More Fund Comics

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Writers: Geoff Johns, Ron Marz, Erik Larsen, Michael Avon Oeming, John Gallagher, etc. (I’m part of the etc.)

Artists: George Perez, John Romita, Sr., John Romita, Jr., Erik Larsen, Michael Avon Oeming, Brandon Peterson, Frank Cho, Adam Hughes, John Gallagher, Steven Cummings (my artist of choice), etc.

Publisher: Sky-Dog Press for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

MORE FUND COMICS is my first published work in comics, so I think it would be vainglorious to rate myself and put it into the reviews section. Fortunately, my editor, Craig Lemon, offered to stick my review of myself in the Soapbox. So, self-interest declared up-front and acknowledged, then without further ado, let’s talk about my work!

This 192-page black-and-white anthology is a benefit for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. John (Buzzboy) Gallagher, Frank (Liberty Meadows) Cho, Marc (Baltimore Comic Con) Nathan, and around a hundred others brought this project together to support free speech and the Fund. It originally premiered at the Baltimore Comic Con in September, but it has only just this month made it to the comic stores.

Before opening the anthology, you are presented with this wonderful cover featuring Marvel’s Hulk (generously provided by American comic’s largest company at no cost) crushing the word “Censorship” as rendered by George Perez. With that clear pro-freedom of speech message on the cover and my mindset about my own story, I began the book expecting just shy of 60 anti-censorship short stories and pin-ups (I mean, it’s for the Fund! That’s what they do, they fight the good fight for our freedom of speech).

Instead, the book is more entertaining than that. Maybe five to ten of the features are about free speech or censorship. However, the rest are just entertaining stories that point out why we, as fans and creators, love comics enough to donate our time and effort to defend them.

That said, the anthology is fun. Let me hit my list of highlights in order of appearance.

Erik Larsen provides six pages of his “Savage Dragon”. I quit the Savage Dragon around issue 20 (didn’t like the direction). After reading this short, I’m planning on giving it another shot… about 100 issues later. Erik’s Dragon is going strong with issue 112 or so on the stands (the guy’s going for the gold). The short story has some nice art, the characters are funny and Erik uses zip-a-tone! What can I say, “Sold American!”

Scott Sava uses the anthology to display more of his comedic wonder, “The Lab”. Four pages of CGI critters-in-clothing arguing over how they went from color to grayscale. Because the art is computer generated, it looks unique, I dig it.

Mike Avon Oeming’s “Mice Templar”. It’s the Secret of Nimh in black-and-white with frogs as the all-powerful bad guys instead of cats, and no woman rat to lust after! (What?! What do ya mean that you never thought about her that way?!) From the same guy what drew monkey-people having sex in Image’s Powers (that’s going to haunt him for years) comes a story of mice with swords being eaten by frogs. It’s entertaining! The way the story is set-up, I could get into a one-shot or a mini-series about these animals since he peaks my interest that much in five pages.

“Worlds of Wonder” by Ron Marz and Brandon Peterson. It’s interesting because it starts with four fantastic pin-ups before doing two pages of paneled story to tie them all together. It’s clever in its execution because it tells a man’s life in six pages.

Jeff Alexander gives a history lesson about a different type of censorship in “The Chevalier d’Eon”. Interesting history factoids can make interesting stories. This factoid is an artistically licensed recount of how the King of France censored a courtier before the French Revolution. The censorship theme is buried but really unique.

Next up are the Pin-Ups:

I like Phil Noto’s Women with Guns (it has this 60s James Bond look to it, very nice), Mike Wieringo’s “Tellos” sketches, Terry Dobson’s Monkeys (there’s a girl in there but, it’s mainly monkeys), Todd Nauck’s “WildGuard”, and Adam Hughes’ Pin-Up Girl Lawyer. John Romita, Jr debuts a pin-up from his forthcoming creator-owned series, “Gray Watch” and Art Adams has a LOVELY two-page spread of “Angel and Ape” underwater with the Loch Ness monster(s). There is a stack more but those are the splashes that stand out in my mind.

And then it’s back to stories.

At this point, let me take a minute to toss some praise on Silver Bullet’s own David Gallaher for his contribution, “And Now… A Word From Our Sponsors”. In five pages, he makes me laugh, has artist Danielle Corsetto draw him into the story, makes me laugh, presents useful information about the CBLDF and makes me laugh. (Read his column, please!) The story revolves around some of Marvel, DC and Scott McCloud’s characters manning the telephones during a CBLDF Telethon. And David’s in there, too.

