SLUG Comics newspaper print headline.

Comic Reviews: September 1991


Though USA Today and other shitrags would have us believe that comics fans read only superhero masturbatory fantasies like “Spiderman” and the “X-Men.” I’m here to tell you it ain’t so.

There are actually a lot of decent autobiographical, humor, horror, and other types of comics out there. You’ve just got to know where to look.

For instance, Caliber’s Ashes, a 6-issue miniseries compiling John Bergin’s short stories, has been magnificent. Though it would be easy to lump Bergin’s stories into the horror genre, it would be fairer to say they look at the world’s darker side. His art style is loose, with an almost Spanish influence belying it’s cartoonishness. The latest issue, number five, came out some time ago and it’s expected that Tundra Press will be releasing that final issue. Don’t miss this eerie series. (B&W, $2.50-$2.95)

Caliber has also been publishing Mike Allred’s second series of Grafik Musik. The series blends both fantasy and horror. The first running feature, “It Was…”, actually started in Allred’s Dead Air graphic novel (which, along with the first three black & white Graphique Musique issues, are available from Slave Labor Graphics). It’s an interesting tale of what Heaven and Hell really mean. The second feature, Ghoulash, looks to be picking up steam, since it’s adding characters from Allred’s superb early vampire story, “Citizen Nocturne.”

Allred’s art is gorgeous and lean, with real life characters appearing in backgrounds. Though Caliber’s number four recently came out, it looks certain that Tundra will be picking up this book as well. (Color/B&W $2.50-$3.50)


Written and drawn by Ted McKeever, whose past work has included Eddy Current and Transit, this series portrays a decaying city in the throes of a “vomit plague” which is killing it’s citizens and mysterious visitations by “demons” and “angels.” The latest issue, #6, features some revelations as Enoch, a victim of the plague who has been transformed into an “angel,” is informed by Sarakel, another “angel” and events move toward a showdown between good and evil.

The work is so far expanding on these McKeever has employed in past work, including bleak like in big cities, the corruption of authority figures, the struggle for some meaning in life, and some religious symbolism. McKeever’s sketchy, impressionistic art may leave some cold, but here it is employed marvelously expressing difficult themes and the story in undeniably compelling.

Best of all McKeever has promised that characters and plotlines from Eddy Current and Transit will appear. But that shouldn’t deter readers. This comic is worth a look (Color, $2.85).


Yummy Fur

The comic, once noticed for the bizarre “Ed the Happy Clown” stories, has recently and successfully moved into autobiographical vignettes. #25, the current issue, features writer-artist Chester Brown’s early morning routine as he is annoyed by a presumptuous and egotistical neighbor before he can even eat breakfast. The back-up story, carrying over from previous issues, is brown’s adaptations of Matthew (yes, the biblical book), this time featuring Jesus’ exorcism of two afflicted men on Gadara. The results will leave the reader wondering about how Jesus’actions are views. Also, Brown draws what are probably the ugliest, scummiest Jesus and his apostles ever seen.

The printing quality of the comic has increased with the comic’s move from Vortex to Drawn & Quarterly Comics. This, plus the accessibility of Brown’s personal stories, makes Y.F. a good choice for comics readers looking for something different. Spin and Rolling Stone have both endorsed Yummy Fur in the last few years, and, for once, their recommendations are deserved. (B&W, $2.50)


Milk & Cheese

Touted by such entities as Factsheet Five’s Mike Gunderloy and KJQ’s Kerry Jackson, Milk & Cheese follows the exploits of the admitted “cartoon of hate” and “wedge of spite.”

In this, their first solo comic, the diminutive twosome bash the mailman, the American legal system, mall cops, bowling, and the Home Shopping Network. While introducing the world to pleasure like “no talent celebrity” tag. “There” too much here to describe without ruining the jokes. Even Dorkin, who also does the under-appreciated Pirate Corp$! for Slave Labor and is writing and drawing Marvel’s Bill & Ted comic, has outdone himself with M&C. This is one of the truly funny comics being produced and big sales on this will enable Slave Labor, a quality comics company that’s struggling to stay afloat. The best news there is that a second issue is due this fall. (B&W $2.50)


I Am Legend

Modernized by Steve Niles and drawn by Elman Brown, the first two parts of this four issue series dramatized Richard Matheson’s classic vampire novella.

The story concerns Robert Neville, the last man on Earth after a mysterious bacterial plague has transformed the humans into vampires. Probably the most fascinating aspect of the tale so far is Neville’s struggle for the sanity and meaning amidst all the horror and his fortifications against the nightly encroachments by the vampire horde.

Unfortunately, the art just can’t manage to convey and depict the drama and the right price tag makes this comic a lousy by unless you’re a die-hard vampire fan. (B&W $5.95)

Marshal Law

This is just the latest chapter in the tales of the good Marshal, an anti-hero who kills other superheroes, presented by a vowed hero-hater Pat Mills (writer) and Kevin O’Neill (artist).

The newest exploit, part 1 of 3, concerns a toxic radioactive spill in Colma, the giant graveyard in which the Marshal’s victims have been buried. This results in a while lot of pissed-off, undeadsuperheroes returning to avenge themselves on the world and especially Marshal Law.

Anyone who has picked up an issue or two of the Marshal’s “past” adventures will be delighted, but new readers will have equal pleasures reveling in scenes of gruesome mutilation, killing, corpse-munching and more. All of this presented in glorious detail through Mills’ marvelous writing and O’Neill’s spectacular gory artwork.

Curiously, this story is also being serialized in Apocalypse’s Toxic! magazine, but also the solo comic is a better value and makes for easier reading. Comics readers sick of superheroes and their monopoly on the medium finally have a hero of their own. Maybe superheroes can be…fun? (Color, $5.95). 


For more from the SLUG Archives:

Book Review: Nick Cave – And The Ass Saw The Angel

What’s Wrong With Today’s Protesters, Protests and Protest Music?