to try than this. Stickleback is the story of a man named George (who makes figures out of toilet paper in socially conscious poses), his cat Patty (who likes to tear apart said figures), his friend Yanni (who is depressed about his fingernail and his finger becoming one long, disgusting thing), and three ass-heads at the cafe. It’s almost impossible to pick any one sample page to show you what you’re getting into, as Graham is so deliberate that most of the gags are either set up pages in advance or are just reaction shots to things that have been building for a long time. Or I could just sample the punchline, spoiling it for anybody going in blind and ruining the joke. This is one of those rare books you could give to anybody on the planet and they’d have a hard time not finding it funny, even if maybe it didn’t convince them that comics were the next step in great literature in the world. Of course, this is also the planet that I prefer to live on that I’m talking about, and that planet seems to diverge wildly from this actual planet at times. Click on the title for ordering info or contact info for Alternative Comics is up there too…
Cripes, I think the review up there was one of the first things I did for this website and here it is, 3/22/04, and I finally got something else to comment on. Well, I think this book is brilliant. So much so that I wonder if reading the previous book again would give me a better opinion of it, although I’ll have to get settled and have all my comics out of boxes to tell you for sure. Graham’s art is deceptively simple, but there’s plenty going on in every panel. I’m breaking with tradition here slightly to give you two samples. It’s two pages in a row, so I hope I’m not breaking any unwritten rules here, but follow the character on the far right of the panel. He’s trying to get to a party, see, but the only way to get there is through a friend of a friend who makes this other guy want to kill people. The beauty of this book is in the facial expressions of the characters. I don’t know how he conveys so much with so little, but it works. In this story you have a precocious cat who wanders into some genuinely heart-wrenching conversations, Billy Joel trying to kill a wombat, a hacking cough and a quack, and a couple of other short pieces. I think I said the other book was a bit pricey for what it was, but with this one (priced the same at $14.95) I have to say that you’re getting a deal. Check it out, if you don’t already know who this guy is, and tell your friends if you do, because everybody could use some more funny in their lives. Oh, and sorry about the corners of the samples, but you try scanning a graphic novel.
I read this book when it first came out a few months ago and thought it was an uneven but promising piece of work. After reading it again, I have to upgrade my position slightly. I like the vast majority of it, especially the silent (or mostly silent) pieces. The only thing I have a problem with is his… er… “homage” to Sam Henderson. It could easily be called “ripping him off” and, seeing as how Henderson’s name isn’t mentioned anywhere, I kind of wonder if that’s what he’s doing. Oh, That Tommy and Party Ass particularly… you know, what I’m going to assume the best out of this guy and just say that the two of them are friends, because otherwise this imitation is way too blatant, especially considering that they both have the same publisher (Alternative Comics). Taking that attitude, this book goes up in my opinion even further.
It has about two dozen stories in it, mostly short pieces. Disturbing at times, funny at others, and sometimes even a little of both, which makes it all the more disturbing. The guy has an interesting worldview, even if you can almost see that he’s worked in a respectable business for a while. Sorry, but he just doesn’t seem like he’s as much of a social misfit as most of the other comic artists that I read. As such, this has a slightly more “mainstream” feel than most of the things I read. Not sure how I can say that with a straight face with stories like Decency (about a frog being tortured and killed), Slight Aberration (about an accidental hit and run and the killer getting away with it), and Love Monster (about a man misinterpreting a friendly waitress and imagining their life together, much to his chagrin), but there you have it. Hey, somebody once said that opinions are like assholes: everybody has one and most of them stink. The bottom line is that this is a good book and it’s well worth checking out. A bit pricey at $15, but there are certainly worse things you could spend your money on.