June 14, 2012

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Magic Bullet #4

Written and Illustrated by Various Creators, including Carolyn Belefski, Joe Carabeo, Andrew Cohen, Matt Dembicki, Max Ink, Katie Omberg, and Rafer Roberts
Self-Published (DC Conspiracy)

It's another edition of the DC Conspiracy's semi-annual free tabloid full of comics, and once again, readers are treated to a wide variety of stories and styles using an entire page of 11 x 17 space.  Anything's possible (and might just happen) in the hands of these creators as this excellent anthology continues its run under a new editor's hands.

Magic Bullet is a murder's row of Panel Patter favorites, as long-time readers of this blog know.  I've been a fan of people like Rafer Roberts and Katie Omberg for years now, and this time around, a new favorite, Max Ink, was added to the mix.  It's hard for me to be objective about an anthology that, quite frankly, my friends are in.  However, a project like this is bigger than the sum of its parts, and overall, this is just a solid collection of comics, giving readers a chance to find new talents that they might want to follow into their other projects.

The transition from Rafer Roberts to Matt Dembicki as editor is almost seamless. These are all solid comics, and the tabloid looks to be in good hands.  While I won't mention every comic inside Magic Bullet 4, here are some thoughts, in no particular order.

  • It's probably a bit unfair to pick two of my favorite creators for favorite strips, but I am going to do it anyway.  I'm torn between Max Ink's hysterical takedown of font-feelings using his characters from Blink (including declaring war on poor Comic Sans) and the close-to-my-heart cat lover strip from Katie Omberg.  The only difference is that I don't care if people get mad, I talk freely about the antics of our three little kitties.  The art style could not be more different on these (Max Ink's soft lines vs. Omberg's rough sketchyness) but both represent the artist's style perfectly and show that no one style makes for a great comic.
  • Because this is an anthology centered around DC, politics tend to show up in at least a few of the entries and the best of the bunch this time was Arthur Hondros's lost in space short that shows vapid pollsters will sadly follow man into the stars.  Scott White brings Sarah Palin back to team up with Herman Cain, but I think the joke is a bit played at this point for both presidential wanna-bes.  
  • Panel innovations still play a big part in Magic Bullet, led by Andrew Cohen's Dr. W, who finds that word balloons aren't the only thing full of hot air.  Eric Gordon does a nifty split across tightly constructed panels, with a story of a recycling advocate's perils on the job.  We get a crossword comic in another story, and Dembicki himself wanders around the oversized page with a set of cockroaches with big plans.  I think the winner for most innovative this time around is the double-page spread by Kevin Panetta and Mike Short that roams up and down the page, complete with arrows.  It's a cute story that we've seen before, but I like the way they presented it visually.  It also really pops to the reader, because it's in color, compared to most of the other comics in the collection.
  • Many creators return to their characters that we've seen before.  Joe Carabeo and Carolyn Belefski have their usual Black Magic Tales, in this case a short that comments on the music industry and echoes famous star deaths.  We also get another amusing scene in Fairy Meadow by Michael Brace.  I really like how he lampoons things with the flying creatures, in this case, the nature of perceived beauty.
  • Finally:  Rafer Roberts is one disturbed individual.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Magic Bullet finishes its fourth issue running strong.  If you are interested in helping make the 5th issue possible, the kickstarter for it is going on for another week, as of this writing.  It's a chance to get something from one of your favorite Magic Bullet creators and help a cool anthology keep going.  I can't wait to see what these talented individuals come up with next.