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Kirby, Rob (editor) – QU33R




Damn, now that’s how you put together a fantastic anthology. The stories in here are of various lengths, but it gets going with a 20 page story by Eric Orner dealing with his coming to terms with his sexuality, dating a woman in college, having a right wing nut of a father and generally not having much of a source to educate himself about being gay. The social progress this country has gone through in the last five years on this front has been staggering (it’s like the majority of the country realized all at once that they were being homophobic assholes and all decided to stop and pretend like it never happened), but it’s stories like Eric’s that remind the youngsters that there were very few options when you were growing up gay in the 70’s and 80’s. The closet was a lifesaver back in those days. Anyway, I’m rambling, and I haven’t even gotten to the other 32 (!) creators in here. Highlights include (and I don’t think there’s a single actively bad story in here, for the record) Annie Murphy’s story about her elderly closeted relatives and wondering what their lives were like, Marinaomi’s first time being an awkward threesome, Ed Nuce and the rules of survival at death metal shows, Dylan Edwards and his childhood friend who referred to his Transformers toys with headlights in robot form as women to try to even out the gender imbalance, Justin Hall’s story about dating a man with (unbeknownst to him) serious mental issues while Justin just thought the guy was trying to work out his life, Jennifer Camper’s hardboiled detective story, Terrance Griep’s most painful wrestling injury, Edie Fake’s hilarious two pages of jokes told by somebody trying to pay to get into a sex show, Steve MacIsaac’s coming face to face with his childhood bully and the unlikely way the conversation ended up going, Andy Hartzell’s story of Pvt. Manning (in his own words) talking about his potential gender reassignment surgery on top of trying to come to terms with his conscience about all of the awful things he knew that the U.S. was doing around the world, Carrie McNinch’s first summer love, and Sasha Steinberg’s triumphant tale of a drag queen buying panty hose. That’s right, I somehow didn’t mention Howard Cruse (who’s been at this for decades and who at least partially started gay comics in general), Craig Bostick, L. Nichols or Rob Kirby, all favorites of mine. So that should tell you the level of quality you’re going to be getting here, right? Oh, and since I’ve been cranky about it in past anthologies, I should mention that Rob does everything right in editing this thing. Creator names at the top of every page? Brilliant! Check it out and enjoy, but set aside an afternoon for it, as this here is a hefty pile of stories. $29.99


Various I Know Joe Kimpel – Future



You all know the drill on these I Know Joe Kimpel anthologies by now, right?  4 artists giving their take on whatever the title of that anthology happens to be?  OK, just checking, don’t get all offended or anything.  This one is about the nebulous concept of the future, so these four are able to take the concept and veer off into wild directions.  Jennifer Tong starts off with the highlight of the issue (i.e. the one I was sure that I was following correctly), dealing with two people who are chatting online, having holographic interactions, before finally deciding to meet in person.  I love this one because if you took away the bells and whistles (holograms, a device to let them fly) the personal side of it happens every day.  Jason Overby is up next with an illustrated poem about needing to keep moving to stave off death, or at least that’s what I took away from it.  Emily Wieja then has the most interpretive piece of the bunch, dealing with pollution, a bird eating a worm, an eagle and… aw hell, I don’t know.  I’m still trying to piece that one together.  To me it was a bunch of pretty pictures that didn’t add up to anything resembling the story title (“Mirror”), but sometimes I get stuck in my literalist ways.  Finally there’s a silent piece by Jose Luis Olivares in which a tiny man clothed only in grapes tries to give a pretty flower away after witnessing the true horror of the world and, after a series of hardships, finally meets a woman that’s about 50% boob.  Hey, I didn’t draw her, and maybe I only noticed because I’m a creep, but they were pretty hard to miss.  Also pretty harmless, as they were on a tiny adorable cutout woman.  Oh, and I should also point out that the actual cover is a bit shinier than the sampled image, in case you like shimmering gold on your comics.  All told I’d say they have better anthologies available, but there’s enough good stuff in here to make it worth a look.  $7