“Marc of the Vampires” is nice, artistically. I dig Neil Vokes’ Parliament of Justice art style in the story (if you haven’t bought Parliament of Justice, you should at least thumb through it! That book is really interesting, visually. The art really tells the story). I like his use of gray washes over the four pages of “Marc”. It has a great mood to it and works wonderfully in a black-and-white anthology. And it has Vampires (the thirteen-year-old in me loves that)! Out of everyone in this anthology, Neil Vokes is the artist I’d most like to work with (other than my pal, Steven Cummings. Always has to be a qualifier to every statement).

J. Bone. “Gobukan: The Accountant”. In just two pages, we find a robot, who is the only individual in the world not currently on the Atkin’s Diet, stealing oatmeal raisin cookies from coffee houses everywhere! It’s up to Gobukan to stop him! Lot’s of social issues and real world subjects dealt with in a mere twelve panels! Possibly the most believable and thrilling story of the anthology… Oy Vey, True Believer!

Then, on pages 110 and 111 is a piece of absolute genius! KAMEN by Steven Cummings and Egg Embry! The ONLY word that can describe it is BRILLIANT! (Self-Promoting BRILLIANCE!... Inspirational!… Artistic GENIUS by Steven Cummings!... Writing of an Orwellian caliber by me… Which is more than one word, but…) Once you read those two pages, you’ll agree that censorship is wrong (Yes, you will! Because before these two pages you were one of those who thought censorship was right! But my story will get you to put away your scissors and read the whole newspaper without fear, believing every word)! Steven and I used this short story as a prologue to our creator-owned series from IDW (in 2004). In this piece we introduce TV Newswoman Julie Matsumoto and get into the reason she is going back to her native Japan to report on the Rising Sun Serial Killer for an American audience.

All kidding aside, I am proud of my story. I think it turned out well for a scant two pages. I hope you enjoy it and if you do like those pages, please take a moment and go to our website to keep up with Steven and myself.

I like Tom (Disney and Opposite Forces) Bancroft’s art. When I see his art, I understand why Disney put him on the payroll. The silent story, “A day in the life of an overly happy, singing princess…” is a great example of his magical style and sense of humor. Try Opposite Forces if you can find it.

Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins’ (the team behind the Flash) short, “Workin’ the Beach” is funny and very true. They do an excellent parody of those Charles Atlas Strong Man ads from most 70s comics (you know, the skinny guy gets sand kicked in his face, gets mad, orders the Charles Atlas book, works out to become a beefcake and races back to the beach to deal out some PAIN to his tormentor. The creation of Marvel’s Punisher was inspired by those ads). Their take on those classic infomercials is painfully honest.

John (Yes, I put this whole book together) Gallagher’s “Buzzboy” is a real artistic achievement for him. In this story (one of three he was involved in for the anthology), he parodies Paul Dini and Alex Ross’ DC Treasury Books. When you see this, it’s obvious that his decision to try this level of art pushed him to new heights (I mean, he’s trying to ape Alex Ross, that’s not as easy as you’d think… unless you think it’s hard as hell and then you’re probably right! But, Gallagher gave it his all) and I think that the final product is the best Buzzboy story I’ve ever read!

As the anthology draws to a close, Frank Cho and Scott Kurtz debut their latest idea, “Summer Days”. It’s Frank Cho so the art’s beautiful, the story’s funny and there’s drama. It’s just good!

Finally, the whole collection is wrapped in a Steve (www.Comicon.com or if you’ve been to a major comic convention in the last two years, you’ve probably gotten a free copy of Steve Conley’s Astonishing Space Thrills comic) Conley framing sequence featuring his character, Bloop finding a spaceship full of MORE FUND COMICS (every furry alien’s dream)!

I skipped reviewing a LOT of the book and just hit the highpoints (KAMEN), but there is a lot of good work in the anthology and it was all produced free of charge to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. They receive 100% of the post-printing, post-distribution, pre-comic shop proceeds from this book (shoulda been an Enron accountant). If you believe in free speech for comics, please support the Fund directly or by purchasing this book. The founders of our nation thank you.

For More Information on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:
Click Here!

Or you can check out my website:
Click Here!

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