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Panel Anthologies – Panel #2: Architecture


Panel #2: Architecture

Damn, and here I was hoping that this was the first Panel, but one look at that website shows me that this one is, in fact, #2. #1 only had a print run of 300 issues and it doesn’t look like it’s been reprinted since, so so much for that one. Everything else besides #3 looks like it’s available on that website though, for the curious. So how does this one hold up, seeing as how I’m just now getting to it for this website? Pretty well, all things considered. The first piece deals with putting the horrors of the past behind us, in a dark and atmospheric piece by Andy Bennett. Next Dara Naraghi and Adrian Barbu have a nice little piece about figuring out every last angle of a heist… or almost every angle. Then the book veers suddenly into humor (and three cheers for all anthologies that keep the reader on their toes like this), as a series of unfortunate events, chronicled by Dara Naraghi and Tim Fischer, leads to the extravagant home of an intergalactic porn star getting burned down. Next up, Tony Goins and Steve Black have a futuristic story about a crappy future world where everybody gets by on giant suspended bridges and there are constant bombings. The text piece, by Dansen Stahl (with a few illustrations by Tim Fischer), is the biggest misstep in the book. Text pieces are always tricky, but if you’re talking about what is essentially a Revolutionary (that is, American Revolution) group of heroes, isn’t it a much better story in a comic anthology if it’s, you know, a comic? Tom Pappalardo proved to me recently that text in comics can be done well, but I think these two missed a chance for a great comic here. And finally there’s a piece by Tom Williams in which he debates going back to Columbine for a reunion years after the school has been demolished. This is still a pretty solid group of stories, even if it only got better from here. Worth a look if you’ve been following this series and/or these people and want to see what their stuff looked like when they were only relative babies at this business…

Panel Anthologies – Panel #1


Panel #1

Well, here it is, the missing O.P. (original Panel). It seems silly to review this in the conventional sense, as this is the definition of a labor of love, probably taking years to complete. What good does it do to poo-poo this early work, especially when practically everybody in here has gone on to do better work? Instead I’ll just talk about the contents, as plenty of people will probably never see this in its current form (although there are maybe, possibly some plans to post this issue online). All the stories in here are followed up with pretty thorough bios about the creators, or at least they were thorough at the time. There’s also a script, which is always interesting for people who want to see how the sausage is made. As for the stories, there’s an untitled story by Steve Black which is a hodge-podge of seemingly unrelated words and images, a preview story of a wacky university with robots and teenagers by James Hanrahan and Tim Fischer, one oddly placed panel by Dansen Stahl, the story of a classic con by Andy Bennett, a brief story about the future by Tony Goins and Steve Black, a lovely text piece about a local wrestling show by Tony Goins, a heartbreaking story about getting old by Tony Goins, the perfect way to regain fame by Dara Naraghi and Tim McClurg, and (this is how I can tell that this must be old) a series of surprisingly unfunny strips by Tom Williams. Just in case you were like me and thought he must have always been awesome. In future issues the art is better and the writing is crisper, but there’s only one first issue of any series. Oh, and there wasn’t even a theme that year! A minor thing maybe, but it sure seems odd now.

Fischer, Tim – Space Pilot Girl


Space Pilot Girl

Well, you can’t fault the title for not being accurate. Just about the only solid information we get about the girl on the cover is that she is, in fact, a space pilot. And that creepily nefarious guy on the cover owes her money. Most of the issue is filled with sexual innuendo and guys with their (unseen) dicks out, and yes, I suppose those two things to go together. This was a fun little mini, and it looks from the website like Tim has more planned for Space Pilot Girl (or at least he knows significantly more about her history than we see here). I’m curious to see more, this one just flew by with some solid dialogue and art, and a pretty girl to look at while you’re reading. What more could you ask for? $1

Fischer, Tim – Glorianna: Sneak Preview (written by J. Kevin Carrier)



Glorianna: Sneak Preview (written by J. Kevin Carrier)

Guess the theme from the cover!  It’s a game I like to play around here occasionally, and this time it’s a pretty easy one.  Glorianna is an aspiring mercenary who decides to go join the war effort.  As she is young and inexperienced she ends up lost, but hears screaming and follows it, what with her looking for adventure and all.  She sees a man being attacked by a dragon, and this preview is mostly the results of that battle.  This isn’t the neatest comic in the world, but I’m going to let that slide because of the “sneak preview” blurb on the cover.  It’s obvious from Tim’s previous work that he’s a gifted artist, although it’s a little baffling that he let that series die out with only one issue.  It sure seemed like he had more in mind for that series, but what do I know?  As for this one, it’s tough to see what he and J. Kevin Carrier have in mind.  A bigger series?  A regular issue and then oblivion?  Or possibly just this preview issue that never leads to an actual issue?  Time will tell.  It’s an OK story, but the Red Sonya concept has been sort of beaten to death, so it’s tough to say if they would be taking the idea in any new directions.  Not with this issue, but it’s mostly one big fight scene.  I’m curious to see more, but am pessimistic.  Check his site, as there’s plenty of stuff up for free, to form an opinion that’s not based on my ramblings.  $1


Panel Anthologies – Panel 9 From Outer Space


Panel 9 From Outer Space

That’s right, a 3-D front and back cover. Nothing 3-D on the inside though, so those of you who can never seem to get the 3-D to work (like me) don’t have to worry about missing anything on the inside. Also, kudos to the joke in the title, and to those of you who don’t get it, take heart: there is a level of dorkdom you haven’t yet achieved if the title is lost on you. The theme this time around is science fiction in general, and it starts and ends with fake news pieces about 1957 and 2057 by Sean McGurr & Tim McClurg. The 1957 piece is all about hope for the future, with nuclear-powered cars, peace in Israel, competent government relief efforts and the flash in the pan that was “The Cat in the Hat”. The 2057 piece, naturally, is about how crappy things have gotten since then. The second piece here is Donkey Punch by Tom Williams, a story about a corporate exploration team who crash lands on a planet full of angry ninja women. Dara Naraghi & Andy Bennett are up next with a silent tale about a little boy who finds an alien in the woods and helps free it from a collar… but was that a good thing? Octopeye, by Steve Black & Sean McGurr, tells the tale of our future giant octopus overlord and our attempt to pacify him with what appears to be one of his illegitimate children. Monster Trucks And Baby Mammas by Tony Goins & Craig Bogart is the least fantastical tale of the bunch, as it deals mostly with white trash people sleeping around and/or trying to kill each other. Or maybe it seems more fantastical to people who didn’t grow up around that kind of nonsense, who knows? Finally there’s a one page shortie by Dara Naraghi & Tim Fischer called Love Ninja 8 which is, naturally, about ninjas using their love techniques to fight. My favorite had to be the Tom Williams piece for the sheer mayhem involved, but once again this is a solid anthology all the way through. The lack of a Matt Kish piece is depressing, but it’s a testament to the strength of the rest of these people that that lack wasn’t even noticeable until after I was done reading this issue. $3