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Cardini, William – Vortex #3



Vortex #3

You know, as much as I love a coherent story, I have to admit that there’s a great deal of fun to be had whenever William gets the space to let his imagination run wild. And this story actually ended up making plenty of sense before it was all said and done, but there’s a lengthy setup that would have blown a hole through the brain of anybody reading this as their first issue of this series. Eh, better take a step back and get to analyzing. He does have a nice, concise recap to start things off, which is downright essential in a series like this. Just in case you haven’t read the other issues but are for some reason reading the review for this one, I’ll sum up: The Miizzzard has agreed to help free the Vortex, who are a race of shape-shifting enslaved berserkers. To do that he has to survive something called the dreamscape, and this is where William gets to go nuts. There are trials and dangers, all against the background of The Miizzzard not being entirely sure of what’s real and what’s all in his head. It’s a beautiful mind fuck of a book, and pardon my language if kids are reading this, but that one word will do far less to mess with your head than this issue will. He was nice enough to send along the next issue in the series, but so far things have been moving along really well and I’d say that this series is well worth checking out. And oh, to live in a world where this man had the money/backing to do a full color comic… $6


Cardini, William – Vortex #2


Vortex #2

Huzzah for a second issue of this series! What can I say, at this point I’ve been conditioned to never fully expect a second issue of a series, even when it’s a “to be continued” situation. This one starts off with a nice recap of the previous issue (which is always welcome and, in a series like this, mandatory), then we get to see what a bad idea it was for our hero Miizzard to have swallowed that guy’s head in the last issue. Things remain surprisingly peaceful after that, even if it seems to me like having a swallowed head rip through your stomach and form an entire creature would put you in a bit of a mood. Miizzard follows the guy to his leader, who explains why they lured him to the planet in the first place, and we get some very solid descriptions of what we’re dealing with. And then something very alarming happens and the comic is over. Actually, this comic may have had more words in it than all of the previous comics I’ve read from this man combined, which is necessary when you’re trying to establish the rules for your universe. Once again the art is amazing, as there are all kinds of creatures and objects floating around that are just begging for a more detailed description, and the story is picking up steam nicely. I’m curious to see what happens next, as it was left in a very interesting spot. On to #3! $6

Robinson, Donny – Vortex #2


Website (where you can buy the comic)

Vortex #2

Ack, this is one of those times when I wish I knew more about the creator, and there’s no website to be found. Which makes perfect sense if you read the comic and start to get a sense of his opinions on the vast wasteland that is large chunks of the internet, but this comic reads like something put out by a professional with a couple of decades in the business. Which leads me to conclude that “Donny Robinson” is either a fake name or this man has the best sketch books of any artist in the world. This is a collection of short stories with a variety of different themes, and each one of them looks incredible. It starts off with an introduction explaining how Donny was first driven to draw by his inability to get a dream car in his head accurately on paper, and calls his comics “psychological run-off.” Which is a pretty apt description for a lot of comics, I think. Also on that page is a listing of the tools that he used to make the comic (which might come in handy for some of you young, impressionable creator types), aliens, a flamethrower, a joking skeleton, a biplane, some rooftop protesters and a hippie with no pants. The man doesn’t leave a single space of this comic bare, is what I’m saying. Oh, and if you’re offended by marijuana use: run away! Keep that precious mind of yours safe from all drug talk for a bit longer. The cover price is $4.20, which should be a bit of a giveaway. Anyway, stories in here include a stunt driver with a habit of smoking up before his stunts, a fantastic EC comics style story about a man who goes to an old army friend to patch up a bullet hole as he makes his escape and his inevitable comeuppance, Fred and Barney smoking pot, his thoughts on the internet, theories about being stoned and experimenting to make sure about it, the last excesses in a world of conformity, Sally Saturn, the world on too much cough syrup, and an adaptation of a song by Townes Van Zandt that I completely loved. There’s also the sample page (it always makes me happy when comics actually tackle current political events, as it happens so rarely) and a two page centerfold that has to be seen to be believed. There’s the merry-go-round with spiders and centipedes riding it, the medieval heroine on a skateboard, and a worm (wearing headphones) fishing inside of a cracked egg. And probably a few hundred other images, which all kind of somehow work together. Dexter Cockburn has been putting out a whole bunch of adult comics under his “Comix Company” banner, but there’s no nudity in here to scare anybody away. Just a lot of drug use and some minor acts of violence. So read it, as maybe that way we’ll get more comics from this mystery man. $4.20

Cardini, William aka Hensel, Mark – Vortex #1



You know, generally speaking pseudonyms make more sense when your real name is a secret, not when you list both names in every publication. Hey, whatever works for him is fine with me. Mark’s work has occasionally baffled me in the past (and long time readers know that I usually mean that in a good way), but this one made perfect sense to me. Whether that should be worrying or a good sign I’ll leave up to you. Things start off with a big old cosmic figure who is searching for a “tranz force” and notices a signal coming from an uninhabited planet. He/she/it goes down to the surface and meets a life form. This life form slowly (over the course of pages) reveals that this was a trap set for the original life form, as they knew that it would come to investigate the tranz force sooner or later. A brief battle ensues, the original entity is cut in half, and that’s when things start to get interesting. Mark has a nice intro in this comic that explains this universe a bit, but it’s best to read such a thing for yourself instead of having me summarize it. The battle of these two creatures was suitably majestic , which also gave the reader the sense that we were seeing a fraction of everything that was happening. I also liked his choice to take as many pages as he did showing this battle, as something between two cosmic beings like this should be big and dramatic. I always hated how some Marvel comics would have some big cosmic entity like Galactus getting punched out, as if that was the extent of something that could happen in a battle with a guy who ate planets. Ah, I’m wandering now, but if you liked any of Mark’s previous comics then you’re sure to love this, and if you never gave them a chance then this is as coherent a starting point as you’re likely to find. $5