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JHONEN VASQUEZ
Click HERE to order Johnny the Homicidal Maniac-- the Director's Cut
JOHNNY THE HOMICIDAL MANIAC
(Director's Cut)
by Jhonen Vasquez
Paperback: 168 pages
Slave Labor Publications
ISBN: 0943151163 
$19.95
"Demonically funny."
.
From the Introduction by Rob Schrab:
"Vasquez has touched something important here. There's a little monster inside all of us . . . We mustn't ignore that monster."
Mayhem and violence rule in this collection of issues one through seven of Jhonen Vasquez's Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, as well as material seen before only in Carpe Noctem magazine. Dark and disturbingly funny, JTHM follows the adventures of Johnny (you can call him Nny), who lives with a pair of styrofoam doughboys that encourage his madness, a wall that constantly needs a fresh coat of blood, and--oh, yeah--his victims in various states of torture. Join Nny as he frightens the little boy next door (Todd, known to fans of Vasquez's work as Squee), thirsts for Cherry Brain Freezies, attempts suicide, draws Happy Noodle Boy, and tries to uncover the meaning of his homicidal existence.

Subliminal meassage: Eat the peas... 
Johnny The Homicidal Maniac is far more than an existential-gen-x-goth-gore-comic-book, it's truly a parable of modern times where the protagonist is at times highly likeable and easy to identify with; while at other times he's despicable and just not nice... This work explores Confucian ideas of civility and morality is chalked full of artful angles and highly stylized art boasts an amazing array of fantastic monologues and all while indulging a morbid satirical sense of humor. Something, which adds an interesting perspective, is the fact that the protagonist is a villain with whom we can identify.

I'd hate for Nny (Johnny) to be some one-dimensional monster. There is no doubt in my mind that he's a villain in a story peopled by slightly less reactionary villains. I also don't want there to be some convenient origin to his character that would make us understand how he came to be, thus making us sympathetic towards his situation. -- Jhonen Vasquez.

Another most interesting thing, which this book contains, is its dual perspectives; you may either see it as the story of a demented schizophrenic or an unlucky subject of a supernatural mishap, or perhaps something in-between. All in all, this is an amazing piece of work.

Spooky meassage: The peas is evil I tells ya! evil!

VINNIE & the STARDUSTERS
"Vinnie and the Stardusters are freakin' hilarious. This 3-song 45 gave me chuckles galore."
--Cake #52/53
Click HERE to order THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA WANTS TO KILL ME
THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA WANTS
TO KILL ME
by Vinnie & the Stardusters
Paperback: 24 pages
Simple Sense of Superiority
ISBN: 189052901X
$5.00
Put on your 3-D glasses (included) and bust a gut to the vaguely 3-D, headache-inducing comic of an Archie spoof of the Vinnie and the Stardusters' story. The kit includes trading cards and a 7 inch 45rpm of a spoof of Jobim's bossa nova classic and on the flip is the Radio K hit spoof of "Que Sera Sera" as "Quesadilla (a Tortilla with Cheez)." Already the single has gone tin! (more than 500 copies sold) And has been included on two (count them) compilations in Japan.
"An admittedly hilarious comic book history of the band."
--Jim "the plugger"
About the Authors
Born in the ghetto of the South Side of Minneapolis, these three gutterpunks learned the laws of the street. While their mission of knocking on crackhouses to sing an a cappella version of their first hit "Huggin' not Druggin'" went sour when the Minneapolis Police threw them in the can for trespassing.

In prison, the three "honkeys" learned all about jailhouse rock. As soon as they got out of the big house, bigtime record execs were dying to put their groovy hip-hop rhythms down and out to the world. Now the Stard'sters flaunt their success with large clocks around their necks. They may lack liberal arts, but they got that street smarts!

VINNIE & the STARDUSTERS
Click HERE to order BAKE MY PIE
BAKE MY PIE
by Vinnie & the Stardusters
Paperback: 20 pages
Simple Sense of Superiority
ISBN: 1890529036
$5.00
"The stuff legends are made of."
--Tufts Daily
.
Archie, Jughead and the whole gang are spoofed as Vinnie and the Stardusters in this appropriated glow-in-the-dark comic, trading cards, and coloring book (with only one crayon: black!) Plus: a 7" vinyl single of the Stardsters' smash hit "Bake My Pie" (as a spoof of the Cure's "Boys Don't Cry."
Register Guard, Eugene Oregon 3/28/97
"Not just because Vinnie and the Stardusters rhyme 'preheated' with 'eat it,' the album's best track is 'Bake My Pie."

Option
"The most remarked upon dish, however, would have to be the mocking pseudo-cover of the Cure's 'Boys Don't Cry' by Vinnie & the Stardusters--reimagined as 'Bake My Pie'"

Fred Mills, Magnet
"Parodies wear thin unless the objet du scorn really deserves it; clearly, Robert Smith and the Cure really, really deserve it. Too left field for Weird Al, enter this Minneapolis jokebox, which microwaves 'Boys Don't Cry' until it explodes like the proverbial wet poodle. Just wait'll you hear the electronica/jungle version on the flip."

Minnesota Daily 1/16/97
"The funniest entry on the album is Vinnie and the Starduster's 'Bake My Pie'--a hilarious spoof of the Cure's 'Boys Don't Cry."

Kurt Channing, Ink Nineteen 33
"You need to have this. This is definitely the one seven inch every collection must have."

Raygun
"A lip-smacking Cure parody"

About the Authors
Vinnie and the Stardusters is a group of farmers from Northern Minnesota. Their mission is to inform the world of the dangers of bovine hormones, stem the increase of farm accidents especially limb dismemberment, and to play some downhome hoedown music!

