…..with a little throwback to Comic Book Holocaust in there (panel 8), gotta love that.
Johnny Ryan’s take on the Jersey Shore.
…..with a little throwback to Comic Book Holocaust in there (panel 8), gotta love that.
Johnny Ryan’s take on the Jersey Shore.
2. This is an anthology of several stories by various authors: Glenn Head, Max Andersson, Johnny Ryan, Tim Lane, Judith McNicol, Matt Madden, David Paleo, Mike Wartella, R. Sikoryak, Doug Allen, Lauren R. Weinstein, David Lasky, Tony Millionaire, Onsmith, J. Bradley Johnson, Mats!?, Carol Swain, Sam Henderson, Christian Northeast, Michael Kupperman, Craig Yoe, Ivan Brunetti, Danny Hellman, Mack White, and Rick Altergott. The authors are doing various things — maybe providing a short story, maybe a page-long ‘gag’ strip, or maybe a full page drawing that you couldn’t really call comics at all (Paleo does ‘Inbreed Illustrated’ fake Swimsuit issue magazine covers). You get a range of things in various styles… the intro to the book alludes to the diversity, calling comics a ‘big tent’ medium, one that allows for all manner of styles and subject-matter. That’s pretty much what you get here, a seemingly random sampling of presumedly recent work by various people making comics-related imagery. The intro also wants to let the reader know what to expect from the book, claiming that it will be filled with stories that are ahead of their time and full of attitude and comparing the experience of reading it to a car crash (hope you can survive it!). It wants to come across as a dazzling, fresh, crazy, shocking, rock-your-socks-off book. In reality, it was ‘ok’ and had some highlights but it was really more of the same and quite comparable to a lot of other books I have seen. Nothing new here, but a few stories that stood out from the pile.
3. There are a wide variety of styles in the book, being an anthology that includes many different authors and artists. Cab Boy by Max Andersson almost looks like lithography. Tim Lane’s Sanctuary has an approximately wood-cut look to it, even though it’s done in brush. The Inbreed Illustrated pages are done in graphite. Carol Swain’s Family Circus appears to be done in Prismacolor pencils. Most every other story has the expected black and white pen & brush look to it with whatever line quality makes sense for its story. There are some interesting pages done in color as well. Standing out most is Mike Wartella’s The Visions of Rasputin. He gives his story a fake discolored newsprint base and the look of an old newspaper strip complete with garish color halftone dots, etc. so it ends up looking like Tales of the Black Freighter from Watchmen or what you’d expect from old EC horror. It’s nice … great close cool analogous colors with a hot split compliment usually. He does a great drawing of Rasputin too. I would like to see more of that story for sure… as it exists in the anthology it’s on the incomprehensible side. The only other major formal highlight are the drawings in Tim Lane’s “The Drive Home.” Mainly I find his backgrounds/landscapes appealing with their obsessive surface contour lines of intricate short dashes or varied-line-weight marks covering much of his page with texture. It looks like when Tezuka wants to do an impressive splash page of the environment, but with Lane it gets interspersed throughout the story. It’s interesting that he took so much time with his environments considering the character himself is relatively ‘blah.’ Other than that… there are some people who are clearly good at working in the style of comic strips (Johnny Ryan, and R. Sikoryak does a great Garfield parody called Mephistofield) or in the style of 60s underground comix (Glenn Head especially, only he’s not very funny I guess).
4. Author’s intention: Basically the editorial introduction to the book states the intention. It’s about finding a way to do an anthology that is an alternative to what you get in, though it doesn’t name these specifically, but: Best American Comics (filled with personal memoirs, break-up stories, artsy tales that are incomprehensible) and what you get in something like Kramer’s Ergot (dazzling art, visual pizazz, but not a lot of stories). Hotwire wants to be raw, embarrassing to have in public, shocking, cutting-edge, groundbreaking, and full of low-brow humor, etc. It effectively wants to be like punk zines and earlier underground comix, or it wants to be like Johnny Ryan or Peter Bagge maybe? Instead, it offers you something in-between Best American Comics and Kramer’s Ergot, only with stuff that isn’t as interesting in terms of the average narrative and isn’t nearly as visually stimulating artistically. It’s not shocking or cutting edge at all and many of the stories have very little narrative and are often incomprehensible and artsy. So I’m not entirely sure if they quite accomplished what they set out to do with this one. But, I should say… the overall goal was a great one and I would definitely love to have an anthology that was like that … it’s just not this anthology, sadly. Keep trying I guess..
