All right, so here’s a slightly smaller group of comics I pulled from SPX, some free, some purchased. I think all of them are pretty good, but here’s a synopsis of each.
Secret Midnite Duck Party: KC Green’s third volume of Gunshow Comics is out, and it is once again a glimpse into the insane mind of the author. Some of my favorite comic arcs are in here, including FIGHT GANG and Let’s Wrassle Again! He’s in his element using non-sequiter comedy and having characters reveal shocking details about themselves in trope-ish settings or just being casually gross and terrifying. Everyone is awful and creepy and enjoys being both of those things. I really enjoy the homage he gives out to Gary Larsen, since I grew up on that guys’ ridiculous humor and KC’s brand of jokes feel like the fuzzy tumor emanating from Larsen’s legacy. (This is a compliment, I promise.)
Bamn! #1-3: Got this free set of Comixpress books from Alex about a ragtag group of kids trying to run their own amateur wrestling racket when a professional wrestler shows up to teach them the basics. The art changes pencil and ink style each issue but maintains a consistent feel overall. The teens are sort of idealized nerd stereotypes, while the wrestlers they idolize are obtusely expressive in design. The art has a very urban feel, and it’s a comfortable look for the subject matter. It’s a fun series and I look forward to seeing more. The author takes a page to describe how his own experiences drove the creation of this comic, and it helps bring this stuff to life. It’s the story of an adolescent’s WWE fantasy made real, but far less serious than one might expect had this been written by a teen. If I had to describe it in two words, it would be high strung. The energy and exaggerated character designs create an intense and entertaining feel.
The Lives of Sacco & Vanzetti: Rick Geary has written a documentary-style record of the trial and execution of a pair of Italian Anarchists in the 1920s, an episode of American history that set off riots and protests around the world. It’s got a grave tone to it, fitting for what is one of the most well-known screw ups in the American justice system. It’s well researched and easy to read. The art evinces an antiquated feel, like you’re looking at old illustrated cartoons from the era. Very heavy on vertical and horizontal lining, with faces trending in that grey area between cartoony and authentic. It’s a very interesting book and I think its importance lies in the fact that it’s an easy introduction to what is considered a watershed moment in recent history, a murky case that many saw as discrimination against foreigners. It’s in the history books but it’s not really well known, and it’s an early look at how mass media got people beyond national borders invested in a court case in a single country.
Also I found the thing I mentioned in the last mass review I did. There’s something about this business card from Emotional Distance that makes me nervous: