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Harker, Ian (editor) – Secret Prison #2

Secret Prison website

Ian Harker website

Secret Prison #2

Here’s hoping it’s still OK to use images from the internets for the review, as it’s impossible for me to scan the newspaper sized stuff.  And if you agree with me that Benjamin Marra is tearing shit up with that cover, you should see the back cover by Pat Aulisio.  I’m also not entirely sure if it’s possible for any old schmuck online to get a copy of this, as I think it’s only available at cons, but that’s a damned shame for a pile of great strips like this.  Share it with the world!  If I’m not mistaken (and I probably am) this one is even longer than the last issue, and it’s one of those rare anthologies with no really weak pieces.  Sure, some things are better than others, whatever that means, but everything in here has something going for it.  Strips in here (and they are strips, nothing is longer than 2 pages) include Pat’s tale of deliciously sorrowful soul, Luke Pearson’s absolutely brilliant “How to Exist For a Day,” Ian’s silent cubed spy story, Josh Burggraf’s text message-a-rific story of need, Cody Pickrodt with some true confessions, Bob Pistilli going a long way for a great ending, Box Brown and his experience with an exotic “delicacy,” the story behind that ridiculously good cover by Benjamin Marra, Art Baxter loving the summer, Simon Gardenfors getting the most out of his page with a series of mishaps involving a round dude wearing underwear, Kelly Phillips wondering if there’s a line cardiologists should not cross, Cyn Why with a tale for the ages, Steve Teare going to heaven, Doug Slack with a pile of funnies, and Jose Mochove & Rusty Rowley using photos to destroy us with reality.  I skipped a few to leave some surprises for people who manage to find an actual copy of this, not that I spoiled too much for the other stories, but everybody likes surprises, right?  Seriously, show this to the world, you guys!  A working table of contents, a huge pile of talent, this should not be kept away from the world at large.  Unless it isn’t, and I’m wrong, in which case let me know and I’ll tell people here how to buy it.

Various Anthologies – Potlatch



Well, it’s a benefit book for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which is about as worthy a cause as you’re likely to find in the comics world, so I don’t want to say too much bad about it. The problem is that it pretty much sucked. All of the names that I bought this for just put in some old strips. I don’t know if that’s what everybody but I’d have to guess that that was the case. Greg Vondruska, Neil Fitzpatrick, Stan Yan, Dave Law, Barrett Lombardo, Kistof Spacey & Sal Cipriano, Chris Staggs & Marc Deering and Jose Mochove had stories of varying degrees of interest in the book (actually, I thought the Jose Mochove stuff was the highlight of the book, so check out his site). As for everything else, I either thought it was stupid or mediocre. One man’s opinion, granted, but there it is. If you want to give the CBLDF money, just go their website and make a donation. It might look like I put a lot of names up in the “OK” pile, but I was being generous and some of the other stuff was really bad. It’s cheap at $4.95, but that’s the best thing I can say about it. Stay away, Joe.

Mochove, Jose – Full Sanction


Full Sanction

OK, first off, it’s not very often that I could say that I could probably draw a better comic than the one I’m reviewing, as my artistic skills are laughable, but this was as simple as it could be. That doesn’t necessarily matter in a book like this though. The concept is that one of the stick figure people wants a monkey but, because they all smell like “trash soup”, the other stick figure decides to get a sloth instead. Hey, points for sticking with the theme of the site, anyway. It’s a tiny, short book, one that I was smiling throughout, simple art and all, before the ending. Now, I won’t give it away, but it was tremendously unsatisfying, and probably not for the reasons you think. I think, and I’m not sure on this, that the copier cut off the bottom of the last page. It’s either that or the ending makes no sense at all. I think I get what they were going for, but it’s impossible to tell for sure, and that’s a pain in the ass. Look, I know the people at Kinko’s can be dicks, but you really have to make sure that all of your pages are visible. If somebody takes the minute and a half or so (in this case) to read your comic, don’t you want them to be able to get what you were going for? This book was cute and funny at times, but that last page was just annoying. E-mail the creators to yell at them or just check out the website, I can’t imagine this was more than a dollar.