Saturday Stuff: The Fall: Vengeance and Justice #5

Falling like Gerald Ford
Yup, it’s another review of a “The Fall” comic, this time issue #5. Y’all should know the drill by now, so I’ll stick to reviewing the book rather than any deeper look at the character himself. As per the norm the book is made up of different stories, so I’ll review them story by story.

THEME
I lied. I’m starting with the theme of the book. This issue of the fall seems to be primarily about one thing: Other people who think they can do the Fall’s job just as good as he can. The Fall is seen as a symbol to those whom the law has let down, to those who seek justice for the crimes that have slipped through the laws grasp. This has led to more than a few copy cats and the Fall is learning how to deal with the responsibility of having people look up to him.

Guilty Verdict
Guilty Verdict is about the odd netherworld between law and justice that the Fall lies. It is clear from this story that he exists to uphold the law, that his brand of justice is meant to be dished out on those who have broken the law but have escaped proper punishment. He does not exist to bring moral justice. In this story he is met with a man who has helped bad men escape justice, but he does not punish him stating that he has “committed no crime”. It is a great look deeper into the Fall’s personality. He is not out to decide who has been bad or good, simply who has broken the law and gotten away with it. So the question is: Who’s law is he upholding? What happens if the law changes? Does the Fall change with the law?

Guilty Verdict surprised me, and is a great intro to the book. It takes a surprising twist as the man he is talking to decides that justice is more than the correct application of the law.

Lovetown: Strangers Part 4
Strangers has been going on for a while now. This arc is about a villain known only as the “Salisbury Slasher” who kills young women, ties them up gruesomely, and leaves a not for the Fall. This story is the best out of the book, primarily due to the artist and authors incredible grasp on the comic medium.

It is the art that instantly grabbed me. The tied up, decaying, broken body of a woman with a video tape in her mouth gave me nightmares. The detail is exquisitely morbid, and the way the panels flow together makes you feel like there are no panels at all, that you aren’t reading so much as experiencing.
But what got me is this: the author’s use of narration. Narration is a hard thing to pull off in a visual medium. Comics exist to “show”, not to “tell”, and actions are much more effective when done that way.
Except here.
The Fall, a close up on his face, narrates what he is watching on the video tape. It is terror inducing. But what makes it even worse is that it is not drawn. The artist, already having proved he is more than capable of drawing the scenes described, takes a backseat to the authors words. The end result is thus: We, as readers, are tasked with imagining it ourselves. But due to the already gruesome art style our imagination takes it one step further. It is terrific, and an example of what the comic medium can accomplish.

See you on the Other Side
Grim Rascal is back with his Fall babies: The children of the Fall. This story focuses on the slowly recovering Russ, who is now more emotionally wounded than physically. This story isn’t about Russ though, it’s about the Fall, and how he’s slowly coming to terms with the consequences of being a symbol, and idol, an icon. He has finally accepted his role as a trend setter, but he is still unsure how to treat his would be sidekicks. The art is fantastic, making it seem like Russ and the Fall are the only two people in the world. The ending will leave you confused, but that’s what “to be continueds” are for.

Voodoo Child: Part 3: Somersault
Voodoo Child focuses on the Fall’s other “sidekick”, a cop who has taken a liking to the Fall’s brand of justice. The story is definitely building up to a boiling point, and this one serves the same purpose as many of the others in this book: to make the Fall human. The fall is showing compassion, more complex ideologies, and in this story he even shows the capacity to be embarrassed. This story is necessary in humanizing the fall, making him more relateable, without ruining the enigmatic personality.

What does Elvis Say TO YOU in the bathroom
This is also a sort of part two, featuring a pumpkin headed man from the previous comic who is also imitating the Fall. It shows the first of his imitators to take the call to “justice” seriously, not as a way to make the city better, but as a way of appeasing the notion of justice. And he is instantly unlikable for it. I look forward to seeing how the Fall deals with an imitator who is not inherently a good person.

Enemy of my Enemy
The fall takes on two groups of thugs at once! And wins! The art is fun and fast, and there is one panel with shattered glass that is very well done. It’s not deep, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s the Fall doing what the Fall does best. Not dealing with serial killers, not dealing with crazy attorneys, or his mentally unstable sidekicks. He’s dealing with simple bad guys who need a simple beating.

In conclusion
Some of the stories in this one are the best I’ve seen yet in the Fall. The art is fantastic, fun, and a blend of dark or cartoonish as is the mark of all Fall comics. It’s a fun read, and definitely a good addition to the burgeoning anti-hero’s universe.

