Every now and again, I feel I should make an effort to pick up independent offerings from New Zealand creators. This one is a self-published compilation by Tim Bollinger. Like most NZ comics, this is A5 format (folded A4/Letter). Interior is all Black and White, though the cover and a one-page story on the back cover is color. Reproduction is pretty high quality laser copy - but hey, it's the story quality that we really care about.
The front cover boldy claims to contain "The collected diatribes of Tim Bollinger". Certainly there's truth in that, the stories are very much personal statements. In fact, the first five-page story is entitled "F!@#ed in The Head", and the punchline reminds us that "If it wasn't for the fact that some of us were complete f@#$ed in the head, great comics would not be possible." Hmm... a bold claim.
The "F@$#ed" story itself is a self-loathing piece, with his wife helping twist the knife a little. I never figured out the whole "hate yerself/everybody" thing that Peter Bagge seemed to make popular. There's not much that's clever in here, and I really had to come to the conclusion that if that's the kind of comic that head-f@#$ed people write, well, maybe next time out I'll see what the non-f@#$ed guys are up to. But wait, there's more!
Right after that is a one-page "History Lies" tale written by "The Merry Terrorist", who takes a few shots at the false promise of globalisation. As generic radical social commentary goes, it's actually pretty tolerable, and is one of the best bits of the comic. It's certainly better than the following "Joe Sputnik and the Mystery of Ravioli's Father" Part II, Episodes 10-19 which follows. That's is a loosely-assembled episodic collection which dribbles through various bits of mind-mangled mayhem. Joe utterly fails to raise a laugh, provide a story, or offer a fresh idea. When ya miss on all three counts like that, there's really not much more to say. It's eleven pages later by the time we can write that off.
Next up is "Animal Firm", Part 2. I'm not quite sure what this is about, but it features various animals who run the New Zealand government, and who seem to be corrupt and/or psychotic, in a confused set of happenings involved lots of running around and yelling. I totally failed to find a point in the whole shemozzle, and I'm not sure that I really missed anything. As biting satire goes, this one chomps like a toothless geriatric going down on Ben Grimm. Which is to say, not too much in the way of teeth-marks. It says "Continued..." but I sure won't be bothering with the next episode.
Nearly done now. There's another "Merry Terrorist" story called "Futureworld" which does little except to suggest to me that any insight in the first Merry Terrorist outing was clearly an accident, and by then we're into the back cover, with a one-page colored-art psychodelic offering entitled "Kids of the 21st Century."
The crazy kids of the 21st century live in a brightly-colored too-much-pizza nightmare. The "kids" don't really have much to say, but it's wacky enough to be entertaining through the eight panels. When I picked up this compliation at the comic shop, I read this back-cover and it was "The Kids" that enticed me just enough to shell out my five bucks for the whole mag.
Silly me. In hindsight, I should have flicked through a couple of the inner pages before handing over my cash. I could have saved that five bucks for a burger. Attitude Problem is not to be recommended.