Blog Archives

Gennis, Emi – Unfortunate Mishaps in Aviation History



Unfortunate Mishaps in Aviation History

Well, you certainly know what to expect with a title like that. Don’t expect any happy endings here, as Emi once again tells a couple of stories about historical events that didn’t go exactly as the participants had planned. If you’ve ever stopped to think about how the parachute was developed, chances are that you can imagine that it wasn’t perfected on the first time out. The first story tells of one version of it and of the man who decided to test his own invention by jumping from the Eiffel Tower, even though he had only tested his parachute using dummies previously. The really tragic thing about this is that another inventor had successfully tested his own parachute two days before in New York. I do wonder if the doomed inventor had word of the successful test or if he thought he still had a chance to be first and that’s why he rushed it. The second story is all about an expedition to the North Pole in 1896. Emi does a fantastic job of showing the various terrible lapses in judgment that the crew committed before and during the trip, but the idea of using a hot air balloon that was able to control its progress by using a series of ropes dragging along the ground was always a little dicey, especially considering the fact that the inventor couldn’t even get it to work consistently in trials. Emi has managed to piece together a pretty detailed account of their trip, although she somehow manages to make it seem a touch less gruesome than it probably was. There’s room in the world for a big old collection of these stories, oh mighty comics publishers, once Emi gets enough of them together. In the meantime, the rest of you should probably buy these comics of hers to show her that it’s a good idea to keep making them. Not that she should give up on Spaz, but I’m always fascinated by historical tragedies that I’ve never heard of. $2


Gennis, Emi – Spaz! #5


Spaz! #5

I’m in series danger of becoming an addict of the Wikipedia list of unusual deaths. Emi puts a few of these into her comics, so this time around I thought I’d check it out for myself. So if you’re wondering why the review is up later today than usual, there you go. Let’s just say that she’s in no danger of running out of material any time soon, and if anything I don’t get how she limits herself to just a few of those stories per issue. That’s some serious restraint right there. Anyway, a new Spaz in the mail is always a welcome sight around here, and this issue is no exception. Her art just keeps getting better, and it’s not like she was starting off as a crappy artist. You can tell from that cover that her art is getting more regular people-y than cartoon-y these days (both technical terms, obviously), although not in all cases. Stories in here include Emi celebrating her birthday with her pal Zygote (as is continues to hound her about having children and convinces her get tarted up for a night on the town), another edition of “You Know What’s Fucked Up?” (dealing with Munchausen’s By Proxy, which is related to Munchausen’s Syndrome but significantly more damaging (look up either disease if you don’t know what it is, or rent the delightful “Adventures of Baron Munchausen” by Terry Gilliam if you only kind of want to know about the disease but would rather watch a great movie instead)), her pretty damned sound reasons for not wanting to ride roller coasters, what happened to her younger acquaintance Paul after she lost touch with him (believe me, it’s a lot more interesting than I’m making it sound), and a nice rundown of the various types of people that you’ll run into if you’re looking for a roommate online. There are also the few stories of the unusual deaths, but instead of telling you anything about them I’ll just tell you my reactions in the order that the stories were printed: hilariously tragic, I don’t entirely believe it (or “holy shit” if it was true), and they were just asking for it. Judging by her website it looks like Emi has graduated (congrats!), in which case she should be able to devote her energies to comics full time now. All you comics creators out there are millionaires, right? $2

Gennis, Emi – Spaz! #4


Spaz! #4

Huzzah for Spaz! I should point out that the sample below is messed up, as apparently I forgot to crop it when I scanned it in the first place. As the scanner only works on my other PC, and as it would take a good half hour to get it going and then get back to this one (as that one is too virus-ridden to use for very long), I suggest that you go with the theory that you’re actually getting a bonus sample. Sure, it’s only half of an extra page, but that’s 1/2 more than you usually get! Yeah, even I’m not buying that as a bonus. Oh well. If somebody would like to send me a fully functional PC I won’t have to worry about this problem. So how about the comic? You all know that I’m biased to like this one by now, right? Good. After completely loving her last book that was an adaptation of one of the “List of Unusual Deaths” from Wikipedia, this comic has two of those stories and more comics to boot! These two stories involve the Boston Molasses Massacre (which was exactly what it sounds like,depending on what your particular brain pictures for that one) and a brilliant mathematician who was paranoid that people were out to poison him and would only eat meals prepared by his wife. When she got too ill to take care of him, well… Other stories include Emi’s horror story of trying to use a “toilet” in China (seriously, it’s 2011, troughs of shit should just be embarrassing for an industrialized nation), a righteous rant about how people have gone way overboard with the anti-bacterial lotions, and a detailed guide for how a teenager could sneak out of the house for a party and get back in undetected. But wait, there’s more! She also has a few single page strips dealing with things she worries about, things she probably should be worrying about but isn’t, and three places where she’d rather not see hot guys. It’s a damned solid comic yet again with no real weak spots and you guys should probably buy it. $3

