Featured Comics

for December, 1998




Sillydaddy 14 cover This is the first issue of an online magazine inspired by an idea barely two weeks old. We've been frantically rushing to get the first issue together for December, but I hope you'll understand that as of yet we're a little short on material. Our first 'editor's pick', however, is so outstanding, it makes us proud to be able to recommend it to you...

--Connect Sales--


by Joe Chiappetta
2209 Northgate Ave.
North Riverside, IL 60546
$3 postpaid.

Winner of a 1998 Xeric award and two 1998 Ignatz nominations (Outstanding Artist and Outstanding Series), Joe Chiappetta's incredible auto-biographical fantasy series has nevertheless been dropped from the largest distributor's catalog-- so if you want a copy you'd better order it from the above address.

Issue 19 features 'The Berry Brigade', a fascinating issue-length romantic interlude at this year's SPX convention in Bethesda.

Joe is hanging out with a group of Midwestern small-press cartoonists collectively known as the Cornwackers. The story follows them through the two days of the convention, the Ignatz award ceremony, and the SPX picnic on Sunday afternoon.

What makes the story exceptionally interesting is the suggestion of a possible relationship between Joe and one of the other Cornwackers. Joe dismisses it from the start, since she lives 5 hours away from him. But she intrudes upon his thoughts constantly throughout the convention.

Joe's style may present a bit of a hurdle for newcomers. The secret to understanding it is to realize the extent to which his thoughts are centered upon his beloved daughter Maria. While reflecting many adult concerns, each issue of Silly Daddy is addressed in many ways to her grade-school sensibilities.

For example, instead of using their real names, Joe gives all the story's characters and places names that play off the word 'Berry'-- Schmoozberry, Motorberry, Blissberry, Bunnyberry, Bieri-berry. A lot of the fun is in figuring out who these characters really are (I was able to place almost all of them.) On a deeper level, this tends to personalize everything in the story, reminding us we are seeing Joe's version of reality.

Joe's art style is extremely loose and spontaneous, highlighted by Doctor Seuss imagery (the CBLDF headquarters is pictured as a giant bottle standing next to another building shaped like a strawberry). Frankly, it's not much to look at, but it READS remarkably well, and is very effective in communicating his good-natured, unpretentious character.

All in all, a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED book, one worth your comics dollar and worth the little extra time you'll now have to spend to order it.

--Direct Sales--


Gemstone Publishing

We ordinarily don't list reprint books; but we'll make an exception with this one, which includes the Bernie Krigstein's legendary holocaust drama, MASTER RACE. Many comics scholars consider this the greatest comics story ever published (and I agree!)

The true innovator among the classic EC comics artists, Krigstein contributed his most memorable work to this tense, spellbinding tale. His trademark emaciated characters traversing a modernistic landscape are perfectly matched with the subject of Nazi Germany-- modern industrial society facilitating the ultimate in mindless savagery.

Many sequences stand out in this short but densely-packed story: the train pulling into the subway station, with the passing cars rendered as repeating, Futuristic images; the central character staring fearfully at the other subway passengers' reflections in the subway windows; a montage recounting the history of the holocaust in chilling, succinct images; and the climatic chase, rendered in unforgettable slices of time.

It's hard to estimate the influence Master Race has had on the comics medium. It certainly had an impact on the work of Steranko, Barry Smith, Wrightson and Neal Adams in the 1960's (all of them imitated the 'sliced time' effect from the climax.) The desparing, cold atmosphere of Krigstein's art is reflected in the work of Dan Clowes and a number of European cartoonists.

It may even have been an inspiration for our greatest contemporary comics masterpiece, Art Spiegelman's Maus. Decades before he created that holocaust novel, Spiegelman collaborated on a comprehensive article on Master Race, published in one of the early comics fanzines. The article's thesis was that Master Race is a comic rich in implications, and that each re-reading brings new interpretations.

We couldn't agree more.

Also available this month--

New publisher Oktomica is premiering a gritty, SIN CITY-style series titled WISP. For more info, check out their website, http://www.oktomica.com.

LOVE IN TIGHTS: VALENTINE'S SPECIAL #1 from Slave Labor Graphics, a superhero satirical anthology. Website is https://members.tripod.com/~loveintights. Love In Tights Cover

An alien boy lives in a zoo run by lizards... it sounds like the story of my life, but it's actually XENO'S ARROW #1 from Cup O' Tea Studios. They have a website: http://www.finearts.yorku.ca/7stories/cupotea. Xeno's Arrow 1 Cover

You can read the first 9 pages of the new issue online, and contact info. for the creators is available there as well!