5. Biggest strengths. There are a few standout stories or pages. Johnny Ryan’s “My Mother the Idiot” was funny (that is, the first one in the book was funny, the rest weren’t really)… it was good because it was simply so ‘easy’ and stupid. It didn’t even really ‘work’ and that was its best quality. I’d like to say Matt Madden’s story was good, but it was like he was trying to be Jaime Hernandez and decided to throw in Mr. Belvedere selling (spiritual?) sex toys… so not sure what happened there. Nice drawings though.. The Visions of Rasputin and Mephistofield works were *almost* really good but neither one really worked finally. I could see them working with some more development. “Metal Fabrication Dept./Okie-Jokies” by Onsmith: that was a highlight. He gives you the story of a guy working in a nightmarish factory job who wants to die most of the time. The biggest strength is how stuck in the rut he is… he fights with his wife but you can tell he wishes he weren’t doing it, but he can’t get out of the cycle. He nows his job is a misery, and he cries about it, but he is ineffectual to actually change anything. He sees the redneck people around him doing awful, stupid, frightening things, but this character is in the background — always involved and implicated but always at a distance and alienated. The other big standout was Danny Hellman’s beautiful, direct, and exquisitely-colored “Joy is a Jewel.” It is a simple 18-panel story telling about how impoverished hippy-type girl Joy wants a nice necklace. She sells her body to a demon for money (gets impregnated in the process), and presumedly gives birth to an anti-Christ type boy. We get to see him grow up and become increasingly evil and powerful, ultimately also being able to provide Joy with that necklace she so desired. It does have an air of Chris Ware about it, sure, but it’s just funny and perfectly concise. The ‘camera’ never leaves Joy and it’s a pleasure to see her evil son springing up around her, as we get hints about his corrupt power. Finally it ends with nukes going off and Joy shedding a tear of joy over her pretty necklace. Bravo Danny! Great job drawing that demon and the demon sex ritual too. I’d like to see more like this. (I also liked certain things about Mack White’s “My Gun is Long” which is a great little play on how the Kennedy assassination went down where we find out Oswald was set up by a look-alike through some complicated circumstances. It works pretty well, and I was surprised to find myself not hating that it had quite a lot of actual written words relative to the amount of drawings… meaning, reading through it wasn’t boring and painful like you might expect from looking at it)
6. Weaknesses: Some of the stories just seemed unresolved. Perhaps if the anthology had more pages overall the authors could’ve fleshed out their ideas a touch more. Some were just not funny or interesting. Some made little to no sense. Some didn’t look super good or lacked other appealing qualities that would grab you and hold your attention. If the intention of the book was to shock and awe and push forward comics with new innovations, then it fell dreadfully short. If the intention was to let some lesser-known people get some exposure then I guess it worked ok, though I don’t know how many people will ever see this book. If the intention was to let some comics artists have a page or two or three to ‘play around’ and pump out a comic that doesn’t matter terribly much whether it works or not… then it did that. I would point out one story though in particular that was just plain bad: The Scaredy Kids by Michael Kupperman. And I hate to single anyone out like this, but I feel it is my duty to discourage this type of humor in comics early on before it gets out of hand as it has done already on American sitcoms and youtube, etc. Phrases from it: “..a bulletin about the Mannister (the man who can become a bannister..” “hey kids! Don’t you remember me? I used to be an ordinary cabdriver, but then I decided to fight crime, because I was fed up with crime! … Then I found this book (picture of a Bittern, a thickset heron with rounded wings, this secretive bird moves silently through the reeds looking for fish and salamanders). Mannister says: See? I mean, that’s perfect for me!” You get various women crashing through windows as a joke, and a woman fighting a Robot Ben Franklin, etc., etc. Repeating the same words at the beginning and end of a sentence is not a joke. Using short phrases in an excited tone of voice is not a joke. Incongruous and nonsensical images, usually with whatever is most trendy (robots, zombies, mustaches, etc.) — not necessarily funny… there needs to be a ‘joke’ there probably. This comic wants to be Chris Ware combined with Adult Swim. It features various fake ads like you’d see in old comics trades and then has that wretched college-humor like you’d see on Always Sunny in Philadelphia, or choose whatever other show. I can’t quite put my finger on just what it is about it that makes it so terrible … but I know it is destructive toward comedy and comics and it needs to stop.