Gennis, Emi – Spaz! #3


Spaz! #3

Leaky ceiling?  That’s my guess.  Oh hello, you have no idea what I’m talking about if you haven’t read this issue of Spaz.  See, Emi woke up one morning with the top of the blanket wet but the underside dry.  So peeing the bed was clearly out as an option.  Still, she’s left utterly clueless as to what happened.  As her reaction shot upon waking up appears to indicate heavy alcohol consumption, might I suggest something from the previous night as another possibility?  Maybe a spilled drink while the blanket was pulled back, which would leave the underside dry when she drunkenly pulled the cover over her?  Maybe a cat protest of some kind?  If alcohol or a cat are not involved, I’m all out of ideas.  And as for the guy who woke up to a locked safe being open, on its side and full of water, that is very clearly a prank by somebody else who knew the combination. How many other people could there be?  Unless huge amounts of alcohol were involved there too…  Sorry, I’m neglecting a proper review of the comic because this mystery has me fascinated.  I think ghosts are utter horseshit, so there must be some logical explanation, but I don’t get it from the facts given.  So what’s this comic like, other than that utterly engrossing story?  There are a couple of bits called “Shit I Worry About” that is, um, shit she worries about, like various forms of cancer, falling down the stairs, having her cat run away, becoming a spinster, and axe murderers in the back seat.  Then there are a couple of bits about unusual deaths taken off Wikipedia, although the second one is more hilarious than unusual.  Throw in a couple of strips with her talking about sex and being late with Zygote and a demonstration of her holding out for making comics by hand (at least for a little while) and the mysterious story I loved and voila!  It’s a comic!  She has a deal right now where you can get all three issues for $5, which sounds like a steal to me, and you’d be guaranteed to get a pile of great comics.  Assuming that’s your thing, and if it wasn’t why would you be looking around this site?  If you already have the first two issues then I suppose you could get this one for $2.

Gennis, Emi – Spaz! #2



Spaz #2

With a mini comic (or any comic I guess) there’s really only one question to be asked about the second issue: was it better than the first?  In this case the answer is an unqualified yes, as she spends more time writing, has more funny bits and just generally kicks the ass of this comic.  Not that I had a problem with the last one, but there’s not a weak piece in here.  Things start off with a tale of her job in general and the t-shirt she wears specifically, as it says “Obama Eats Here”.  She lays out the map, shows where he used to live, where his kids went to school and where he taught for 12 years and yeah, it’s pretty clear that he would have eaten there at some point.  Naturally, this t-shirt leads to all sorts of (mostly stupid) questions, and Emi does a great job of running them all down and explaining it all to the slow folks.  There’s one more page dealing with her job, but if I say anything about it I’ll ruin the joke, so forget it.  Other than that the comic basically breaks down into two parts: stories about her relationship with her boyfriend and her “conversations” with a zygote.  Her relationship with her boyfriend seems horribly strained, but in a “funny for comics” kind of way, and it mostly seems to end well.  You’ll probably have to read the comic for that to make sense, but trust me.  Her conversations with the zygote deal with her asking it about the wisdom of having kids with her boyfriend (as she worries about what genes he would pass on) and going on a cruise with it, as it hopes that said cruise will lead her to reproduce.  This zygote is a hilarious font of useless, contradictory and just plain wrong information, which is always fun when trying to get advice.  Also, I checked for that “atrocious error” she mentioned on her website and didn’t see anything.  I generally catch spelling mistakes, although grammar errors sometimes fly right by me.  Maybe something in her localized map of Chicago?  Either way, it sure wasn’t a big deal.  It’s another issue that’s well worth checking out, here’s hoping she keeps up this pace because there’s some serious potential here.  $2


Gennis, Emi – Spaz #1



Spaz! #1

I’d like to start this review with something utterly irrelevant to the comic.  As I know a good chunk of you read this at work when you should be doing other things (and hey, if it wasn’t for my work blocking me from accessing this site at work I’d probably be writing it there), try saying Emi’s name out loud.  Go ahead, your coworkers already think you’re crazy, especially if you’ve ever brought a comic in.  That’s just a fun name.  Luckily she also makes a pretty great comic.  There are a variety of stories in here, mostly to do with her time working at a restaurant, some not so much.  There’s her getting hit on over by the phone (in an incredibly creepy fashion) by a guy ordering wings, waking up on a bad hair day and having very few options for what to do about it, losing patience with profoundly stupid questions at work and a gallery of the many creatures living at her apartment.  There’s also the heart of the comic, a story about a guy who comes into her restaurant on a regular basis, something he’s apparently been doing for decades.  It does a nice job of going into how hard it is NOT to speculate about the personal life of anybody who is a bit odd and how unlikely that speculation is to be anywhere near the truth.  Personally, I’m also going with the theory of a tiny alien controlling his human body, but I guess we’ll never know.  She also has regular updates to her website, a four panel strip twice a week that’s half comedy and half therapy, but she explains it far better than I could.  I also happened to check out her site right when she mentioned that she found “an atrocious error” in the second issue, which she was also nice enough to send along, so it’ll be fun trying to find that next time around.  As for this, it’s funny, the art is fantastic (especially if this is her first issue of anything), and there aren’t enough minis like this around out there these days.  Send her some money to reward good behavior!  $2