Small Press Tribunal
First published in the 24 Page Mini Sized Comic - 2 Headed Dog #4.5
Reviews of THROKK 5, RENEGADE 7, WILCAT 2.
by ROBERT KELLOGG, ANDY ROELL and ERIK WEEMS
ERIK: Okay boys, here we are the second time around. I've got these Small Press Comics out and I am all set.
ANDY: I think I’d like to mention right off the bat, so to speak, that we've got some pretty good mail on the first SMALL PRESS TRIBUNAL outing. I think we’re on to something.
ROBERT: Yeah, yeah. Lets get onto the actual reviewing, I've got things to do today besides set around in here.
ERIK: OK. Well, here's the first target, THROKK 5. This is published by human dynamo Matt Broersma, who lives in Texas.
ROBERT: “Human Dynamo”? You mean, like, hook him up and he generates electrical power?
ERIK: Yeah. What do you think I mean? Its a saying, you've heard it before.
ANDY: Well, what do you suppose would happen if we wired up THROKK 5? Would it generate any current?
ERIK: Mebbe. This is a pretty good issue. It has a well done cover. Very expressive.
ANDY: I don’t usually like "pointillism," the method by which an artist pecks out about a zillion little dots to build up an image. But this here cover is different. Its not pure "pointillism", like say, Sauret. Its got this heavy silhouette in black against this big head.
ROBERT: This guy, or thing, on the cover looks like some kind of lizard priest out of a Conan story. Is this dude inside?
ERIK: Yes. He’s a priest of some snake cult. He captures Throkk and a dwarf buddy and threatens to cut off their heads. Not a nice fellow.
ANDY: Lacking the milk of human kindness, you might say.
ERIK: He’s a snake priest. I suppose they aren't taught to be very compassionate. Haven’t ever read any Conan stories?
ANDY: So I’m supposed to read Conan prior to reading THROKK 5? What sort of deal is this?
ERIK: You don’t have to read Conan. This is much funnier than Conan, anyway.
ROBERT:This is a funny mini-comic. Its 16 pages long and costs seventy-five cents, postage paid. I recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed Dave Sims CEREBUS, or is interested in comedy-adventure of the sword & sorcery variety.
ANDY: I haven’t read it, but the cover is good. The inside art is somewhat blurry on the details. Probably something to do with whatever photocopier this was reduced on.
ERIK: I think it’s very well done. The writing is way above the average Small Press Mini. It's great.
ROBERT: How do you know it’s “great”?
ANDY: Matt Broersma told’em so!
ERIK: I’m able to stand behind my opinion. It’s good. I recommend it. At least I know what I’m talking about, You guys haven’t even read it!
ROBERT: Lets move on. Here’s RENEGADE 7.
ANDY: This is a real hodge-podge of things. Variety is the catchword here, gentlemen.
ROBERT: Except it doesn't look like good variety.
ERIK: I liked some of this stuff. I just wish there was a contents page, and titles for every story.
ROBERT: I can’t tell any difference.
ERIK: Did you happen to even read through this yet?
ROBERT: Uh, no.
ERIK: Unless you actually have looked into this with some depth, I think you ought to keep quiet. In fact, perhaps we should censor you until we get to something you actually know about.
ANDY: But then he'll never get to speak. Unless we start to talk about Los Brothers Hernandez.
ERIK: Well, we’re not. Lets review what we've got.
ANDY: By the way, how come I haven’t seen any new issues of LOVE & ROCKETS for awhile?
ROBERT: I think maybe they’re on vacation.
ERIK: Ben Lewis, who is the publisher of RENEGADE, isn't on vacation. He’s working hard to improve upon this book. From stuff I've read in COMICS F/X, Ben has been steadily getting better. I liked some of the stuff in here.
ANDY: Where would the Hernandez brothers go on a vacation? I mean, they already live in California. Besides, LOVE & ROCKETS may get a lot of lip service, but it doesn't sell all that well, compared to the X-MEN.
ROBERT: Nothing sells all that well compared to the X-MEN.
ERIK: There is one particular tale in RENEGADE that dealt with a teenage couple at a drive in. It was an interesting, truthful little saga.
ANDY: OK, here’s WILDCAT 2...
ERIK: I take it, then, that comment is now closed on Ben Lewis’ RENEGADE? My last word, then, is to say that for two dollars to Ben, you can get a copy of this yourself and see a very wide variety of work.
ANDY: A smorgasbord.
ROBERT: It’s a pretty average mini comic. Some interesting things, some not-so interesting things.
ERIK: Are you speaking about WILDCAT 2, RENEGADE 7, or the Los Brothers Hernandez?
ROBERT: This is pretty much like THE RANCID PICKLE. Interesting on it’s own terms, but when contrasted against something else, it leaves much to be desired.
ERIK: Contrasted against what? WHAT’S being contrasted?
ROBERT: The Rancid Pickle. You remember it ... this pickle runs around this city, dressed up in a superhero suit of somekind...
ANDY: ...And he abuses the civil rights of muggers and crooked cops. we've talked about this before. Heck - maybe we've reviewed it before, too.
ROBERT: OK. WILDCAT 2. This is by a fellow named Mike Rogers. The cover made me think that this was a superhero parody, but it certainly isn't.
ERIK: I enjoyed this quite a bit. You don’t often see any half-way decent superhero work coming out of the small press arena.
ANDY: I thought the small press was the place for folks to experiment. This is just retread MARVEL comics.
ROBERT: Well, you know, I guess there can never be too many DAREDEVILs and BATMANs. The cover is good, very action oriented.
ERIK: Look, I’m not going to compare Mike Rogers to Frank Miller. But, I think that WILDCAT 2 is good. I think that it would have a much better effect if there was a longer page count. The motivation for the WILDCAT is pretty simple: Put down by his peers, mom killed by a drunk driver, dad calling him a panzy... it is enough to cause anyone a little bit of angst. Y’know, frustration.
ANDY: If you go by the cover, I’d say WILDCAT is a little more than frustrated! He look’s like a sociopath. The sort of fellow who looks up to Bernard Goetz for a role model.
ROBERT: Somebody ought to do a BERNARD GOETZ ACTION COMICS. Wasn't it that artist, uh,...Rich Buckler, who did that atrocious comic book about the commando team made up of Ronald Reagan clones? He could probably handle it.
ANDY: Who’d publish it?
ERIK: You couldn't do it. You’d end up getting sued. Or shot.
ROBERT: But hey, You’d make a lot of money!
ERIK: Why are we even talking about Bernard Goetz for? I think we should get back to what we’re here for.
ANDY: What are we here for?
ROBERT: You mean, in this room? Or on the earth?
ERIK: I recommend WILDCAT to anyone interested in reading a pretty good “serious” superhero Small Press comic book.
ANDY: I think we’re here to make everybody happy.
THROKK 5 is available for 75 cents ppd. from Matt Broersma [address deleted]
RENEGADE 7 is $2.00 ppd. from Ben Lewis [address deleted]
WILDCAT 2 is 35 cents from Mike Rogers [address deleted]
Small Press Tribunal - First published in the 24 Page Mini Sized Comic - 2 Headed Dog #4.5
Read more about Matt Broesma at lambiek.net
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