Also, Ivan Brunetti needs to get back to his roots and start being crude and funny again already. …before it’s too late!
7. I would recommend this book to people who already like comics and graphic novels and who are bored and need something to read. I wouldn’t give it to anyone who is just starting on with reading this stuff, because I believe it would turn them away. I wish it was more shocking and raw and punk and that it did what it said it would do in its intro. I read the intro after reading the comic by the way, and was kind of surprised by its stated goals because it didn’t seem to come anywhere near that… I suspect Glenn Head has those goals personally for his own artwork and they don’t necessarily translate or relate to any of the other stories in the anthology. It’s like he somehow got to edit this anthology and has a dream for comics.. but he didn’t pull together the right people or work to get there.. I find it useful just because there were some people in it who I hadn’t heard of before and I can look a bit more into their work.
8. It looks like Glenn Head mainly gets his work out in various anthologies. I see there is a Hotwire Comix Vol 2 and Vol 3 as well.
9. 3.5/5. Parts were ok, some parts were pretty enjoyable.
1. Jonisha Brock- Bell
2. In this book there were a lot of stories going on with different main events. The first story was about a guy who got kicked out of his girlfriend’s house, and went to live with his friend for year. He didn’t pay rent or anything he was just a free loader. By the end of that comic he had completely ruined his friend’s house. Next big story was about the blind date, and how rude Loady was being to his date. There are a lot of good stories in this book about Loady and Sinus (his friend). Loady was a big bum, he was rude, and didn’t respect many people. Sinus O’gynus was Loady’s good friend but Loady treated him like crap!
3. The drawings in this book are very detailed, no color though all black and white. The type of media that I think was used was ink or any type of pen. The drawings are real realist, and somehow cartooned. He showed motion very well in his pictures by using different lines and detail. Most of all the drawings where very realist, and had a lot of grudge to them. He didn’t hold back by adding motion and blood and yucky things to the photos, they were very detailed! I don’t believe none of the pictures where distorted but maybe the characters in the book a little. To describe the formal elements and principles, there where all types of lines curved, straight, and zig- zag. For color, there was none used the whole book was white and black, also touching on the textures there was no texture difference on the page. He used space differently in all his images and drawing some had a lot of space and focused on one object, but most where full of quality drawing. He added a lot of motion to his drawing by using line and making the character look like they’re walking or running. And furthermore there wasn’t much rhythm shown or proportion.
4. I think the author’s purpose of writing this book was to show how fun and humorous reading can me. Before reading this book, I would have never decided to pick up a science fiction book off the shelf! Johnny Ryan definitely made this book interesting and funny. He communicated many emotions with the bubbles of action words, and you can also tell the actions through the drawings. Example was when Loady and O’gynus got into when Loady threw the party in his house, making his animals into whores. Loady turned O’gynuses house all upside down! There was a lot of provoking issues all throughout this book with all the different characters. There weren’t really any responses to racist, but a lot towards sexual views! I felt like he told all these different types of stories just because the reader would find it very humorous, not for no serious reason because maybe Ryan wanted a good book out there for people my age and up to enjoy and laugh at.
5. The biggest strengths of this book were the humor, I can say this is the funniest book I have ever read, and I truly liked it. I liked the different characters and what they did to the story. What drew me into picking this book was the title and the cover of the book, something about it made it look really interesting. Also I think some of these weird story are kind of realist in their own way, I think they really happen in real life! The biggest strength that stood out for me was that the book was so interesting, it made me want to read it and never put it down. I actually feel like I could read it again! It stands out because he makes you really visualize what is going on, when I read this book it felt like I was there in my mind watching the whole book replay while I was in the scenes, most books can’t do that for me as a reader. The form and style synchronize well, besides the fact that the book changes stories a couple times confused me a little, but that wasn’t a problem because I still wanted to continue to read it. My first reaction gut filling to this book was it doesn’t look that hard to read, just because the simple fact that the cover also draws you in, and let’s not forget about the title. The cover is very detailed and colorful, making you excited to read it! The artist also included a lot of facial expressions and body language throughout the book.
