June 28th, 2012

Girl Talk Is A Scorpio

32 pages, digest size, $2.00 or trade or friendly letter, Jim Hayes, PO Box 1459, Marietta GA 30061, USA + assemblyplantmarietta 
Jim admits in his intro that he's been writing an essay on Pittsburgh musician Girl Talk for a year now. Is this it? Girl Talk are mentioned throughout, but so is a lot of other stuff. In fact much of this comes across as stream-of-consciousness after many days without sleep. It's all about music though (aside from the few references to ejaculating on newspapers and copies of Moby Dick), referencing The Doors, The Ramones, Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin ... but then names I'm unfamiliar with: Dash Snow, Zowie Fenderblast, Thomas Kinkade. Who they? Where's the Google button? Jim also throws in observations of modern music, "...all this techno music is just drug music - flashing lights and some type of uber-ecstasy called "molly"" and repetition - the pronouncement that "The entire art world is just a bunch of rich kids taking drugs" appears three times in bold type. There's a lot going on here; a lot going on in Jim's head. He's a good writer and reading this I felt a buzz. I'm impressed when a writer can assemble words and ideas like this. It's pretty cool.
Now I gotta go Google Girl Talk. And Dash Snow. And Zowie Fenderblast. And Thomas Kinkade.

World Of The News [Review & Counter-Review]

16 pages, digest size, $2.00, or trade or friendly letter, David Puckeridge, PO Box 491, Freshwater NSW 2096, AUSTRALIA 
One for the Aussies here. There's a 4-page strip dealing with Aussie politics, so if you don't know who Wayne Swan, Tony Abbott, or Julia Gillard are, the humour will probably be lost on you. I'll admit I'm out of my depth when the conversation turns to politics (I walk away, man), so the funniest part of this strip for me was the news ticker at the bottom of each panel. Example: '"Bombings" the best way to disperse protestors says President Sacha Baron Cohen.' Another long strip is based on Channel 7's Sunrise breakfast program, which I don't watch, so that went over my head too. Then a 2-page strip telling the story of David and his girlfriend May seeing Tim Minchin at the Opera House, followed two nights later with a trip to Katoomba to see singer Gareth Liddiard (from Melbourne band The Drones). Is it coming across that I didn't really connect with this comic? It's true, I didn't. I think comix should be written/drawn for everybody, no matter where they are. Most of this is really only gonna appeal to a small Aussie audience.

Two weeks later...

I felt kinda bad about this review - I was pretty sure there would be others who would really appreciate this comic, so when I mentioned this to Chris Mikul last week he offered to write a 'counter-review', so here it is. Thanks Chris!

Stratu is a man of generally impeccable taste, but I fear he sells World of the News short. Political satire is not something zine makers tackle often, and certainly rarely as well as here. Obviously created in a fit of drawing frenzy in May 2012, this zine is full of the events of that never-to-be-forgotten month – the Federal budget and the surplus (make that the ‘budgie’ and the ‘slurpus’), Murdoch and phone hacking, Slippergate... Ah, memories. Puckeridge is spot on capturing the speech patterns of our pathetic excuses for politicians (GILLARD: “..the achievements of this government spoik for themselves…”, ABBOTT: “…this is just another TOXIC TAX…’)  and manages to take a swipe at TV current affairs programs at the same time. The other strips in this zine are good but it’s the political stuff that made me laugh out loud.