Welcome to the latest installment of your breath of snark free air!
UNDERRATED COOL COMIC
The Street Angel trade paperback collects the first five issues of Jim Rugg and Brian Muruca's Slave Labor Graphics series (Rugg drew the book, while both men wrote the book), along with a good deal of extras.
I will first give a quick breakdown of the first five issues, and then tell you about all the cool extras in the book.
Before that, a quick description of Jesse Sanchez (Street Angel). According to the creators, she's a "daughter of justice who fights evil, nepotism, ninjas, and hunger." Essentially, she is a homeless orphan living in the world's worst ghetto who uses her skateboarding skills and martial artistry to kick bad guy behind.
#1 is an action-packed romp as Jesse must save the Mayor's daughter from the evil Dr. Pangea and his band of ninjas. Even early on, all the trademark humor and inventive storytelling is on display (for example, at the bottom of one page, Jesse is surrounded by ninjas - at the top of the next page, all of the ninjas are unconscious and we are told that she beat them all up in the time it took for us to turn the page. THAT is the type of humor you'll find in Street Angel).
#2 is probably the broadest humor issue, where CosMick, the first Irish astronaut crashes into the ghetto at the same time that Cortez and a group of Spanish conquistodors are transported to the future via the Incan sun god, Inti. A LOT of hilarious exchanges, in particular the Spanish conquistodor who posits that maybe they AREN'T from the past, but from a distant future where the cycle of history has repeated itself...said theory is shot down quickly (and humorously).
#3 is a fight of Biblical proportions, as Jesse finds herself facing a Satanic demon that even she can't handle - so she needs an assist from G-O-D...and his son, JC.
#4 is an amazing issue, as it plays the "homeless orphan" routine COMPLETELY straight, which is a huge slap in the face after the previous farcical issues. Very strong, personal, poignant issue (imagine being seen dumpster rummaging by someone who knows you from school? HARSH!). I am talking "Skyscrapers of the Midwest" level awkwardness (and if you know Skyscrapers at all, you know that is some heavy-duty awkwardness).
#5 is back to fun stuff, as Jesse teams up with an old 70s blaxploitation superhero, Afrodisiac. The retro art by Rugg is well handled (this is also the character they do for Project Superior). In addition, a theme throughout the series is that Jesse is just a standard girl in many regards, except for her fighting and skateboarding skills. This issue, for instance, really highlights her naivatee in a funny, but endearing manner.
The extras are as follows:
-A funny introduction by Evan Dorkin.
-All the covers and back covers...including, as the introduction to each chapter, the drawing that was used in the inside front cover of each issue (a very amusing series where Jesse and a Squid grapple in different arenas each issue...chess, stockcar racing, wrestling...sadly, the Ninja tips that appeared on the BACK cover of each issue are not reprinted here).
-A quick two-page story where we see how, amongst fighting ninjas, it is the little things that matter.
-A parody of the old Hostess superhero ads. It manages to be funny AND stay true to the feel of the book.
-A new TWELVE page story where basically, Jesse re-enacts the plot of the Crossing, only in reverse. Remember how they brought the young Iron Man to the present to stop the present Iron Man from helping a super villain take over the world? Well, this is similar...just reversed. There is also a great line from Bald Eagle (the skateboard riding torso with only one arm who is Jesse's sidekick) where he wants her to try throwing him, even though the first time they tried it, he broke an arm.
-Jim Rugg's sketchbook
-And finally, more pin-ups than you can shake a stick at! Why you would WANT to shake a stick at a bunch of pin-ups is beyond me...but even if you WANTED to, you couldn't! Because there are too many! Jeffrey Brown! Dean Haspiel! Jesse Farrell! Jim Mahfood! Brian Ralph! Bryan Lee O'Malley! Scott Morse! And MANY more!
Okay...Richard Hahn, Mike Hawthorne, Paul Hornshemeier, Dave Kiersh, Pat Lewis, Jasen Lex, Andy Macdonald, Ted May, Scott Mills, Lark Pien, Ed Piskor, Zack Soto, Lauren Weinstein, and Dan Zettwoch...so fourteen more.
But that's still a lot of freaking pin-ups!!!
It is all wrapped up by this awesome looking wraparound cover...
And it all can be yours for fifteen bucks.
How cool is THAT?
One cool point to the first person who can tell me which cover this Simspons cover is homaging!
SNARK FREE CHALLENGE
What do you think is the biggest thing the Mouse Guard could kill?
COVER THEME GAME
As always, here is the game. I show three covers. They all have something in common, whether it be a character, locale, creator, SOMEthing. And it isn't something obvious like "They all have prices!" "They all have logos!" "They all feature a man!" etc.
In addition, please note that you must have some familiarity with comic book history to correctly guess these comics. You cannot guess the connective theme just by looking at the covers solely, you must have some knowledge beyond just the covers.
Good luck! A cool point to the first one who figures it out!
COOL COMIC MOMENT
In the very first story in the Scurvy Dogs trade paperback, the captain is telling a story about a Portuguese leper who swallowed his money rather than let the pirates have it. So they stab him, and some coins come out.
They end up chopping him up into pieces - but get no more money than the original coins.
We cut away and see the captain is telling this to a woman he is having a blind date.
She tells him, "I'm half-Portuguese."
He says he was mistaken, the leper was Dutch.
"That's the other half."
Such a perfect beginning of an awesomely funny series by Andrew Boyd & Ryan Yount.
Well, that's it for this installment of Snark Free Corner.
Hope you had fun!