6. One weakness of this book I think was just the switching out of stories, and going to another one. When I got the book I thought it was all going to be on one story not numerous. It just kind of caught me off guard when I was reading the first story and it was getting so interesting and I wanted it to continue but instead it switched to another story. Another problem I had with this book was the lack of color. Now without the color it still gave me a great visual stand point, but I am a person that loves color! I feel as though it would have made the book more exciting to read, more than it already was! Seeing that the cover of the book is so colorful, I thought the whole book would be like that. Having these two things could have improved the book in my perspective! How reading this book as changed my perspective on this topic is basically having bad friend, you can’t be too nice to them and let them ruin your life just because there’s is not going to well.
7. I would recommend this book to everyone that is around my age it’s a good book to keep you laughing and energized. I would recommend it to children to much cussing and profanity. But I have already been telling a lot of people about this book! People in the age range of 18-30 I think would love this book! I don’t think older people or people younger than the age of 18 should read this book just because of the profanity and all the sexual photos in the book! Maybe people who are just entering college like me and want something to read to boost there mood up, this would be a great book to read. I would pass it along personally to my cousin, best friend, friend, uncle, and even aquatinence. I would quickly respond to someone who wanted me to read this book, just because it looks interesting. None of the book makes me uncomfortable, but the sexual drawings did shock me! This book as increased my interest in this subject matter big time.
8. Other books by Johnny Ryan: Angry youth commix #7, Blecky Yuckerella, Shouldn’t you be working?, Portajohnny, Prison Pit, etc.
9. I would rate this book 5/5.
1. Nicolas Howard Herrild
2. This graphic novel is composed of several different stories all into one book. The novel ranges from short little stories to small individual jokes which consist of a picture and a short humorous description. The story topic’s can leave a person with night mares or laughing there butt’s off. A suit made from celebrity buttocks, getting rid of breast cancer, a woman’s boobs secreting fecal matter, a rape machine (disturbing), death from a shit puddle, and many others that will turn the guts.
3. The artwork in this novel is indescribable consisting of a couple different mediums used. Most of the stories were done using ink, while the short, to the point jokes, were a form of watercolor paint. The detail to the characters was not only realistic and expressionistic and distorted, but disturbing at the same time. The novel was very organized and neat meaning the drawing were not outside the box and stayed within the confines of the window. The drawings were created by using dark/ heavy lines that demanded attention as well as has light/ airy lines that described movement of each character.
4. The author’s purpose of writing this was to make innocent perverted fun. Johnny Ryan seems to be one of the only authors that could write and draw about such taboo perverted things and make them seem so innocent and humorous. The purpose behind this novel I feel was for Johnny Ryan to challenge society and step outside the box to make a graphic novel that was perverted but socially acceptable. Ryan stepped outside the boundaries set by society and was successful. I feel that Ryan accomplished what many wouldn’t be able to.
5. This graphic novels art and language synchronizes very well using a comic book style with panels. The language and art used makes this novel stand out among several other graphic novels I have read. This novel makes many of society’s taboos and manipulates them to be socially acceptable. My first reaction to this book was created from its cover, a little disturbing but I’m glad it caught my attention. A few stories into the novel made me have mixed feelings of disgusting humor. This is definitely a novel that should be read individually and not out loud to a group because there are many ways someone could react to the material. This novel keeps a person on their toes with all the twist and turns of the offensive language and art work.
6. The book only has one small weakness that I found; this weakness was the color scheme in the short stories. Most of the short stories were black and white, but I feel if the drawings would have more of an impact if they were colored. The black and white coloring doesn’t do the novel justice.
7. A person with a perverted sense of humor or just a person looking for a good laugh may want to check out this novel. The male gender would most likely make a better fit for this book sense males seem to be more perverted. This is a novel that should not be kept on the coffee table for just anyone to read and children and teens should be limited or even denied access to the book.
