Review: ‘Meathaus: SOS’
I was talking to cartoonist Jim Rugg recently about comics anthologies, and he said his thought as a reader is that each collection should have one great story, and then anything else good is just gravy.
In the case of the latest volume of Meathaus, SOS (Nerdcore, $30), Rugg’s Afrodisiac story is the gravy. His old-school, dot-matrix-styled, blaxploitation character has a predictably badass encounter with vampires.
The one great story in SOS, then, is the volume’s first entry, a longish bizarro riff on [[[Zelda]]] (I think) from Farel Dalrymple. It’s a story of two brothers who stumble into a mysterious cave and are attacked by an evil elf wearing a fedora and trench coat.
Dalrymple’s art is as energetic as ever, and the story is a strangely edited puzzler that’s worth multiple reads.
There’s plenty more gravy in the 272 pages. Most notably Dash Shaw’s melding of science fiction and nude modeling for art classes. I don’t think any more needs to be said.
Other contributors include James Jean, Brandon Graham, Tomer and Asaf Hanuka, Thomas Herpich, Corey Lewis, Matt Furie, D-pi, Ross Campbell, Sheldon Vella and Dave Kiersh.
An aside: one of the editors, Matt Gagnon, recently appointed to be managing editor at Boom! Studios.
There’s a lot of talent on display in SOS, and from an artistic standpoint it’s a can’t-miss book, with some very inventive and refined pieces.
As with most anthologies, there’s something for everyone. Though there’s also bound to be a few stories that don’t work for most readers, depending on tastes.
The one flaw is the same drawback with many of the growing number of anthologies popping up in comics, such as [[[Flight]]], [[[Pop Gun]]], [[[Five]]] and others. These collections are created primarily by people who are artists first and foremost.
While that leads to some inspiring artwork, the storytelling is not at the same level, and the quality is wildly inconsistent.
Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book journalist. Every Wednesday, he braves Atlanta traffic to visit Oxford Comics, where he reads a whole mess of books for his weekly reviews. Van’s blog can be found at graphicfiction.wordpress.com.
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