Samuel C. Gaskin, writer/artist
Secret Acres, 2008
I’ve got some friends who aren’t artists per se but love comics and are pretty sharp thinkers about how they work, and when they draw, this collection is what they draw like. In that way this is a fun read, as experiencing the enthusiasm of someone who’s doing comics not because of a killer set of innate chops but for love of the game is a fun thing to do. Well, at least it is in this case, because unlike the usual soul-destroying genre efforts and aimless self-indulgent autobio/humor things produced with the same impetus, this book is actually drawing from a pretty strong set of influences and is being harnessed by a guy who learned enough tricks about pacing from big-time altcomix people to use some of them himself.
That said, it really is just a collection of small, weirdish doodles and (mostly) half-funny-haha half-funny-strange strips. It’s not going to light the world on fire, though to be fair, obviously it’s not meant to. There’s a thing about cavemen that looks a little like Tom Gauld, a Saved by the Bell parody that looks a little like Esther Pearl Watson, there are a couple of little-weird-dude strips who look a little like Marc Bell, there’s a collage-image-type thing that looks a little like Paper Rad, there’s a John Porcellino homage that looks a lot like, you guessed it, Hal Foster. (Haha, no, John P.) There are a some longer, not-quite-funny things involving Harry Potter summoning Black Sabbath and a Hollywood hack director trying to ape Werner Herzog by deliberately acting like a crazy person on set. If all this stuff were by one of my friends I’d be like “Hell yeah, awesome!”, and even as it stands it makes me want to my hand at doodling some stuff, but that’s really not the greatest idea, is it. Still, it’s nice to be made to feel that way once in a while, don’t you think?