SLUG Comic review May 1992

Comic Reviews – May 1992


Autobiographical comics are nothing new. Essentially begun by Robert Crumb’s stinging self portrait of a loser, and continued by Harvey Pekar’s controversial and much debated self-examination, this comic genre is experiencing a renaissance.

Among the brightest of the new crop of narcissistic cartoonists are:


Lowlife (Caliber)

Initially (and unfairly) compared to the superb Canadian Chester Brown, Ed Brubaker has already surpassed his earliest material, much of it printed in mini-comics format. Now, Brubaker has his own “semi-regular” book, featuring original creations and thinly veiled details of his own sordid existence.

Issue No. 1 features “Mondo Lowlife,” another in a series featuring his “Tommy” character, the extremely funny “You’re a Good Man, Chester Brown” and “The Last Time Tommy Went to a Nightclub.” The latter, especially, boded well for Brubaker’s career.

No. 2, the “True Crime Issue,” fully realized that promise with the full-length “A Life of Crime,” a sometimes funny, sometimes chilling semi-autobiographical tale reiterating the old cliche about crime not paying. Brubaker’s artistry and storytelling skills have progressed dramatically. If No. 2 is any indication, he’s a talent worth watching. (B&W $2.50)


Peepshow (Drawn Quarterly)

Robert Crumb’s disciple Joe Matt has successfully made the transition from small-screen to big screen—in a way.

While Matt’s pungent one-pagers featured tiny, tiny panels, he has expanded his scope to mid-sized, detailed panels and full-length self-jabs. The result is highly satisfying, at least so far.

Issue No. 1, the only issue to yet appear, features Matt himself in a tale of unrequited lust for his girlfriend’s co-worker. Where Matt thrives is the fact that he shows his life, warts and all (including maturbatory sequences) but without making them seem obligatory or offensive.

Best of all, his art has improved significantly, and his cast of characters (including Yummy Fur’s Chester Brown) are quirky enough to enable one to get past your momentary loathing of Matt. Exquisite. (B&W $2.50)


Betty Page

From out of the anus of Dirk Vermin slithers Betty Page.

Based on the fictional exploits of ‘50s “good girl” model Betty Page (whose timeless allure frankly baffles me), the comic features several stories dealing with sexual escapades and lame excuses for revealing the supposedly erotic rendering of the nude page.

The art is actually passable, but nothing a ten-year-old would be incapable of doing with trace paper, drawing implements and black and white photos (which I suspect Vermin employed).

The stories, if that term could be applied to this odious product, are an entirely different matter, however. Vermin (why would he employ a pseudonym I wonder?) shows a distinct and pronounced lack of writing fundamentals, as the tales meander, blather and pander, without even the saving grace of a sense of humor. Worse, the drawings aren’t even strung together in a cohesive, sequential order.

To Vermin’s credit, it must be said that he sent his comic to SLUG to be reviewed—pretty generous for a $3.95 outlay. The copy was even signed and numbered, and the printing quality and paper are impressive. For this particular magazine, though, Vermin would have to pay people $3.95 and sexual favors to get them to take it off his hands.

If I were Vermin and I produced this kind of work, I’d slit my wrists. This is the kind of comic that gives comic books a band name.($3.95 B&W)

Betty Page: May 1992


Brad Collins has recently informed us that he’ll be ordering more comic books, so if you want to see Raunch carry a wide selection of comics, make sure you shop there and tell him what kind of material you’d like to see.

Art Spiegelman’s Maus recently won a Pulitzer Prize. It’s nice to see comics finally get a fair shake. Who says comics aren’t a legitimate art form?

Check out more from SLUG Archives:
Comics: April 1992
Book Review: April 1992