8. Johnny Ryan’s other books that may also be appealing are “Prison Pit 1”, “Prison Pit 2”, and “Prison Pit 3”. There are also many more that can be checked out at www.johnnyryan.com
9. Rating of 4.5 of 5
1. Patrick Noskey
2. In this comic there is not one big story. The book is more of a compilation of all of the best Doofus Omnibus comics. There is a minimum of one comic strip per page and a maximum of three. There are one main character, Doofus Omnibus, and his pal Henry Hotchkiss. Doofus Omnibus is a short man with short black hair, 5 o’clock shadow, buckteeth, a button up shirt, a tie, and a hat called a “straw boater.” He has a friend named Henry Hotchkiss. Hotchkiss is a tall, skinny man with a droopy look on his face, plaid pants, a winter hat, and a winter coat. There are many conflicts in this book; however, I think the most visible one is that Omnibus is always getting into trouble. Whether he is with Hotchkiss or not Omnibus always seems to get himself into a pickle or has some sort of a comic pun. For instance, in a couple of the comic strips he has been asked to change something about himself, either a stack of tires in his yard or what he is drinking. There are not a lot of surprises in this book because there is not one definitive story. Some major events do consist of his college days, inventing a robot, and glimpses of how he is a part of other characters lives. In this story, the point of view changes based off of who the main character is in the written comic strip. It is mostly from Omnibus, but there are some separate stories from his dad, Hotchkiss, Douchebag Dugan, and U.S. Ames (another version of Captain America). The title of the book is a perfect description of what you will find, but it does not mention anything about the side stories. All of these comics were written around the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. They are spaced out in order so there is not a mix up of the time line.
3. In this graphic novel ink and pen were used to outline the characters. Dark black lines were the outline in the black and white comic strips; In the color comic strips the lines were thinner and not as noticeable. The color comic strips were colored in with, what looks like, colored pencils. They seem to have the same texture and brightness. It is a very iconic graphic novel because the simple designs make objects viewer friendly to reorganization. The drawings seemed to have been refined because of the detail that was put into the colored versions. They are very precise in the detail and shapes are to the “T” per say. The detail takes up most of the space in on the pages, which makes for a small amount of gutter space. There is a range of color and of space taken in each of the drawings and of the comics as a whole. In addition, the objects are proportional to the people. The scale of sizes is visually perfect and there aren’t a lot of things that could be considered disproportional.
4. I think the authors’ purpose of writing this book was to show the crude humor of the late 1990’s and/or early 2000’s. There are people in this book who can easily be related to in real life. Some people are slow to jump the gun, make bad decisions, are rough around the edges, and some people take advantages of others. On the other hand, others are willing to risk it all to save others, help people in their time of need, and are supportive. This book accumulates all of these different types of people and how they are related to the main character. There is a sense of satire for a community because everyone in a given community has people like the ones listed above. There is a comic strip in there that does shed some light on the homosexual community and how some people are offended by their sexual orientation, also how they are seen as “better” people because of their value of life. This comic has importance as to the time it was written. This is a good depiction of what you could and could not do in public before the attacks of 9/11. Although some of the activities that Omnibus and Hotchkiss perform together are vulgar and frowned upon, they weren’t as terribly seen before September of 2001.
5. The biggest strengths of this novel are the detail and story line. The story flows well because each of the comics is in relation to the other. Yes the book is not full of all of the stories of Omnibus, but you can venture from one strip to the next and not have a confused thought as to what is going on. The detail is on another level compared to other comics of its time. Not only the color, but also the black and white strips are of high quality. The types and boldness of lines that are used to depict the size, volume, distance, and importance of object and even people are used very efficiently. When I had first read the book, I thought it was very funny. It has crude humor and the use of explicit language is well timed and well used. The way the characters were introduced and used was easy to understand. The third strength was the panel transition. There was enough of a gutter for panels to be separated but the transition was still flowing. The aspects of the story are fit to the time it takes to write them. The detailed drawings are an additional plus for this book. They are just the right amount of detail, enough to draw attention from the words being read, but not too much to make the comics look like an art piece.
6. Some weaknesses are lack of background knowledge, black and white strips, and small amount of stories. Some of the comics written in this book should come with background knowledge because of when they were written. People that were born in the 1990’s are not as familiar with what the social environmental matrix was like before 2000, there for some background knowledge is needed. The visual transition from color comics to black and white can be hard for some people. In this book there is a flip from black and white to color to black and white, back and forth. This can become straining for people trying to focus on the story more than the detail. Lastly, the amount of stories. I think more stories could have been put into the book and expanded to develop more background knowledge and character development.
