Black Star #2

Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Black Star #2 Creator(s): Jeff Zwirek
Publishers: Self Published
From: USA
Price: $2(US)

The truth is, there is no true comix fan, which is to say that the community is so small, the culture so incestuous, that every fan is a creator of some sort. In fact, if you are reading this, chances are you make your own comic, or zine. You have a long reach staple. An Ames lettering guide. A Hunt 102.

Never a truer word written than in the introduction to the first story in Jeff's latest comic anthology. Collecting 4 stories and an interview, this collecting is hard to sum up in a catchy introduction. The subject matter and storytelling styles are so varied it's only the artwork that holds the collection together, with its simple, cartoonish approach to characters and strong use of black backgrounding. Some of the drawing is rough - hands, the bane of a comic creator's existence, can look awkward if you really look at them. But why would you? Most of the time the hands aren't doing anything useful or interesting. The story is somewhere else on these pages.

Comix, Anarchy, Riot Wow, this is the first and it's a powder-keg of small press self-referential angst and philosophy. The plot follows "Jeff", the creator of Jack Rabbit as he begins a quest to track down Peter Plan, the enigmatic creator of Egg, the most beautiful thing "Jeff" has ever read. Along the way he has to deal with moody comix fans and creators who all have a low opinion of his work. Running though the plot is an ongoing narrative dealing with Jeff's love/hate relationship with the comics medium. Those guiding him on his quest spout long diatribes about where comics went wrong - super-heroes as beauty fixation. The ideas are dazzling in their plausibility - are they really a theory of comics, or just snappy dialogue?

Supergroup M*A*S*H's Jamie Farr wants to do good in the world, so when a bad flies through the window and knocks over his CD rack he knows what to do: he will form a crime fighting band of music starts to make the world a better place. Bono, Lennon, Jagger, Elvis, and Curt all agree to help make the world a better place once concert at a time. This has some nice jokes in it and the caricatures are amusing. Not sure I'd want to read another episode about this bunch though.

Jesus-5 This such a naughty idea - The second coming of Christ gets messed up by welfare dependancy and fertility treatment. Can we believe what Mr Jesus is telling the class about his family? I'm not sure, but I did laugh out loud at the audacity of the ideas Jeff throws into this book. The most halarious super-hero team I've heard of. Ever.

Saddle Shoes Love and life as the pursuit of the perfect woman? The human race summed up in 7 pages? A metaphor drenched parable. Genuinely inventive, this story goes for the surreal and yet captures the ordinary. Thoughts and feelings condensed down into pigment, then suspended on paper. How this was rejected by the editors of the SPX 2003 anthology is beyond me.

The Jerry Brown Interview Text piece where Jeff talks to Jeffrey about his autobiographical comic Clumsey and what lead him to create comics. An informative interview covering interesting topics.

Jeff's earlier work always showed that he lots of ideas in his head, but this collection is a startling display of inventive storytelling. Two of these stories have central ideas that stick in the mind, but if you are at all interested in the comics medium Comix, Anarchy, Riot burns itself into your brain. It's Hicksvile for readers and creators of photocopied comics, with the added bonus gift of a cool black star badge attached to the cover. Essential reading.

In a Word: Blinding.

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