Pulling back the curtain, just a little...

*I’ve been looking over the last few weeks of stuff I’ve posted, and I’m kind of interested in how a certain level of structure has involuntarily appeared in my daily blogging. Monday night/Tuesday morning we’ve got the miscellaneous comments based on Diamond’s lists. Natural; Monday afternoon is when the finalized lists come out. Wednesday night/Thursday morning we have reviews of new comics; again, that’s simply because Wednesday is new comics day, although I notice I’ve been staggering my reviews throughout the week a little more than I used to. I think that might be due to the workload in my non-Internet life growing heavier, although I’m pleased to say that I’m through the worst of it for at least a few weeks. And on Sunday night/Monday morning, I have the links to all of the past week’s reviews; that’s because I noticed that a lot of readers seem to be skipping the weekend updates and checking everything out on Monday, so I might as well have a compilation of stuff ready for then, so everyone can see what strikes their interest. Soon, I’m gonna set up a little thingy on the sidebar so you all can access the weekly round-ups from each week, and thus I’ll have something remotely resembling a review database for the increasingly unwieldy size of this thing.

It’s neat to see how a lot of these things just came to me through the act of blogging every day. When I first started this site I just figured I’d not have any structure at all, but structure just felt like showing up, and it probably wasn’t a bad thing. I think it makes the site a little easier to handle, at least on my part. I really didn’t think I’d be doing as many reviews as I have when I started this up, but I find myself gravitating towards that more and more. I guess I just look at a lot of the current events in comics and it doesn’t inspire a lot of reaction from me. I’ll try to make a joke if I think it’ll be good, and I do believe that this site needs a certain level of chat on recent happenings, but I’ve found that I like commenting on books more. Especially older books, which I don’t see a lot of opinion on all of the time. I hope my often scattershot focus on what I choose to review is pleasing. I really hope my reviews themselves are pleasing. Heh.

I’m around my 100th post here. So thank you for reading my site.

Yes. You personally.

Thank you.

The Drunk #1

Now this is a mystifying one. A 32-page b&w floppy with a slick, near solid black cover that, seemingly by its own accord, materialized onto the miscellaneous rack of my local shop. I’ve never heard of it before. It’s dated March 2004, and there‘s a special guest pin-up by Tim Vigil, and there‘s even a merchandise page (shirts! prints! mugs!) and yet the production’s website, www.thedrunkcomic.com, doesn’t appear to be up yet. Also, there’s no writers or artists listed by name, with the book’s company ‘Aposable Thumbs’ getting the sole credit, although the book is creator-owned by one Mr. Erik Ressler. So just for the sake of simplicity I’m going to refer to Ressler (whose first name is alternately spelled throughout the inside front-cover with a ‘k’ and a ‘c’ at the end) as the writer/artist.

All presentational bumpiness aside, it’s a curiously interesting book. The Drunk is a hard-drinking biker devil, complete with horns and shaggy sideburns, who rides through a world of demons and monsters, looking only for another buzz. His imbibing prowess attracts the attention of a local pirate captain, who invites him to hit the high seas in search of treasure. The captain is famous for battling Old Lushie, a giant sea serpent who might be the embodiment of the soul of drunkenness or something, and while pirates may prove to be bastards, a drunk’s always got his drinking to pull his arm around.

I guess I can best describe “The Drunk” as Hellboy starring in a somewhat more general audience remake of S. Clay Wilson’s “The Checkered Demon” as written by the cast of “Maakies”. Ressler’s script, however, isn’t close to the tainted whimsy (or the Victorian elegance) that a Tony Millionaire would sling onto the bar. Instead we have short, disconnected captions commenting on the visuals, occasionally in tipsy sing-song fashion (“Women and booze, don’t get confused. Pools of fools flock to barstools. Liars. Tongues. Twisting. Make way with fire and hay”). There’s some dialogue too, usually short declarative snatches of conversation, but like the captions they are essentially ornamental accompaniment to the art, hanging around at odd angles, bits of information tinsel caught in the wind.

Ressler’s art is dark and muscular, lavishing attention on grinning monster bodies and allowing white to simulate a rain-soaked street, or the back wall of a bar, unseen through pale lines of cigarette smoke. Occasional touches of paint work well for water or clouds, but mostly the look is that of thick, weathered beasts cringing and flexing, even when relaxed. The detail of Ressler‘s character designs sometimes distracts from the visual flow of the story, though; panels filled with characters become difficult to read from all the ink and shade. Future installments of this series would do well to expand on the intermittent use of white space, to better differentiate between characters and space out all the boozing and brawling, and defuse the busy, crowded feel of much of the present issue’s interior sequences.

But it’s a decent book, one with some potential. At $3 it’s fairly low-priced for a self-published comic, and the ambition of its creator is evident. If blotto monster pirate bikers are the sort of thing you can get into, and you can handle a certain level of visual convolution, this might prove to be worth searching out.

*And hey, don't forget to peek inside your shop's copy of the collected "Fred the Clown" today. You'll like what you see...