Oh jam comics, don’t ever change. In case you’ve only read three comics in your life and none of them were a jam comic, this is a thing that a bunch of cartoonists do together, either in person or through the mail/internet, usually under the influence of booze at the very least. As such, reviewing a jam comic like a traditional comic is a waste of time, as it was never meant to have a coherent story. This particular comic is the “dirty” bits from the regular Sunday jams that a bunch of Columbus artists do when they meet up on a weekly basis, and it is all over the map. But, oddly, usually either offensive or funny. And often both! Each of these strips are one page long, passed over to the next person in line from panel to panel, with none of the panels being signed by the artist, making this a fun/excruciating guessing game. Your best bet to know whether or not you’re going to like this is by looking at that list of tags and seeing if your favorite Columbus artist is included in that list, but I’ll try to summarize at least a few of the strips for you. Stories include the bleeped out clown and monkey love, “The Family Cirque Du Soleil” (with a fantastic last panel), the adventures of a pile of broken glass and a dead dude, William Shatner’s soap, how the Smurfs were wiped out, the end of the world, various types of tongues, cat piss vs. meatloaf, raccoon vice, a devil and a cockroach in love, and creepy Superman. That’s most of the first half, which leaves the whole second half a delightful surprise. Try a jam comic, you’ll be glad you did! Unless you’re easily offended, in which case you should maybe look at any other “Sunday” book. $3
Oh, Comics! #20
Hello comics anthology! What sort of mixed bag do you have for me today? Before I get into it I should point out (in case I haven’t already) that I love that title, as it could be taken in so many ways. I prefer to take it as an exclamation of alarm, but am also happy accepting it in the context of some lovable scamp accidentally knocking over a flower vase. The subject of this one is “Air” (which should maybe have been mentioned on the cover somewhere, but in hindsight it’s hard not to think of air when you’re looking at that cover by Max Ink), and stories include a silent tale of an overly inquisitive space ghost (not THE Space Ghost) by Bianca Alu-Marr and Steve Peters, a hilarious parody of the 50’s style alarmist propaganda videos by Derek Baxter and Brian Canini (probably the highlight of the anthology), Pam Bliss proving that she can draw the difference between a husky and a wolf, a gloomy but accurate (and gorgeous) tale of an astronaut trying to fix a satellite and the consequences of it by D. Skite, Canada Keck’s tale of getting on a plane and getting a one-way ticket to anywhere, two short poems/pieces by Matt Levin about the subject matter, Michael M. Carroll’s tale of some issues between the elements of his Accidentals, Bob Corby’s piece on space cops and their search for an illegal passenger, and a Robert Gavila tale from 2004 about giant lizards. I saw the ending of that one coming, but I am also a gigantic dork with way too much knowledge of such things. There are also a couple of Cornelia pieces by Kel Crum and one story by Steven Myers that I didn’t mention because it is not for me. The two lady hero characters are called She-Eagle (seriously) and First Lady, and the whole thing is meant in earnest, and it is just not something that I enjoyed. But hey, to each their own. It’s a nicely varied pile of stories, and there are quite a few of them for that tiny $5 price tag.
Bolt: Devil’s Sermon #3
Another of the random grabs at SPACE, this one is the serialized parts of a graphic novel. I got the first three issues and figured I’d just review the last one. That way all of you would know how the story is progressing and whether it’s worth checking out or not, and I honestly don’t know. The first two were OK, if a bit too silly, and it wasn’t a silly story. Way too much dialogue that couldn’t possibly have been spoken by a human. Still, he was clearly going somewhere and I remember how bad some of the first issues of some of the great long series were (Love and Rockets and Cerebus, to name a few), so I was willing to at least get the first collected graphic novel when it came out to see how he has progressed. Then came the third issue, where there’s a new “creative collaborator”, Chad Wilson. I’m not saying negative or positive about him because I have no idea what he actually did here, but he came along after a long span between issues when it was supposed to come out every other month. Put that together with the fact that this issue felt different from the other ones somehow and it has me worried. The first two were mostly about a man dealing with the death of his girlfriend in an incredibly dramatic fashion and this one was about him talking to a devil and making some kind of deal. Maybe the next one is where it starts to get interesting, but I sure hope he’s turned the corner on this and has everything together. I should mention that the art is great. If he does get his story together this could be an incredible series, so I don’t mean this to come off as negative. E-mail him (and please, send him some letters to fill up those back pages with something other than rambling (not that I can ever be allowed to bitch about rambling)) or send him a few bucks for the latest issue at 642 South Everett Avenue Columbus, OH 43123-2724.