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
Slam Bang #1 Volume 3 Now Available! $9.95
Somehow this massive book has been available in the store here for almost a year and I’ve somehow missed talking about it. I blame the elections and the loss of my appendix last year; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Want some details? As the cover says, there are over 50 contributors, this massive thing is over 200 pages, the cover art is gorgeous (even though the girl on the cover doesn’t actually appear in any of the stories) and keeping something this packed to under $10 is an impressive achievement. As for contributors, there are way too many to list them all, so I’ll just stick with the ones who have pages up here at the old Sloth for reference: Dan Taylor, Brad Foster, Tim Corrigan, John Lustig, Stan Yan, Dean LeCrone, Matt Levin, and Jim Siergey. That leaves all sorts of new cartoonists for you to discover in here, doesn’t it? As a whole, well, it’s an anthology, so some parts are stronger than others, but there’s more than enough in here to make it worth your while. Highlights include Ethan Wenberg and Stan Yan’s tale of the poo-flinging reporter (which makes this the most political book I’ve seen all year, sadly enough), the brief Kevin Hanna puppet theater story explaining to kids how the fast food is made, Ron LeBrasseur’s vampire love story, Dean LeCrone’s tale of an old lady trapped in a hot car by her dog, Tyler Sticka’s fly fight over some poo, Dan Taylor’s story about a successful weight loss clinic, Dan Lauer’s Iron Chef Funnies, Anton Bogaty’s tale of a space crew trying to defeat an unstoppable alien, and John Lustig’s always amusing Last Kiss comics, which are scattered throughout. The heart of the book though (figuratively and literally) is the Tim Corrigan Mighty Guy piece about the slave driver that is Allen Freeman and the methods he uses to keep all his cartoonists happy. Mighty Guy has been around for decades (although if I remember correctly it was always self-published) and I’ve always thought it was vastly underrated. What fan of cartoons ever wouldn’t appreciate Mighty Guy being shoved into a tin can (when trying to take over “Marvelous” comics) by the “Bulk”? All told, this is a pretty solid bunch of comics. A few stinkers, naturally, but more than enough good stuff in here to make up for it. $9.95
X-Mass (with Michael Doak, Tim Corrigan & Willard Petry)
Could it be? Am I only in a good mood because of the holidays, as I didn’t particularly love his other work? Well, whatever the case, I thought this book was cute. The story is that Santa gets his butt kicked by a group of Christmas super villains: Dr. Fruitcake, Ornament Lad, Light String and Figgy Pudding. They’re out to ruin the 12 days of Christmas one day at a time, so Santa has to call on some friends (hey, it’s no mystery, just look at the cover) to help him. Everything is done in rhyme and, while that might be annoying to some, there’s not much bad you can say about somebody who uses “forsooth” for a rhyme. It’s entirely possible that this would only be entertaining about three days out of the year, but today (12/24/02) I loved every bit of it. Contact info is above, send him $1.75 and relive the holiday!