Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

If there's one thing that enthusiasts of any subject will get frustrated by, then it's got to be the simplicity with which the rest of the world perceives their subject.

Comicbooks are a pretty good example. I might be wrong myself, but I think most people who are not into comics mistake its superhero subset for the entire genre.

This might just be the book to buy those people.

Across these 127 pages, Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury trawl the history of the format to dig up the weirdest, wildest and most literally incredible comicbooks that over the years have bucked popularity and done their own thing.

There are the groundbreaking ones, such as Canadian Shane Simmons' The Long And Unlearned Life Of Roland Gethers, which for its entire 80 pages presents all the characters as tiny black dots in the distance.

There are the foreign mutations, such as Italy's version of Superman Nembo Kid, who jogs everywhere and sports a patch of yellow on his chest where his 'S' has been necessarily removed.

And then there are those officially-licensed one-shots advertising a particular message, such as Popeye and Olive Oil extolling the virtues of beginning a career in hairdressing.

Perhaps inevitably though, the majority of the publications featured here seem to be sexual fantasies from the comicbook underworld. Many of these were intentionally made for fun, and perhaps therefore shouldn't qualify as 'strange'. On the other hand, Justin Green's 1972 Binky Brown Meets The Holy Virgin Mary seems to be a personal confession of the author's traumatic OCD while growing up in a particularly strict catholic school.

This reference work only goes into a little detail regarding each of the publications that it covers, generally presenting the cover artwork opposite a panel, a quote and a brief write-up on the facing page.

There are some references in the back detailing where a few of these gems can now be tracked down today, but on the whole it's only a good idea to read this book if you're happy to never hear any more about these lost oddities.

After all, much of the joy of coming across 'new' comics is selecting which ones to then read.

(available under another title here)

(with thanks to Herschel)

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1 comment(s):

At 1:24 pm, Blogger Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog


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