To give me some context to this comic mooncat sent me the previous Jessamy outing Jessamy in Autumn in the hope that I'd understand this issue. Can't say it helped much, but I'll do my best.
In a dream Jessamy's talking bird returns to her, whilst her desire to fly grows stronger as does her fever. The fractured telling of the narrative heightens the feeling of Jessamy's nightmare, but if someone was to ask, "Yes, but what happens?" I would be hard pressed to answer. This is probably due to me not having any other issues rather than bad storytelling.
The drawings of Jessamy hold a lot of charm and are well executed. The birds however (I assume because she's dreaming) look like extras from an episode of Rhubarb and Custard. The art is generally strong and conveys more meaning than the writing.
All in all I thought this was very strong and would like to see more issues to answer some of my questions about the story.
Alex Mason
Jeremy on the web

This tasty little volume collects, covers and all, the six issues of French cartoonist Y5/P5's French and English-language Jim Bones gore comics reprinted from Casual Casual and elsewhere. As a frontispiece to the issue Y5/P5 puns through an intro to his cartoon creation. "Jim Bones est un mort vivant", he writes, "c'est Jim Jones resuscité": roughly "Jim Bones is a zombie; Jim Jones reanimated".
Who better than Jim Jones, celebrated mass-killer and cult leader — surely up there with the two all-time consumer creepo greats, Al Crowley and Charlie Manson, had Jones only lived long enough to tell his sorry tale on television? Instead of an afterlife of abject, bloated glory in the tabloids, his spunk-stained image swooned over by hordes of wimpy, drooling leatherboys, Jones is brought back to life as a cuddly cartoon character by a piss-taking cartoonist who probably wouldn't notice an overwhelming feeling of necrophilia if it tried to shag him up the backside over the kitchen table.
The Jim Bones Adventures steals the sales strategies reserved for cute cartoon character commodities, and the devices used in comics to tune narrative in to the demands of marketing, then plays them off against their pure anathema: Jim Bones, friendly, cuddly cartoon killer zombie. The resulting deathly brood includes a role-playing cartoon: YOU ARE Jim Bones, designs for cards, games and guest artist pin-ups, along with the basic BDs.
There's too much clunky humour infecting all this to get hardcore splatter fiends hot and sticky, of course. Every smelly, colour page is haunted by the shades of EC an Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth, just as it's the bastard spawn of Le Dernier Cri's taboo-laden, confrontational printmaking. The stories are consistently witty and funny. And even if you're understanding of French is as shaky as mine, you won't have a lot of trouble reading the French sections in the book. It's not complex stuff and, anyway, reading comics like Y5/P5's is what French is for.
Steve Edgell
THE JIM BONES ADVENTURES [112 205x165mm PAGES, TPB, MONO, 2 & 3 COLOUR PRINTING, ON ART PAPER] 150_ LE DERNIER CRI, 38 RUE FLEGIER, 13001, FRANCE. Steve also did a review of Les Jeux 'Débile Profond' de Jim Bones which he basically translates as 'Jim Bones' Really Moronic Fun and Games' — a 'fun' pack containing such items as: the Official Zombie card, a two headed bookmark, cut-out-and-fold Bonesmobile amongst other fun sounding nonsense. Sounds good! And completes that Jim Bones experience, no doubt.
I told Steve about this editing out of his review and he complained; "So my clever reference to the Capatalist money machines — all Deleuzian and everything — is gone, just like that, and the world will never know!??" Hah! the power of editorship!! (Manic cackle, etc) FLES JEUX 'DÉBILE PROFOND' DE JIM BONES [MONO & 2 COLOUR CARDS AND PRINTED SHEETS IN 270x190mm BAG] 40_ LE DERNIER CRI...and so forth.
Le Dernier Cri