7. I would recommend this book to anyone of at least a senior in high school and above. Underclassman could become very immature in what language is used and some scenes have depicted. Men and women should read this, it is not a gender specific book nor does it favor one or the other. I would let anyone in my family read it except for any kids that are too young. Around the age of 14 or 15 I would refrain from letting them view or read the book. Someone that would probably reject this book would be an older person, 50’s to 80’s. Someone who cannot laugh at a social satire, or can see themselves as one of the characters would take offense to this book. This book increased my interest because I want to read more graphic novels like this one. It is funny but knows the limits of what to say, how to say it, and what time to say it. The book also does not go overboard on the use of language.
8. Rick Altergott also composed a book with his wife, Ariel Bordeaux, called Raisin Pie. He also added to other comics such as Duplex Planet Illustrated, Hate, and Kramers Ergot.
9. 3/5 stars. The book was good, but there were points where you would lose interest and not want to continue reading, but when you first picked up the book, it was interesting and really caught your attention.
1) Emily Kerschen
2) Paul Hornschemeier’s book, “Let Us Be Perfectly Clear,” is a book composed of many short comics. The book is fashioned as a flip book, with half of the comics facing one direction and the other half up-side down in comparison. All of the comics are in full-color and show meanings around the common complexities of life. Hornschemeier’s writing in all of the comics is bitter and features a word-less battle between the characters. Although many of the comics involve a battle over severe issues, some seem to revolve around trivial objects or never seem to develop a point. The old fashion images of his comics are often combined with modern day issues and aspect such as “hipster,” characters. Combining such different things along with the bitterness of his writing, makes Hornschemeier’s writing come across as a gag or a mockery.
3) With the exception of only one comic, “Let Us Be Perfectly Clear,” is filled with colorful ink. Each of the comics share a colorful aspect, however each gives off its own feel and a completely different image. Hornschemeier’s comics display a wide range of images varying from an old fashion, rustic look all the way to a dark and futuristic feel. Not only do his comics vary, but also the margins. Most of the margins are classically white, but several scattered pages throughout the book feature a solid colored margin. The majority of characters and other images in the book appear simplified and very iconic; some of the subjects look made-up or so simplified that they come across as fictional. These characters add to the overall abstract feel of the book. The lines used to create the comics are thin and continuous.
4) I think Hornschemeier had several intentions when writing this book, one of them being to instill a sense of nihilism. Making the reader look at meaningful aspects of life in a trivial way seems to be a theme coming across in several of the comics. Pregnancy, infidelity and even death are topics often mentioned in this book. They are presented in a way to make them appear unimportant and average. Upon opening the book, I expected funny jokes and dry humor, resembling that of the comics in a newspaper. These comics turned out much different than I expected. Crude humor and snide remarks caught my attention and brought me into the deeper and darker meanings of the book. This book exposed a bitter, dead-pan technique that I had never seen before. This book not only introduces a new technique to comics, but also pushes boundaries. The brief mentioning of a character named Sarah needing to “buy a better vibrator,” during the tale of an intense murder story, is an example of one of the many places throughout the book where crude humor is used in a lighthearted manner. This certainly pushed boundaries and could easily offend some of its readers; however that is not its intention.
5) I think the biggest strength of this novel is its shock value. “Let Us Be Perfectly Clear, “takes serious issues lightly and that shock that comes from that keeps the reader intrigued. The book is also very fast paced. You could be learning of a murder in one panel and an affair in the next. It is hard to find a good stopping spot or a place to put the book down when there is constant excitement. It is unique in the fact that almost every single page has a new style, a new meaning, and a new direction. The crude humor and strong shock value added very well to its purpose of making light of usually serious topics. Once I dove into the book and learned to expect something crazy or crude on each page, it made it hard to put down. I found myself wanting to read every page to find out what wacky thing Hornschemeier would add next. At first, my reaction to the book was offended, but after reading several more pages, I came to find that that was not its intention. Once I understood that the books nature was to shed light on heavy topics, the vulgar remarks didn’t bother me. The structural strength that I quickly noticed was the ratio of words to pictures. There are enough words to explain what is going on, yet there aren’t so many words that one would complain about how long it took to read.