Saturday Stuff Jellyman and Toast

“We see so many kids who are just plain bored at events we do (not just cons, but art events, etc.) and I hate that. There should be something for them just to have a little fun, they are kids after all, having fun is their full time job. I can identify with why they are bored. There are a lot of things that look interesting, but they are not allowed to touch, be it because things are graphic, or fine art, or collectible. It reminds me of that line out of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “The place is like a museum. It’s very beautiful and very cold, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.” We saw that there needed to be something, anything, that they could just be kids with. Even comics aimed at kids these days become collectable almost immediately (My Little Pony, Adventure Time, etc.). Really little kids don’t want lessons on proper comic handling, or to be told that they have to be really careful with it, they want to open it up, color on it, draw mustaches on the characters, that sort of thing. So that is exactly what we gave them. All the collectable stuff and proper handling will come later.”- James Dufendach on the creation of Jellyman and Toast

Another PLB comic?
Yup. Like I said, they keep putting stuff out and keep wanting yours truly to review it. Probably because I’m awesome.

BUT THIS ONE IS KID FRIENDLY
Man oh Man, a kid friendly book by PLB? At first I thought this probably meant that during the decapitations rainbows poured from the necks instead of blood. Boy was I wrong. Jellyman and Toast is PLB’s first kids book and there is nothing even remotely questionable as far as content for kids. And it’s a dollar. And it’s a coloring book. With activities.

Review
Most of ya’ll will remember the review I did of Bedbug #1 last week. It was a great kid’s comic that had so much depth that there was enough in it for me to love or hate. Regardless of my thoughts on the hero, Bedbug has a depth that I love in kids stories as it encourages deeper reading and thought. Jellyman and Toast is the opposite. Weighing in at 12 pages, with multiple stories, gags and puzzles, there is a lot of stuff, and none of it is deep enough for you to grow too attached. Sure, you can like or dislike it, but at the end of the day you never invest enough into it to hate it or love it.

As for said content, you are given two groups of stories, three about Jellyman and Toast, and two about Dracula, the Mummy, and the Wolfman as roomates (or Doomates). The doomates one requires a little bit of prior knowledge by your kids about the monsters involved, but not enough to ruin the punchline if they don’t know about a certain thing. Jellyman and Toast’s stories are random, dealing with plot points from cooking, to clones, the Santa. Both sets of stories deal with the random type of humor that excels in modern day cartoons, and will be easily funny to kids who think something is funny just because it’s weird (and who can blame them?).

The writing is goofy, if sometimes a little off. The art is fun. The puzzles are easy. The jokes are random. Your kid can afford it on their allowance. Jellyman and Toast is what it is: a soda. You buy it for a buck and it tastes good, but there is little nutritional value.

Saturday Stuff HMH 3

Huggites! I actually have a Saturday Stuff for ya’ll this weekend.

Some of ya’ll may remember my review of Home Made Heroes, Grim Rascal’s tongue in cheek series about the everyday lives of B-list superheroes. Well book 3 was just released, and guess who has a copy?

I do.

Home Made Heroes 3
The best way for me to do this review is to post my review of Home Made Heroes 1 and 2. Which can be found here. After you’ve read that get back to me here, it will save us both a lot of time.

Back? Good.

If that review sounded like your cup of tea, then issue 3 will be a slightly less sweet, but more bold cup. Issue three’s biggest change from the previous two issues is that it takes risks. While issues 1 and 2 stuck primarily to super hero satire, issue three takes a big step into establishing a compelling narrative, and, for the most part, it succeeds. Home Made Heroes 3 is the series’ first step towards making its characters more than just walking gags, but real, memorable characters.

Full, in depth review:
So here’s the part of my review where I pick apart each section of the comic, starting with:

The Gags
Just like every HMH this book starts with a series of three panel comics following traditional comic strip rules. Each one is a joke pertaining to something in the superhero world. And just like with the last books they are a varying degrees of funny. Individual results may vary, but the majority of them I found funny in some way.

Peep Show
By far the strongest showing, even though it is only a page long. Peep show introduces “Sir Valence”, the cyclopian watcher of all that happens in the HMH universe. Not only was the story funny, but it is an interesting take on how we, the readers, are seeing everything that is happening. Grim Rascal has magnificently fused the fourth wall into his comic, giving himself future freedom interact with its audience in a way only Deadpool has been able to pull off.

American Booty
This is where we see the first grouping of superheroes in the HMH universe. The League of Guardians appears to be this universes “Avengers”. The story itself focuses on Captain Smarmy, and while it doesn’t add anything revolutionary to his character, it does reinforce him as a character.

The Beekeeper
I laughed at this one.
Not only for the slapstick.
But for a Brits version of Captain America.

