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Hensel, Mark – Glade & Mark in: “Rocky Mountain Chomp”


Glade & Mark in: “Rocky Mountain Chomp”

You know what I didn’t think through in my request for online comics to review yesterday? The fact that I still wouldn’t have sample images for the reviews, as images for online comics are gigantic and I lack the means here to shrink them. Oh sure, there’s probably some easy way to do it for people who are less stupid than me, but this is the brain you folks are stuck with on this site. Anyway, Mark was nice enough to send along a few online comics, and I didn’t even click on the second one after seeing this. This was the comic that Mark put out for his wedding (Glade is apparently now his wife, or he picked a fake name for his wife in his wedding comic, which makes no sense), and it’s very different from his usual stuff in that, well, people can read it. I don’t mean that in a bad way, although that’s probably how it’s going to sound, as this is still as delightfully fucked up as most of Mark’s comics. It just has a clear narrative arc for all to see, while some of his other comics may take a little more work to decipher. This is the story of Glade and Mark’s battle with a giant monster that’s trying to eat the Rocky Mountains. As you might have guessed from that title, or maybe your natural instinct isn’t to see that title and automatically jump to “oh, it’s clearly about a giant monster eating the Rockies.” Anyway, they get a call from the President and set off to save the day, and even a big old monster can’t stand up against a serious shrinking. From there it gets downright cute, as a wedding comic should, but this is one case where you can click on that link and read the whole thing for yourself. It’s relatively short and you’re probably just killing time at work anyway, so go for it. And congrats to the happy couple!

Cardini, William aka Hensel, Mark – Vortex #1



You know, generally speaking pseudonyms make more sense when your real name is a secret, not when you list both names in every publication. Hey, whatever works for him is fine with me. Mark’s work has occasionally baffled me in the past (and long time readers know that I usually mean that in a good way), but this one made perfect sense to me. Whether that should be worrying or a good sign I’ll leave up to you. Things start off with a big old cosmic figure who is searching for a “tranz force” and notices a signal coming from an uninhabited planet. He/she/it goes down to the surface and meets a life form. This life form slowly (over the course of pages) reveals that this was a trap set for the original life form, as they knew that it would come to investigate the tranz force sooner or later. A brief battle ensues, the original entity is cut in half, and that’s when things start to get interesting. Mark has a nice intro in this comic that explains this universe a bit, but it’s best to read such a thing for yourself instead of having me summarize it. The battle of these two creatures was suitably majestic , which also gave the reader the sense that we were seeing a fraction of everything that was happening. I also liked his choice to take as many pages as he did showing this battle, as something between two cosmic beings like this should be big and dramatic. I always hated how some Marvel comics would have some big cosmic entity like Galactus getting punched out, as if that was the extent of something that could happen in a battle with a guy who ate planets. Ah, I’m wandering now, but if you liked any of Mark’s previous comics then you’re sure to love this, and if you never gave them a chance then this is as coherent a starting point as you’re likely to find. $5

Cardini, William (aka Mark Hensel) – Shaman Thunder



Shaman Thunder (with Josh Burggraf)

You know what I’ve always hated about any sort of wizard on wizard battle in the movies?  Or shamans, or any sort of people who were supposed to have all sorts of bizarre and unknowable mystical powers?  How stupid it always ends up being.  More often than not it turns into a typical physical slugfest, either due to a lack of imagination or a lack of budget, and it always drags me out of whatever willing suspension of disbelief I was going through.  Yes, in case you were wondering, there is a a point to all this: those two floating heads you see on the cover belong to two shaman, and their battle in this issue is exactly like this sort of thing should be.  Meaning that it only has the barest appearance of a conventional fight to us normal folk, but there’s clearly all sorts of things going on beneath the surface.  This issue starts off simply enough, as one shaman returns home and discovers that his thunder-root is missing.  He tracks down the thief (using magic, of course), but this leads him to believe another shaman (a disillusioned shaman who’s standing near the actual thief) is the thief, which leads to an absolutely awesome battle.  Go ahead, embiggen that sample below.  If you’re not impressed with that you’ve clearly never spent even a second of your life imagining what an actual shaman fight would look like.  The rest of the issue deals with the two shamans teaming up to fight the actual thief, but shamans never get along for long.  As for the art, William/Mark and Josh mostly draw alternating pages, and it’s seamless.  Sometimes it’s tough to say who would enjoy a particular mini and who wouldn’t, but this one is easy.  If you’re enough of a dork to want to see a thoroughly ridiculous though oddly realistic fight between two shamans, it’s never been done better to my knowledge.  If you consider yourself above such things, lucky for you there are many other mini comics in the world for you to choose from.  No price again, so I’m going with $2.50.