6) One weakness I think the book had was its shock factor. By the time I dug into the book a little, the blunt remarks didn’t offend me, however it may offend other readers. If the reader didn’t take the time to think of what Hornschemeier meant by his filthy jokes, they may get the impression that it is trashy or offensive and therefore put the book down. Personally, I would have started with less offensive jokes in the earlier comics and ease the reader into the purpose of the book before introducing crude humor. Reading this book has taught me not to be easily offended and to think about the true meaning of one’s remarks before jumping to conclusion. The book also showed me that comics don’t always have to be funny; they can be about any topic. Although the book doesn’t specifically address any debate topics, it does mention a few sensitive issues. Despite his direct approach, Hornschemeier avoids giving personal opinion and bias.
7) I would recommend this book to people in High School or older. The book features many serious topics and crass concepts, so the reader would need to be of an age in which they both understand the meaning of the book and can look past the possibly offensive jokes. Because it discusses serious topics such as murder, abortion, and depression, and I think it is important for men and women to be well informed on those topics, this book is appropriate for both genders. I would not pass this book along to family members or friends simply because its offensive tendencies lead me to believe that each reader should decide for themselves whether this humor suits them or not. Someone who is willing to look at serious topics in a different light would truly enjoy the unique perspective this book gives. On the other hand, those who take serious matters to heart and have strong opinion may object to this book. Also, very conservative people may find it to be too cheeky and flippant for such a serious matter. I was slightly uncomfortable at first when it started off with several swear words and politically incorrect names. Using references to being “retarded,” and “slutty,” both shocked me mostly because I didn’t expect to see language like that in a comic. After adjusting however, it made me realize that any mood and any subject can be written into a comic.
8) Paul Hornschemeier has written other books such as, “Mother, Come Home,” “The Collected Sequential,” “Return of the Elephant,” “The Three Paradoxes,” “All and Sundry,” and “Life With Mr. Dangerous.”
9) I would give this book 4/5 stars.
1) Spencer Grasso
2) Prison Pit is a graphic novel based around the fighting and survival of the main character Cannibal Fuck Face. The adventure of Cannibal Fuck Face begins when he is held captive by robot-guards inside of a spaceship. After fighting his way out of captivity and landing himself on a vast planet, Cannibal Fuck Face runs into a steroid crazed Nazi Monster. This roid rage maniac threatens to take Cannibal Fuck Face’s life unless he retrieves a slorge (the creature that secretes the steroids). The rest of the graphic novel depicts Cannibal Fuck Face’s journey of kicking ass and taking names while in search of the slorge.
3) The artwork in Prison Pit uses very high contrast black and white to create each gruesome image. The images are abstract because they are exaggerated from what people actually look like, but still resemble humans. The crude/sketchy lines used to create the content add to the overall gritty genre of this graphic novel.
4) I think the authors intention while creating Prison Pit was to entertain his audience as well as to force the reader to fill in the blanks that he intentionally left. Johnny Ryan throws the reader into the middle of the plot with literally no background information. By doing this he allows a more personal reading experience of filling in missing information which varies from reader to reader.
5) The biggest strength of Prison Pit is the brutality and rawness that transfers between gutters. Prison Pit almost makes you uncomfortable while viewing the imagery, yet it makes you want to see how much farther the envelope gets pushed, keeping you very intrigued.
6) The weakness in Prison Pit comes from the lack of background information about the plot. The author throws the reader in what seems to be the middle of a storyline, potentially forcing the reader start the novel confused. This problem could simply be solved by providing some simple character and plot information prior to the climax of the story.
7) I would recommend Prison Pit to anyone who gets a kick out of violent and explicit content. The age range I would consider being interested in this graphic novel would be around 15 to 25. I am into gruesome video games and was a big wrestling fan when I was younger which could have contributed to the enjoyment I got out of this book. I would recommend this book to my cousin because he and I share similar interests.
8) Prison Pit is a series of graphic novels. Currently there are Prison Pit Book 1,2, and 3. All of which include Cannibal Fuck Face and grotesque violent content.
