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Sampson, Mark (editor) – Khaki Shorts #24

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Khaki Shorts #24

First thing first: I have no idea if Mark Sampson is really the editor of this comic. He wrote the intro for the book and introduced everyone, so I’m just assuming here, and am hoping that the fine folks who sent me this comic will be nice enough to correct me if I’m wrong.  This is an anthology out of Glasgow, and the fact that it’s up to #26 (I checked the website) is pretty damned impressive.  And, apart from the strange obsession with “arse” and “bum” being the apparent pinnacle of humor, there was a pretty funny pile of stories included.  Stories in here include a superhero that patrols the red carpet by Rob Miller, Martin and Adam Smith’s piece about two guys stuck out of time that seems to think a giant fart is the funniest thing in the world, Rob Miller with a mostly incomprehensible piece, Rob again sticking it to the man, a story by some guy (this is what happens when you don’t put a table of contents in your book or at least clearly label the creators) about nostalgia and shallowness, another piece by Rob that insists on making the reader wallow in shit, Larned Justin on traveling to Glasgow after being accepted to do a strip for the book, some other guy with a piece on the lion and the crocodile, Rob (who is, at the very least, nice enough to sign his pieces) with a longer story that’s a bit on the incomprehensible side, A.J. Smith with a sad drunken guy (and at least they made note of the fact that this particular strip used up their allotted scatological humor for the year), some other guy with time traveling priests, and Rob again with a brief Star Trek parody.  See how much better this might be with a table of contents?  I could look up each individual artist, compare styles and try to figure it all out, but it’s not like I’m getting paid for this gig.  It still ends up, on balance, being a pile of funny, and I realize that dry descriptions are not the best way to explain comedic tales.  The poop humor gets a little old, then tiresome, then annoying, but if you can get past that (or if it’s your thing) then there’s plenty to like about this comic.  That price is, I believe, right around $2 in Americaland, which is a steal for this much content.

Miller, John – As the Miller Told His Tale

Website (for Larned Justin)

As The Miller Told His Tale

I’d better clear something up right off the bat: Larned Justin put this book out, and the only contact info in here is for him, which is why I linked to his website up there. Anybody interested in getting this book should contact him so, until I get some sort of website or e-mail address for John, that’s the only contact info I have. Who is John Miller? He’s a guy out of Scotland who’s been making comics for at least 25 years, and these are a sampling of that time. His art, as you can see from the sample, is in that old psychedelic underground style which is almost completely missing these days, which I absolutely love. Stories in here range from one page to four, with most of them being of the short variety. What are the stories about? Well, here’s where things get a little less literal. There’s an underlying theme of fighting the establishment throughout this, which is just about the only unifying thread. Other than that, he deals with spies, repressive societies, records on a radioship, an elite group of special people, tongs, Blotto Woman (the best super-heroine ever), Zooty, Consumer Wars, bomb craters, and, of course, cats. Frankly, the stories in here (while I enjoyed them for the most part) are far less important than the art. That’s what really sticks with you, the sheer inventiveness of just about every panel. Rarely do I enjoy in the full page spreads as much as the actual story, but it was nice to see that art get a little room to breathe outside of those cramped panels. This is well worth a look if you’re interested in that ever-elusive “something different”. $2

Riverwurst Anthologies – Riverwurst #4



Riverwurst #4

It’s always great to see a good random anthology. Seems like these are a dime a dozen, but real quality books are always hard to come by. Here are some familiar names from this website, at least: Nick Jeffrey, Larned Justin, Jen Sorenson, and Jenny Gonzalez. All kinds of good strips in here from people that I’d never heard of too, and a former sex worker who had an essay about how great boobs are, Candye Kane. What’s the book about? Well, you can read the cover for a few themes (it’s magazine sized, I just shrunk it down), but it also has Pickle Dude by Ben Liesch, a story about the ironies of eating meat from Jeremy Kirk, tattoo revenge by Bill Krupinski, some old strips from Denis Kitchen (you know, the guy who ran Kitchen Sink Press), a couple of incredibly funny strips from Dug Belan, and a disturbing story about a young girl who wants to be a robot from Heather Shinn… and that’s only the the first half of the book. Great stuff all around, probably the best anthology I’ve seen so far this year… but it’s early yet. Here’s an e-mail address, #3 is available too, and this is a great way to spend $4 if you like comics.

