Underground Film Journal

Comic Reviews


Heavee Underground

While I enjoyed Arex’s spare, angular, deco-ish artwork on his “Goon Squad” series that appeared in the anthologies, his slight approach to storytelling left his stories feeling unfulfilled. However, his original graphic novel Heavee Underground, comes with a more coherent and complex plot that provides a much richer experience than his short stories.

Pumpkin Juice

However, the real winner of the anthology is the final story written and drawn by Chris Peterson. It’s called Peter Pan and it puts a real demonic twist to J.M. Barrie’s classic. Instead of being the hero, Peterson has cast Peter as the villain, a vicious little prick who maintains his youthfulness by kidnapping and eating little boys.

Mercy Seat #1 & 2

Ok, Gord Cummings writes that he was “inspired” by Harvey, but if someone is going to have an autobiographical comic with multiple artists illustrating the writing then the first thing anybody is going to say about it is how it compares to the legendary American Splendor, especially if that person is a lifelong Pekar fan like myself.

Muscles & Fights 2: Musclier and Fightier

Hell, yeah! This could well become a very long-running, satisfying series. There’s still life in here yet, that’s for sure. And the best thing is that the majority of the returning contributors have really stepped up their game for their second outing.

The Ticking

But its the subtleties of the story that really make The Ticking by Renee French, and published by Top Shelf, a very powerful book.

Actually, the surreal elements of the story never seem that oddball or out of the ordinary since they’re presented so matter-of-factly.


Renee French’s latest graphic novel, Micrographica, answers the age old question “What’s five inches by five inches, but as deep as the whole in your heart?”

Published by Top Shelf, this is a tiny, tiny book, able to fit snugly into the palm of your hand

Muscles & Fights

Confining it’s stories that revolve around exactly what the title says, Muscles & Fights turns out to be a great concept for a comic book anthology. It’s vague enough that the creators are free enough to explore a wide variety of themes and plots, but also restrictive enough that the stories all hang together nicely.

Hugs: Bloodpond

At first glance, Hugs: Bloodpond could easily be mistaken for a children’s book. Ok, with it’s graphic depictions of cartoon violence, human sacrifice, drug use and naked women maybe not so easily. But it does star Hugs, a cuddly, retarded looking polar bear floating across a surreal fantasyland on a wild adventure that takes him from Heaven to Hell and to the deep jungle.

The Best American Comics 2006

Speaking of upscale, here comes the spiffily packaged, first ever Best American Comics collection from Houghton-Mifflin, owners of the “Best” literary brand and of whom it was nice to see them acknowledge comics as a literary form. The guest editor of this edition is the father of the modern autobiographical comic, Harvey Pekar.