I'd seen Colin Brown's earlier comic Reverberations*, and I'd been impressed by his characters — they looked somewhere between the face-popping contortions of caricaturist King Basil Wolverton and the bog-eyed big-headed Jerry Anderson puppets ...but I hadn't been impressed enough to buy it — something seemed missing somehow, it didn't quite click with me.
Whatever it was, it now seems he's found it. The panels in Joe Beach are strong, textured and deep without ever getting cluttered. Check out that opening panel opposite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!** — we feel we're in a crowded cafe, but don't get confused what we're looking at. Brown can also get away with borderless panels (a real test that, too many panel compositions fall apart without borderlines to hold them in.) He's got a good feel for pacing too, creating the right rhythm with his layouts for each scene.
Not to go too overboard with praise I have to admit not everything works here. A scene where Joe falls downstairs drunk doesn't really come off. And the perspectives can get a bit weird; at one point characters suddenly grow to about thirty feet tall towering over houses, but even in these few lapses you can see what he's trying to do.
The story doesn't sound like much when you say it out loud: a McJob slacker falling out with his careerist yuppie girlfriend is hardly unfamiliar territory. (I'm also tempted to quibble why it's always the girl whose the careerist — at least I would if I wasn't that's actually true!***) But it lives in the telling, making you care more than those bare facts would have you believe.
Joe and Maggie are often bookended, held apart by the page design and layout of their flat, and it's this more than anything said which prophesies their breakup (an inevitability which finally happens offstage).
Too many small press creators find a style, then keep pouring it out until they reach the dregs. Brown gives us the impression he's trying. Makes me want to read #1...
Gavin Burrows
JOE BEACH [#2 28 A4 PAGES, CARD COVER WITH COLOURCOPY INSERT] £2 COLIN BROWN, NO FUN COMICS, ROBINS ROOST, ROMSEY RD, WEST WELLOW, ROMSEY, HAMPSHIRE, SO51 6ED. *See review ZUM!#9 **Well - you would be able to see this if it were the ZUM! magazine ***Mooncat: Please note Gavin is fully aware life isn't 1 dimensional — he's probably trying to wind you up, the minx! Apologies to Gavin for spoiling his fun.

THE JOCK #22&23
This series has been widely reviewed, so you probably know the crack by now; sometime in the future an authoritarian corporation uses subliminal-loaded muzak to keep the population blank-eyed and subdued. The 'Jock' is the nominal leader of a group of resistance workers, trying to fight the power. Also struggling against the grip of Yourent are the Muse Familiars, an assembling group linked to the Ancient Muses of Creativity.
Having got the story so far, Rol Hirst's scripting works fairly well, keeping a number of plates spinning and striking a healthy well-paced balance between action and character exploration. Much of #22 is concerned with the dilemmas of 2 characters unsure how to react to Bobby Dragonfly, an extravagant transvestite; his daughter wonders how much her unease is due to Yourent's conditioning, and a young man is confused over his strong attraction to Bobby's 'she-male' persona. Meanwhile the Jock himself is exploring the hazardous world outside Yourcity #4, while the Muse Familiars wonder where destiny is taking them. By the end of #23 they have discovered the familiar of Clio, the Muse of History, with the promise of a few explanations as to how the world has got to this point.
Rol has developed a good understanding with his artists, primarily Nigel Lowrey, although the main action in #23 isn't choreographed very clearly, and having to stop and work out what's happening knocks the reader off the carefully established narrative rhythm. On the whole however, Lowrey's work is more than adequate, although a few over-fussy facials jar on the eye. In #22, Adrian Bamforth guests on a segment, filling in admirably.
This isn't really my cup of tea, but it's definitely done with a bit more care and intelligence than most SF stuff. Apparently #24 sheds a lot more light on 'the Big Picture' so this might be a good point to jump on board (Rol reckons he'll have wrapped up the story in another 10 or 15 issues). If big storylines like the above, with an English spin, appeal to you, then you'll find this a well-executed and enjoyable saga.
Tom Murphy
The (very) basic premise of the Jock (a DJ, not a Scot) is that the population is kept docile by the Yourent corporation which runs just about everything. The Jock and his band of followers rebel against them, and it's their story we're following. I've not seen this for a while and things seem to have moved on somewhat as it now interweaves strands of Greek mythology into what would normally be pigeonholed as a SF storyline.
For me The Jock is almost beyond criticism. Not that it is without fault, but rather that it achieves exactly what it set out to achieve. It's a decent story with enough plot twists and surprises to last it over the long haul. Rol is an intelligent writer and his stable of artists, ably led by Nigel Lowrey, are for the most part never less than capable. Personal problems mean future issues may not be quite so regular as in the past.
Andy Brewer


These comics each reprint 2 issues of the Canadian mini-comic of the same name, and they're a bit of a mixed bag. Issue nine consists of 2 stories: Acute Baby-Dyke part 5, a continuing tale loaded with rather tired queer clichés (dad doesn't know she's queer/little sister likes 'girlie' things/ etc etc) which anyone into queer comix must have read a million times before. The second piece called Procrastination, explores the best ways to go about putting things off until later and turns what could've been an amusing 4 to 5 pager, into a mind-numbing 18 pages of tedium. Issue 10 thankfully shows an improvement. Anti-Porn Fanatic has Liliane joining the anti-porn lobby, but things aren't quite how she imagined. And finally there's a collection of one page strips, some of which work, some don't. As I say, a mixed bag.
Franson's undoubtedly a talented cartoonist who's mastered the art of conveying emotion with the simplest of lines. But there are numerous good cartoonists working in this genre and these 2 comics though mildly amusing and perceptive in places, aren't funny enough, or fresh enough to stand out from the crowd.
Andy Brewer



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