Megalodon and Ninja Frog Man’s First Bad Guy 2
By far the most important to the universe as a whole, this story focuses on the two main characters of the comic: Megalodon and Ninja Frog Man. The art in this one is great, and really shows off Grim’s strengths. The plot is interesting, introducing a second group of super heroes who may or may not be super villains? Grim’s done a good job of keeping them enigmatic. The only thing that adds a speed bump to enjoyment is the blocks of text. Grim sets up all of his text so it doesn’t get in the way of his art and characters, sticking mainly to huge blocks. If they were dispersed into smaller bubbles throughout the panels it would probably seem like a smother ride. But this shouldn’t stop you from checking it out.

Finale
HMH is the first comic in the series to take a leap, to take a risk. Grim is putting more than just jokes out now, but is beginning to set up a story to carry the jokes. While the initial flying is a little rough, he balances it all out on the whole and I see the comic picking up speed in the next couple of issues. If you liked issues one and two, chances are you will like three. It’s worth a lot more than the 70 cents you can buy it for here.

Saturday Stuff Home Made Heroes review

Hey Hugsians, (Huggers?)(Hug’mericans??)
Today I’ll be reviewing a comic series by Grim Rascal, a name you might recognize from my review of “The Fall #4”.
In addition to being a great pen for hire, he also has his own work, a work about super heroes, or… super people… calling them heroes might be pushing it. But whatever they are, I assume he makes them at his house, because why else would he call them

HOME MADE HEROES
Home Made Heroes, as it exists at the moment, consists of two comic books. Unlike my review of the Fall, where it seemed important to split up the comic to review it, I will be reviewing HMH as a series, rather than two separate comic books. My purpose for this is two fold. The first is that each book is of roughly the same quality, and if you like the first, you will like the second, and vice versa. The second point, and perhaps the most important, is that they are stronger together than apart due to the slight story elements that begin to show between the gags.

Quick Review
Each comic follows the same formula. The first few pages are three panel gags, hitting and missing depending on what humor is your fancy. Some deal with double entendre. Some deal with super hero parody. Some deal with these hopeless heroes in awkward situations. The second half of the comics are full panel stories, putting a plot before a gag, or simply making the plot a gag. These are the best parts of each comic in my opinion, as you get to learn about some of the characters you see in the three panel comics, which greatly adds to their enjoyability as well.
You also get some neat cards at the end, which I assume will have rules to use them in later issues.
In conclusion: HMH reads like Tank Girl, for those familiar with the comic. The random situations, quirky humor, and sporadic story elements will quickly grow on those who are already fans of Tank Girl. I also recommend it for anyone who is a fan of the Tick, for many of the same reasons.

Long Review
While the quick review was mainly to show you what you are getting into and what the comic is like, in the long review I hope to dig beneath the surface of the comic and find it’s true meaning.
Grim Rascal insists that the comic is nothing but random jokes and quirky humor, while the main story is coming later, but I beg to differ. Almost every comic, almost every cartoon, has a lesson to be learned if only our eyes are opened to it.

We’ll start the long review with the two main characters: Megalodon and Ninja Frog Man. Megalodon is a super strong, tough sharkman who may or may not be able to swim. Ninja Frog Man isn’t actually a superhero in a real sense, yet. And that’s where the comic gets interesting. When you follow him, focus intently on what he says, you find out he only dresses like he does as an advertisement of his business. You find out some weird things about his brother, who is at the same time good guy and bad guy. You find out that he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty when it is the authorities job. And then, ever so slightly, you pick up aspects of the story coming up. Ninja Frog Man isn’t a hero, and by most respects it would appear he doesn’t even want to be one, but by dressing like one, hanging around one (Megalodon) and being wrapped up in super hero business, I have a feeling he will become one. So the moral of HMH might be “Fake it to Make it”, or “You become who you act like”. Grim Rascal may protest, and keep claiming that it’s random humor, which it is, but I have a feeling his subconscious mind, and the premise of the comic, may prove otherwise.

Fin (Get it… cause ones a shark? Fin?)
Home Made Heroes is funny, and well worth a check out. It ended far to quickly for my liking, and I can’t wait to read issue three. In the end, like it or not, they are very fast reads, and only 50 cents an issue if you contact him directly. $1 is a small price for what you are getting, and it is well worth a look. Who knows, Grim Rascal may be your new hero afterwards.
Edit: I forgot a link to his page! SO HERE IT IS

Saturday Stuff Little Forkers

Here’s another Saturday Stuff. Today I’d like to present to ya’ll a fairly NSFW comic called Little Forkers. It took me a bit to find one appropriate for my site, so I do warn you, the themes are rather adult. It’s quite a funny comic though, and worth the read.
Click Here To Read