Martin, Dale – Watusi the Talking Dog #23



Watusi the Talking Dog #23

Wow, there’s been a slight gap in coverage of this book over the years, wouldn’t you say?  I’m instantly impressed when a book gets as high as #23, even if, in this case, Dale is more of a ringleader than the sole force responsible for putting the book out.  OK, he is the one who does that, but his main job is to get people to finish their panels and get everything back to him.  All of these are four panel strips, Dale always has one panel (usually the first one to get the ball rolling), and in this issue Tom Cherry gets the last panel.  In between you get Mark Morehouse, Larned Justin, Chris Garrett, Jennifer Hachigan, Michael A. Carroll, Matthew Corrigan, Dan Lauer, Keith O’Brien, David McGhee, Drew Boynton, Steve Willhite, Greg Gildersleeve, Owen Egan, Ryan Curran and Joyce Curran.  Topics in here include inventions, China, late night, time travel, a barking contest, the lottery, Watusi’s sister, aliens, a flood, and health food.  Tom only goes to the “it was all just a dream” well once, which is good, but overall this thing is more than a little uneven.  Hey, it’s a jam comic, I think it’s supposed to be uneven.  There are a few funny moments, even more unfunny moments, and a whole lot of confusion in between.  Still, what Dale is doing here is admirable, and some of you artist types reading this should try putting together your own Watusi strips with a couple of your friends and see what happens.  I doubt that it’s as easy as it looks… $1


Justin, Larned – New Untold Tales


New Untold Tales

Here’s a collection of various gags from Larned Justin, so if I ever wanted to get a good look at this sense of humor, here it is. I think I’ve figured it out too. His humor is very similar to the Mad Magazine stuff, or at least their style from the 80’s, when I would (very) occasionally look at it. So if that’s your thing, you would probably absolutely love his stuff. Puns all over the place, slightly changed names for the sake of parody, ongoing gags, it’s all there. My problem is that I never liked Mad Magazine, no matter how much people told me that it was classic comedy. Maybe I was looking at the wrong time period, I don’t know. Anyway, check out the sample for a pun overload, that should let you know if it’s your thing or not. Stories in here include Stickman, an outer space accountant, ongoing gags about Noah trying to find two of every animal for The Ark, a very literal interpretation of pirate radio, his version of “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”, and a 19th century detective. Like I’ve made painfully clear by now, it’s not really my favorite kind of humor, but Mad Magazine has been around a lot longer than I have, so I get the feeling there’s an audience out there for this. Contact info is up there, this one is $2.

Justin, Larned – Charlie Chong in Chong vs. Kong


Charlie Chong in Chong vs. Kong

Oh, I don’t know where to begin with this one. I should point out that although this comic contains all kinds of really stupid racial and cultural stereotypes, he describes it as being “parody through the use of satire, and not intended to offend anyone”. Which is all well and good, and I’m glad that he acknowledged how offensive some of this stuff was, but… Look at the cover. Got it? If you think that’s intriguing, or looks like something that you might enjoy, then by all means check out the website. As for what’s in the book, you have a wise older Asian man, a younger farting Asian woman, a parody of Larry King who gets married and divorced daily, a giant man in an ape outfit… Actually, when I lay it all out that like that it does sound kind of funny. Oh, and I forgot about the lackey with the horrible gangsta slang. It’s $2.50 and I didn’t get much out of it, but the art is OK and what do I know anyway?

Justin, Larned – 19th Century Detective #1 (inked by Tim Corrigan)


19th Century Detective #1 (inked by Tim Corrigan)

Larned has decided to get away from the humor side of comics and start working on a good old fashioned detective series, and kudos to him for it. My opinion on some of his older stuff is pretty clear if you scroll down a bit, but I think he may have found his niche with this one. A retired detective named Lane Brain (name left over from when this was going to be a humor series) is called in every now and again, and he’s called in this time to make sure that the killer known as the Graybridge Terror is really dead. It turns out that he is, and it also turns out that it isn’t solved as easily as all that. This is the start of a longer project, Larned mentioned that he already has another couple of issues plotted out. My only problem here was that I was looking for a bit more detective work and a little less mystical stuff, but it’s only the first issue of the series. The art looks great, I was hooked all the way through the story (even if I did have a sneaking suspicion where it was headed), definitely worth a look if you’re into a good mystery story. If you require angst and cynicism with your comics, it’s probably best to move on to many of the other choices available on this website… $3

Justin, Larned – Charlie Chong in Cairo Joe


Charlie Chong in Cairo Joe

OK, I was really hoping that this issue would change my opinion of this series one way or another, but it didn’t. I did learn that this is all supposed to be a parody/tribute of the old Charlie Chan movies, which is something that’s incredibly obvious in hindsight and should make you all question if I have any idea what I’m talking about ever. This one is the start of a series about a plot to steal a “baseball diamond”, and yes, most of the puns really are that bad. It’s probably not bad if you liked the old Charlie Chan stuff or appreciate that type of humor, but it just isn’t the thing for me. Contact info is up there…