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Vondruskra, Greg (editor) – Robots Are People, Too! #1


Robots Are People, Too! #1

I figured it would be a difficult thing for this comic to live up to that cover, and it managed to pull it off rather easily.  Note: I’m just guessing on the number, as Greg sent along other issues of this series as well, but it makes sense to me.  So what, this comic is all about robots?  Well yeah, what else would you expect from that title?  The themes here stay fairly similar, but there’s more than enough variety to satisfy the cynics.  Unless you hate robots altogether, or think it’s only a matter of time before they rule us all.  Silly people!  What makes you think the human race is going to survive long enough to be taken over by robots?  Stories in this book of wonders include Let Me Tell You About My Mother by Victor Claudio (a surreal tale with the dialogue being taken entirely from Blade Runner), Great Americans by Lou Copeland (in which the true history of Davy Crockett is revealed), People Are Robots, Too by Steven Mangold (a fascinating text piece about the point at which a machine might reach independent consciousness and what happens next), Android Institute by Jerry Stanford (a parody of the old comic book ads), Rodney vs. Jer. Mac by Jason Franks (in which the horrible sin of clip art is saved by a great punchline), Lonely Robot by Daniel Boyd (a silent piece about, um, a lonely robot), Dick Danger by Fran Matera (a noir thriller about mistaking a femmebot for a woman), Handybot by LaMontagne, Mangold & Wiedemer (possibly the highlight of the book, a fake legal disclaimer detailing all the potential troubles of owning the HandyBot (formerly Destructomat)), some sketchbook pages by a variety of folks (this killed the momentum of the book a bit but they were still interesting sketches), and …Only Flesh and Blood by Greg Vondruskra (in which a robot sort of falls for a human, but does realize that this one will never live to see Halley’s Comet again).  I don’t know if this series is still going (this issue came out in 2007), but if it’s not it should be.  I would think this would be the sort of thing all sorts of small press folk could get behind if given the chance.  Greg’s site leaves that a bit of a mystery, along with whether or not you can get copies from him.  Oh well, if you can find it and if you’re a fan of robots, it’s more than worth the effort.  $5

Vondruska, Greg – Summer Goes Slowly


Summer Goes Slowly

A mark of an excellent comic is that it can change your opinion while you’re reading it.  This one starts off with a few four panel strips, which immediately set off alarm bells for me (if you don’t often read this site, I’m usually not a fan of that format), but immediately shifts into longer and more meaningful stories.  The premise is simple: these are stories from Greg’s childhood (the scattered stories range from 1978 to 1988).  One other thing that got on my nerves right away was how the action shifted all over the place, as he would tell a story from (as he went from ’82 to ’79 and then back to ’82 again), but as the book went on I became convinced that Greg made the right call.  This isn’t an autobiography, after all, it’s a collection of important stories from when Greg was a kid, and chronological order is far from the most important thing.  I still could have used some sort of intro that mentioned Greg’s age so I could go back and see exactly how old he was for each story, but I was able to more or less figure it out eventually.  So, quibbles aside, how was the book?  I loved it.  If you’re looking for some awkward stories about teen and pre-teen years, you’re in luck.  The piece where Greg asked a girl at church if he could call her over the summer (she reluctantly agreed), where he called her 13 times in two days but never heard back, is a rite of passage for just about every young boy.  See, young Greg, it turns out that girls (and eventually women) will often say that they’re willing to go out to you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings by saying no, instead preferring that you make a fool out of yourself for trying, as then you’re supposed to figure it out for yourself.  See, there’s nothing that can hurt your feelings about that set-up!  And no, such a thing never happened to me, why do you ask? <cough> Anyway, other stories in here include a first kiss (?), seeing the news of Reagan getting shot, seeing Jimmy Carter lose, showing off riding with no hands on a bike and getting a hairline fracture (another male rite of passage), tasting the cat food, drawing comics The Marvel Way, Dr. Who, getting called out on his Mom washing his hair before school, bird crap on his leg, a snowball fight, cheaters at frisbee, getting into a “fight” over defending a girl’s honor, and making it to the end of a bike race.  This is a hefty book for that cheap $4 price, and you’re just about guaranteed to feel some nostalgia reading over these stories.  Well, unless you’re a child, in which case you can point and laugh at the silly old people.  $4