I think this was going for about two bucks, but I got it in trade from Alex Robinson himself at the MoCCA con, in one of the better bits of creator repartee in which I had part. That I’m reviewing Husky #2 first is weirdly indicative of this project, because I actually have Husky #1 in the box somewhere. But I chose #2 and I’m not going back now!
Robinson must have been offered some pretty crap minis for trade in the past, because he was flinching at the idea like a man often burnt. (It was nice when I pulled mine out of my pack that he commented “Oh, it’s, like, a real comic!”)
That said, lead by example, man! Laser printer and a red piece of paper for “cover effect?” Dude! I like the simplicity of a minicomic that can be printed anywhere there’s a copier and little supervision, but maybe a little heavier paper stock or something?! Consiglio, help me out here, eh!
<!--Alex Robinson’s “2 COOL 2 B 4GOTTEN” Ch. 2-4
Robinson’s story is about a middle aged guy named Andy who goes to a hypnotist to try and give up smoking and is “shocked to discover he’s now 15 again, reliving 1985!” (That year analogous to time travel stories, Mr. McFly). In this comic, he goes to class, lunch, and gets home without flipping out.
These chapters are filled with thought bubbles as Andy’s freaking out internally and trying to calmly keep walking down the corridors of his old school. Meanwhile, in the edge of the panel, Robinson tosses in the occasional comments from the friend Andy’s walking to class with (“I heard Monica O’Connor went to the Billy Ocean concert and gave blowjobs to three guards to get back stage!” “I’m not going to ask her out. She’s way too flat for me. I like a girl with big things in front of her! Haha!”) that’re so sexist, uninformed, and clueless that I was just instantly remembering, “Yup. That’s high school.”
During the day, Andy tries to reach out to a social outcast with disasterous results, and tries to ask a girl (that he thought way out of his league) out to a party with far better results. On the bus ride home he muses about how healthy his body feels, and (after a nicely subtle three pages wherein Andy’s the only character drawn who isn’t female) how freakin’ horny he is. And he realizes that party he asked the girl to is the one where he had his first smoke! Is avoiding that cigarette his purpose in the past?
What keeps this from being too much a rehash of previous versions of “revisiting the past” stories (like, say, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) or some after-school special moralizing, is Alex Robinson’s great characterization, and his witty and observant writing.
Robinson’s art has gotten better and better. His characters are still simple cartoony figures, but it means that the few simple details he ads to each character really makes them iconic and recognizable. He has a good sense of the fashion of the period, and as I said earlier, some of his dialogue is so spot-on I want to know if he kept a really detailed journal or what.
And although he’s still the cartoonist I’d vote “most-willing-to-give-$20.00-to-if-he’d-l
earn-to-use-an-ames-lettering-guide” his lettering has gotten much better since his Box Office Poison days. His chapter headings are some great font experiments that work really nicely, and his sense of page layout and design are fantastic. They’re the clear work of a cartoonist with a lot of panels and pages under his belt. They flow great, he’s really good at using spot blacks, silhouettes, and inventive page-layouts to add mis-en scene, emotive punctiation, and a create a great read.
Will Andy avoid smoking? Is he really in the past or just in his head? Will he have a good time at the party this weekend? Could he “score”? Can someone who was sent back in time knowing then what they did now get over how much they remembered wrong and adapt to what they’ve forgotten?
Tony Consiglio’s contribution (it’s really more of a 1/3 Tony, 2/3 Alex book) to Husky #2 is a continuation of his story “Titanius” about a guy wearing a bulletproof armored suit and a cheap knockoff of the Juggernaut’s helmet from X-Men. His son’s been kidnapped.
In this story, we get a lot of exposition from our villain, the evil head of a pharmasudical company, Dr. Erik Vornoff. Before his accident, Titanius created a cure for herpes for a competing company that wanted to immediately start selling the drug before Titanius was satisfied it was completely ready. The company caused his “accident,” but Vornoff had men following Titanius, who saved him and tricked him into the suit so that he’d be safe. Then Vornoff kidnapped Titanius’ son to force him to finish the drug for Vornoff’s profit.
The art here is a lot rougher than Robinson’s. Characters don’t really seem as connected to their surroundings as in the other story, and there’s something about the convoluted espionage story combined with jacking a little kid full of herpes that just doesn’t really agree with me. I don’t know.
I’m not familiar with Tony Consiglio’s work, and maybe there’s a tonal thing or something else I’m missing here. I don’t want to be unfair. We’ll see if things improve in my opinion whenever we come to Husky #1.