Chris Ware
JIMMY CORRIGAN:
The Smartest Kid
on Earth
by Chris Ware
$27.50
Hardcover: 380 pages
Pantheon Books
ISBN: 0375404538
This first book from Chicago author Chris Ware is a pleasantly- decorated view at a lonely and emotionally-impaired "everyman" (Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth), who is provided, at age 36, the opportunity to meet his father for the first time.
.
An improvisatory romance which gingerly deports itself between 1890's Chicago and 1980's small town Michigan, the reader is helped along by thousands of colored illustrations and diagrams, which, when read rapidly in sequence, provide a convincing illusion of life and movement. The bulk of the work is supported by fold-out instructions, an index, paper cut-outs, and a brief apology, all of which concrete to form a rich portrait of a man stunted by a paralyzing fear of being disliked.
.
From Booklist:
Ware's hero is a doughy, middle-aged loser who retreats into fantasies that he is "The Smartest Kid on Earth." The minimal plot involves Jimmy's tragicomic reunion with the father who abandoned him in childhood. In abruptly juxtaposed flashbacks, Ware depicts previous generations of Corrigan males, revealing how their similar histories of rejection and abandonment culminated in Jimmy's hapless state. What makes the slight story remarkable is Ware's command of the comics medium. His crisp, painstaking draftsmanship, which sets cartoonish figures in meticulously detailed architectural settings, is matched by his formal brilliance. Ware effectively uses tiny, repetitive panels to convey Jimmy's limited existence, then suddenly bursts a page open with expansive, breathtaking vistas. His complex, postmodern approach incorporates such antiquated influences as Windsor McCay's pioneering Little Nemo strips and turn-of-the-century advertising, transforming them into something new, evocative, and affecting. His daunting skill transforms a simple tale into a pocket epic and makes Jimmy's melancholy story the stuff of cartoon tragedy.
Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.
GAHAN WILSON
Click HERE to order THE CLEFT THE CLEFT
AND OTHER ODD TALES
by Gahan Wilson
Hardcover: 320 pages
Tor Books
ISBN: 0312865740
$23.95
A master of the macabre cartoon, Gahan Wilson is also a masterful storyteller. Originally published in Playboy, Omni, and notable anthologies such as Again, Dangerous Visions, this collection of Wilson's short fiction includes 24 strange and wonderfully witty stories, each accompanied by an original, full-page illustration done especially by Wilson for this volume.
From Booklist , October 15, 1998
Macabre cartoonist Gahan Wilson is the peer of Charles Addams, Edward Gorey, and Gary Larson, but he bests them all at simultaneously eliciting shivers and giggles. He works the same magic in his short stories, here collected for the first time. There are 24 of them, ranging in length from 4 to 20 pages and in manner from Bradburyish boyhood idyll to direly fractured fairy tale to mild ribaldry in pieces first published in Playboy, the principal outlet for Wilson's cartoons. In them, such things as a boy donning a monster suit and becoming a monster, bored sophisticates encountering the walrus and the carpenter from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, and an impecunious book collector finding a rare volume for a song all happen, but with outcomes that usually dispel the protagonists' initial glee. The reader's glee--which is of the type one would feel if the velociraptors of Jurassic Park actually got those bratty kids, as you just know they really would--is, however, always increased. Ghoulish good fun.
Ray Olson
Copyright© 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved.


From Kirkus Reviews , September 15, 1998
Wilson (Everybody's Favorite Duck, 1988, etc.), the master cartoonist of the macabre, returns with 23 chuckles in the dark, plucked from Playboy, Omni, and elsewhere, covering the last 35 years or so. The primary attraction of the collection are its many illustrations, black pen-and-ink works reminiscent of Beardsley's illustrations of Faust, although the writing here and there approaches the level of S.J. Perelman (especially in The Casino Mirago). One of the more bizarre moments is the story named . . . well, it has no name, only a black blob for a title--a blob that could be a cat's paw fresh from the inkwell, perhaps, or a coal-black pear that keeps growing like a Rorschach blot throughout the story. Just what is it? Well, it's carnivorous... but we're not saying another word. The (new) title piece tells of a narrow mountain cleft that leads up to a monastery. Only one person at a time can pass through it, so anyone who wants to go up or down must ring a warning gong. The gongs require care, however, and soon a huge Kafkaesque retinue is needed to tend them.
"Campfire Story" describes some boys listening to a story so scary that some of them might not live through it. In "The Power of the Mandarin," only Evan Trowbridge stands between the malevolent Mandarin and his conquest of the world-- and the storyteller Aladar Rakas has allowed the Mandarin to kill Trowbridge, Pillar of the Establishment and Pride of the Empire. Now who's going to fight the diabolical Mandarin in this series? Why not Aladar Rakas himself? But Rakas (the author) finds himself going mad, because--with Trowbridge dead--Rakas (the hero) keeps getting into fixes the author can't get out of. The thriller grows to massive length (matching Margaret Mitchell's masterpiece) and the Mandarin threatens to turn the horrified Rakas into a garden ornament. Will the evil humor slithering through these pages slurp off into real life? Unclean, unclean! Read at your own peril.

--Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
WORLD WAR III ILLUSTRATED 
Confrontational Comics
Edited by Scott Cunningham, Peter Kuper,
& Seth Tobocman
Paperback: 255 pages
Four Walls Eight Windows
ISBN: 1568580398
$19.95
Midwest Book Review
In World War 3 Illustrated, over thirty artists who represent the edge of comic art present their personal and political views of war in a set of black and white visual comic stories. These 'confrontational comics' challenge the imagination and present thought-provoking and revolutionary ideas.
Dimensions (in inches): 0.72 x 10.02 x 8.08
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