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A Browser of Comic Books and Graphic Novels

By Ernie Longmire and Devin D. O'Leary

SEPTEMBER 8, 1997: 

A Complete Lowlife
by Ed Brubaker (Black Eye Books, $12.95)

A Complete Lowlife is a collection of vaguely autobiographical comix by Ed Brubaker, whose work in this often-tedious genre shows some unusual insight and self-awareness. The material is depressingly familiar (Living With a Girlfriend You Can't Trust; Working for a Boss You Hate; Gradual Descent into Criminality and Nihilism), but Brubaker doesn't make any excuses for himself. His illustrated counterpart "Tommy" spends a lot of time acting like a nitwit--but both Tommy and Brubaker know it, which is where things get interesting. Most valuable lesson learned: Get used to sailing through life, and you might end up being the Marie Celeste. (EL)



ZOT!
by Scott McCloud (Kitchen Sink Press, $34.95)

If your fondest memories of superhero comics have more to do with a sense of wonder than with resale value, Scott McCloud's ZOT! will fit like an old pair of sneakers. This volume collects the complete storyline of the first 10 issues of the 1984-1991 series. The lead characters are the eponymous teenaged do-gooder and a girl named Jenny who, along with her obnoxious big brother (who'd have guessed), gets sucked into the hijinks and intrigues of life in Earth's "far flung future of ... 1965!" Lots of innocent-but-not-naive fun, with a look influenced by Japanese manga, the original Captain Marvel and--in the case of one major gad guy--the Chrysler building. Your grandparents could get into this book. Your grandparents were smart people. Listen to your grandparents for once, why don't you? (EL)



XXXenophile
by Phil Foglio (XXXenophile Books, $9.95)

In the world of spilling seed upon the ground, XXXen-ophile creator Phil Foglio is the kid who derailed a freight train loaded down with Purina Bird Chow. One of the comix biz's few creators who still understands the idea of "comic" books, Foglio noticed a few years back that--hey--people liked buying smut! With a reach-ar ... uh, a smidgen of art assistance from a collection of similarly sex-positive comic arteestes, he's created an anthology of pornographic stories that manages to appeal on levels beyond the onanistic--though it doesn't exactly slack off in that department either, if you can live with the mostly-het slant of the material. Far more clever--and more funny--than the vast majority of material published in the genre, this is the kind of book you can actually share with that other person you do the nasty with. (EL)



Monkeyman and O'Brien
by Art Adams (Dark Horse, $16.95)

Seven-foot-tall hyperstrong woman! Ten-foot-tall hyperintelligent ape! Invading Froglodytes! Adventures in the Terminus Zone! What more could one ask of a comics-reading experience? In fact, let's just stop the review right here. (Ha! Fat chance!) Art Adams, the 1980s fan-fave whose influence (however unjustly) has led us to the current generation of "hot" current comics artists whose style consists of nothing but thousands of tiny little lines, gives America the kind of ludicrously overwrought cross-species excitement it demands with this great-looking collection of MM&O'B stories. Great stuff if you're into monsters, smashing things and lots of screaming--and hey, who isn't? (EL)



True Faith
by Garth Ennis and Warren Pleece (DC Comics/Vertigo, $12.95)

Those crazy Brits. Writer Garth Ennis (best known for his work on the ongoing Vertigo series "Preacher") and artist Warren Pleece first combined their talents back in 1989 on this controversial series originally serialized in the British political anthology Crisis. Now Vertigo has kindly reprinted the entire 11 chapters in a single trade paperback. In this dark and pungent satire, Nigel Gibson, a disaffected teenager, wanders lonely and rebellious through the halls of high school. One fateful night, though, he bumps into Terry Adair, a serious loony with a penchant for plumbing metaphors who has decided it is his life's mission to kill God. Terry is swept into a circus of church bombings, doomsday cults and posturing politicians. Ennis' writing still resonates with a sharp bite, and Pleece's dark pen and watercolor style matches the bleak landscapes to a T. (DO'L)



Red Rocket 7
by Mike Allred (Dark Horse Comics/Legend, $3.95)

Mike Allred, that kooky fellow who gave us Madman, has just launched a new miniseries with this album-sized wonder. As always, Mike's groovy pop art stylings and bold colors leap off the page. The printing and the design on this one are magnificent. Although this is only the first of seven issues, the story is already classic Allred. When Red Rocket 7, America's biggest pop star, disappears on the eve of telling his biggest secret to a magazine reporter, said reporter embarks on a cross-country search to uncover Red's mysterious past. So far, that mystery includes space aliens, zap guns and Little Richard. I suggest you jump on this crazy train ASAP. (DO'L)

--Devin D. O'Leary and Ernie Longmire


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