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First of all, wow! that amazing wraparound cover by Benjamin Sea. Second of all, is this anthology getting phatter, I mean fatter? It feels real chunky, chunkier than ever! ... I just checked my review of Phatsville #16 and yes indeed, the new issue is expanded by twenty pages. It's also the 10th Anniversary Issue, since Phatsville #1 came out in 2002. In honour of this milestone, there's a page of photos of the Phatsville 'Phounding Phathers' , then photos of these in more recent years showing the terrible toll time at the comix coalface has wrought upon their once hideous-free mugs. Ugh! ... No, really, but one of the pics is of the awesome full-back Phatsville tattoo [designed by Anton Emdin] sported by Giles. Man, that's dedication. Respect!
But on to the actual comix... Highlights in this issue: J-Stew's 'Hear Ye! Hear Ye!' rant (Yes! This shitty new designated seating rule in Aussie cinemas is fucking retarded. Last week in a near-empty cinema here in Sydney, right when the movie was starting, some young douchebags came up to me and mumbled, "Uh, sorry, uh, I think you're in our seat..." The seats all around, front and back, were empty. There were (plus or minus one) six people in that theatre. What the fuck? The incredulous look I gave them must have been sufficient because their spokesman said, "Uh, that's cool, we'll just sit here...") ... Where was I? Ah! Highlights of Phatsville #17! There's also a very clever two-page strip of palindromes by Ben Hutchings (he can draw good, and he's brainy! Huh. Huh.); Shaun Craike's strip 'Access Denied, Bitch' is hilarious - Shaun gets called into the P-Ville HQ and told his new strip has gone too far...
Giles's 'Jesus Saves!' strips hits the target on the blasphemy front, and is very funny (even broad-minded Christians oughtta find this one funny), yet very 'safe'. Next time do one featuring Mohammad. That's much less safe, as some Danish cartoonists will attest to. And yes, that's a dare, a challenge, a theological comix gauntlet thrown down! Heh heh.
On the minus side, what the hell is this endless, boring (yet well drawn, but damn near unreadably lettered) and "to be continued' 'Boy Lord Mayor' strip by Will Kelly doing in here? Serialised strips in comix anthologies suck. The Phatsville editors need to fuck this off, and suggest Kelly do his own comic.
Nevertheless! The pluses kick the minuses out the door here.
If you want a real good, pure Aussie comix anthology with no damned foreigners, Phatsville fits the bill.
And Happy 10th Anniversary, dudes! Here's to the next ten!