Yet another epic addition to Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit series, Prison Pit: Book 3 does little different from Book 1 and 2 but is still just as enjoyable and well worth the wait. It is hard to say what the Prison Pit graphic novels are actually about, all I know is they are extremely grotesque, unforgiving, and absolutely fantastic. In these three books we are introduced to intense monsters, on what we assume to be an alien world, with names such as Cannibal Fuck Face, Plaque, Apocalypse Tongue, and Mass Murder. All of these characters are grotesque humanoids with different strengths and characteristics, for example Apocalypse tongue has an appendage that comes out of his face and can swallow other monsters whole. I can only imagine the best way to describe them is He-Man characters on steroids with more disgusting mutations.
There are a limited number of characters in book three, some repeats from 1 and 2, and a few new faces. The book opens with a nameless, new monster who we quickly learn is looking for Cannibal Fuck Face for unknown reasons. This character is dropped to the surface of the alien planet, which I assume is called Prison Pit. Soon after the creature runs into a gang of unfriendly humanoids who want to rip his skeleton out and drink his blood. What pursues is a violent blood bath between the new comer and monster gang. Creatures are split in half, appendages are torn off, and buckets of blood are spilled, I don’t want to ruin the outcome of this battle for any perspective reader so I won’t tell you who wins.
Later on in the book we leave the surface of this planet and go underground where we find some sort of lair. Inside is Cannibal Fuck Face, our hero and main character of sorts who is trying to escape the underground structure. He is stopped by some sort of Alien priest, they engage in battle and again I wouldn’t want to ruin the outcome! But the story leaves off with the promise of another story, to be released soon I hope!!!
The style that Prison Pit Book 3 is drawn in perfectly accentuates the story. The drawings remind me of something my guy friends might have drawn in third grade, muscle men, with imaginative and perhaps impossible designs. They are crude, scratchy pen drawings with excellent and descriptive surface textures that draw you in and even make the reader feel a bit ill. But with all of the chaos, Johnny Ryan manages to bring balance and readability to every panel, for example there are clear and organized panels on every page, he does not go over board with texture and uses it only when necessary, and there is a great balance between black and white.
A first glance one might think that Ryan created this book simply for shock value or to entertain. However this graphic novel challenges ideas about what a story can be. Prison Pit doesn’t have a clear followable story, with beginning, middle and end. In many ways this graphic novel is not reader friendly. Much like the characters we are thrown into this world of murdering monsters with no background knowledge and no idea of what is going on. Characters are thrown at us left and right, and Ryan never pauses to introduce them, on the contrary a great percentage of the text is gruesome sound effects, and petty insults. It’s a bit like a really violent children’s cartoon where the characters bash each other’s heads in for our amusement. Reading this graphic novel feels rebellious and lends itself well to the Do It Yourself (D.I.Y.), Zine (self published comics), and punk culture.
Perhaps it’s biggest strength is how unforgiving and uncensored Prison Pit is, and that is important, as we should always be pushing our boundaries and questioning what is comfortable.
Perhaps the only thing I would personally like to see more of in Prison Pit is world building, there is a lot of focus on the characters and the backgrounds often go unnoticed. It seems like Ryan could really flesh out some of the grotesque characteristics of the world that these characters live on. In Book 1, there is this pussing tree that an alien is licking at, and that image left an impression on me, even inspired a print of mine. Since then the backgrounds have been just that… backgrounds. In making comics McCloud mentioned that you should think of the space characters exist in as environments, that are just as important as the characters themselves. A second idea is that Johnny Ryan include some kind of stickers, cut-outs or other interactive material in the back of his comics. One of my favorite graphic novelists Junko Mizuno includes stickers and postcards in the back of her books, and I thought it was really fun to have some sort of image from the comic you can take with you.
Typically I recommend the Prison Pit books to people I think would appreciate the crude aesthetic, and who would not take offense to the violent nature of the book. This is usually people my age, mid to late twenties, college and graduate students who have some background in art or appreciate punk aesthetic. When I first read Prison Pit: Book 1, sure I was a bit shocked by how gruesome the story was but I also found it hilarious and exciting. I think it takes an open minded person, perhaps with a strong stomach? To enjoy this graphic novel.
If you would like to check out this series definitely start with Prison Pit Book 1, each book has something great to offer. If you become a fan of Johnny Ryan also check out Comic Book Holocaust 1 and 2, which are hilarious but may require reading graphic novels by other artists.