Spandexless Reads 8/26/12 / by Anthony Rosen

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Salutations loyal readers, welcome back to another spectacular round of Sandexless Reads! First, I have to apologize for our absence last weekend.  Unfortunately, my attempt to construct a computer out of spare parts found in the woods during my camping trip did not go as well as you might have expected.  Regardless, we're back and boasting all about our best picks, pulls, and recommendations.  This week we're dabbling in the deep end of the Internet, as we bounce from crowdsourced comics to creators in need of your help!  Whether you're simply short on funds or looking for your next big series, we're here to help, as we embark upon another roundup of the ridiculous, the riveting, and the resoundingly great reads of the week.

Patrick Smith // Manly

I wasn’t able to get to my shop this week, so I thought this would be a good time to talk (at length) about some webcomics I’ve been enjoying lately.  First up, a friend recently introduced me to Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, by Kelly Turnbull.  At first glance, I thought it was going to be another video game/pop culture/whatever gag comic, and I read enough of those in high school to last a life time.  However, Manly Guys avoids a lot of the traps that those sorts of comics fall into for two reasons:

1) its point of view feel more focused, as it's primarily placed on a temp agency for super macho video game characters and the personalities that sort of place could generate and...

2) it's recently started taking its first steps towards long-form storytelling, focusing on main character Commander Badass as Turnbull concentrates on trying to do something new with the old character archetype that is the time-traveling space marine single father.

Next up is The Non-Adventures of Wonderella by Justin Pierce which is…..I guess you could call it a Wonder Woman parody but that doesn’t really fit, since the comic goes so much farther than that.  Basically, the story centers on someone who should be the world’s greatest super hero, but who is instead mostly just a horrible person.  Pierce uses Wonderella as a pretty great mouthpiece for a lot of the more absurd elements of super hero comics, but he also uses those same absurd elements in such a way that it never feels like he's never browbeating super hero comics *cough* thegutters *cough*.  Instead, it just feels incredibly fun.

Finally the last web comic I’d like to recommend is a strip that Beth recommended to me, called Lackadaisy.  I’ll admit I don’t usually go for comics with anthropomorphic animals in them but Tracy J Butler is such a phenomenal artist; it sort of left me reeling the first time I saw her work. Drawing legitimately good facial expressions is something that’s lacking in a lot of comics but Butler just makes it seem effortless, and it's coupled with a good eye for period detail, along with the occasional burst of horrific violence. Plus I’m just a sucker for stories about bootleggers during prohibition, even if those bootleggers have a tendency of being slightly incompetent.

Anthony Rosen // Pulpy

This week I tackled the August edition of Premier Pulp! This fairly new crowdsourced comic anthology is a collection of wildly different short stories, ranging in tone from thought-provoking to whimsical. It's certainly a loveable project, as the enthusiasm and appreciattion for the medium that each artist and writer has shines through in their delivery on the page.  With standout work by Troy Green, Dustin Jackson, Al Sirois, the free price tag makes the decision to read the collection awfully easy. These are certainly amateurs, no doubt, but their product is clearly the work of people that care immensly about what they're doing.

David Anderson // Tuned

Hey loyal fans, you might recall a review I did a while back for a neat little comic called Tune.  Well, turns out that it's halted for now and won't resume until First Second Publishers is convinced that Derek Kirk Kim and Les McClaine's work is worth investing more money into.  Basically, they needs to get 8-10,000 units of Book #1 of Tune sold before they are confident that they want to continue having him on board.  So if you like this comic and want to see more of Andy Go as he tries to survive in an interdimensional zoo, go to this link and buy a copy (at the moment it's in pre-orders, on sale November 13).  You'd be helping him out and getting a good product.  If I were a Scientologist I'd tell you to go out and buy copies in bulk, but I won't pressure you.  I do however think hitting his sales ceiling of 10K is better for everyone than his floor of 8K, so the more the better.

Get some copies for some friends mayhaps?

Beth Scorzato // Out of adjectives

First off, I'd like to add my resounding agreement to Patrick's assessment of Lackadaisy (obviously as I recommended it to him). Seriously... go read that comic.

This week I decided to get back to my roots by re-reading the first comic I ever bought, the TPB of Revelations by Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos. Even after years of other experiences it still holds up for me. Gorgeous art, complex plot, wonderful characters, no held punches. Just beautiful.

I also recently came into a copy of the first volume of Battlepug which, for God knows what reason, I had never read before. It's just... YES. It manages to be absurd, deranged, innocent and grotesque all at once. Which sounds like it makes no sense but if you read it you'll get what I mean. I'll definitely be picking up where I left off and continuing this epic of pug proportions.

Speaking of pugs... I'd just like to take this chance to remind you that several members of the Spandexless staff will be at the Small Press Expo in a few weeks. AND WE ARE PUMPED. We'll be there en masse covering panels, the Ignatz and looking to talk to YOU about your comic. So what does this have to do with pugs? Because while there we will hopefully get a chance to see official Spandexless mascot Jade T. Superstar the three-legged pug and her human the lovely Joy Taney. That's why.

PUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUG.

-Exit