November 21, 2009

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Subterranean #2

Written and Illustrated by Various Creators, including Joey Weiser
Edited by Alexander Bullett and Andrew Greenstone
Self-Published

I was really happy to find the Subterranean guys at SPX again in 2009 so I could pick up whatever new they'd come up with, and it turned out to be an entirely new edition of Subterranean. Yay for me and yay for self-published comics readers.

This time around, the collection is a bit smaller, checking in at 48 pages, but there's another silk-screened cover (riffing on the old idea of a canary in a mine) and most of my favorite creators from the first large edition of the anthology series (as well as the mini-comics standbys of Bullet, Greenstone, and Knickerbocker) are back for more.

Jeremy Sorese opens things this time with a bickering couple who lose their belongings on the freeway, with hilarious results. Drawn in a similar style to Greenstone's artwork, there's a lot of fun goings-on in the panels, above and beyond the two feature characters.

"Astronaut Prince" builds up a lot of narrative tension, only to sink it like a popped balloon in a most devlishly clever manner by Bullet, while Falynn Koch gets a longer entry this time and provides a sobering commentary too all those with a roving eye and a desire to cheat on their significant others.

However, before things can get too grim, personal favorite Joey Weiser brings his "Late-Night Gang" into the mix for an adventure on Halloween, where Victor complains about having to get up so early and Andrew tries to set a group of bullies straight about his family origins. Fun stuff, but that's what I expect from Weiser by now.

"Rabbit Talk" by Macarthur feel like an excert from a longer work, but I liked the wordplay and translation foibles that drive the plot. He also does a nice job with the artwork, giving it just a touch of grittiness to a fantasy setting.

I think the best story this time around is "Gold Record" by Dave Valeza. A young girl finds an old machine that may lead to a treasure. Forgotten for many years, she and her beau go off to find the voice on the recording, only to find danger instead. The ending is powerful without being the least bit graphic. I wouldn't mind seeing more from Valeza.

Kevin Burkhalter provides a brief travelogue of places he's sat down and sketched, which, while a bit out of place compared to the rest of the material in this edition, was an interesting change of pace.

Lastly, Greenstone appropriately closes the anthology with the story of the real reason behind alien abductions: Good drugs and easy sex. Didn't we always know that was the case?

I'm glad to see this self-published anthology is still going strong through a format change and two editions over several years now. Greenstone and Bullett are very creative in their own right and draw other creative folks towards themselves in these collections. If you can find this as a local show near you, definitely grab it. You'll be glad you did.

I can't find a good website for the Subterranean folks, but their blog is here. It hasn't been updated in quite a while, though.