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Gardenfors, Simon – The 120 Days of Simon


The 120 Days of Simon

Simon is apparently a bit of a celebrity in Sweden, as he also raps and it looks like comics as a whole are a bit more respectable around those parts.  So he figured that he would ask people around the country if they’d be willing to let him crash at their place and occasionally buy his plane tickets. and enough people responded to make it happen.  His only rules were that he couldn’t return home and he couldn’t stay in one place for more than two days.  Things start off awkwardly for him, as he is falling in love with a girl but doesn’t want to be tied down with a relationship while he’s traveling.  He wanders around Sweden, playing gigs every so often, taking as many drugs as possible, and having sex with various fans.  Oh sure, he also got beat up and had almost all of his stuff stolen (luckily he did manage to recover his travel diary) and dealt with what he thought was a serious death threat, but overall he was having a grand old time.  Then word came back to him that his hoped-for girlfriend when he got back had something else serious going on.  Simon is broken up about this for a day or so, but it didn’t stop his interest in other ladies and hey, maybe things turn out OK in the end after all.  This isn’t going to be very helpful if you were looking to explore Sweden in comics form, but it’s an absolutely engrossing story.  Simon is very honest about his problems before, during and after the trip, and he shares more than a few details that make me wonder how this was received when it was released in Sweden.  Sure, he often changes names/faces, but he does list the number of each stop, and how hard could it be for the people who live in any given place to piece it all together?  Him hitting on the 16 year old daughter of a family he was staying with, talking about his various conquests and constant drug use with all sorts of people can’t have gone over well everywhere.  It does say on the back cover that it caused a “scandal,” but that can mean a lot of things these days.  Oh well, I’m glad he was fearless in his recounting of the story, as it made for a fascinating comic.  Also, this thing may be as thick as a brick but it moves right along.  It’s just about the right size for a train or plane right, which is exactly where you should probably be reading something like this anyway.  $14.95

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.