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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

J LHLS Archives: April 2004

Friday, April 23, 2004

Be A Man
by Jeffrey Brown
Published by Top Shelf Productions

Reviewed by Tom Good

In an introduction to Be A Man the author explains that this comic is a sequel to (and parody of) an earlier work: "A few months ago I realized I was much too sensitive and pathetic in 'Clumsy,' so I wrote 'Be A Man' and fixed myself, creating the 'Clumsy' you all wanted to see." I have not read Clumsy, so this review is based on Be A Man as a stand-alone piece.

Be A Man consists of a series of 29 short black-and-white episodes, almost all of which are six-panel stories that fit on a single page. The art is intentionally crude, simple line drawings. The story features two unnamed characters, a man and his girlfriend, and it dramatizes stereotypically insensitive, macho male behavior. Example scene:

WOMAN: I'm fat.

MAN: Well, then why don't you get off your ass and lose some weight? Or just be comfortable with your body, like I am. [He flexes his nonexistent bicep muscles and pats his flabby abdomen.]

MAN (pointing to a TV show): That chick is HOT.

Though the concept has potential for humor, Be A Man is rarely laugh-out-loud funny. More often, the situations come across as uncomfortable and sad, though still entertaining in a way. In many ways it reminds me of Matt Groening's Life In Hell strip, with the added element of male chauvinism.

Overall, though I found Be A Man only mildly amusing, it did make me curious to read more of Brown's work.

Posted by Tom Good @ 11:00 AM PST [Link]

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

She-Hulk #2

Reviewed by Ginger Mayerson

Marvel, who, for some reason has the covers switched. This is the cover for #2, not what they have on their site, which is for #1. Great covers, by the way.

So, I decided to buy a copy of She-Hulk #2 and I loved it. Jennifer Walters (the She-Hulk [I didn't know this until this afternoon]) is a lawyer and has been hired by the fancy schamzy law firm she's always dreamed of working for. She has issues about working in her non-Hulk form, but gets over them in pursuit of getting the best deal for her client. Her client is also a super hero, a reluctant and troubled one, but one nevertheless.

In fact, the law firm specializes in super hero law because even super heroes need a lawyer now and then. I think this is a great premise, one that will be good for years of stories (I hope). And the firm is full of super heroes, mutants, androids, shape-shifters, and probably some killer legal secretaries, too. (Yes, Mr. Slott, where are the legal secretaries and paralegals? No law firm, with or without super hero JDs, would last 20 minutes without their secretaries. Sheesh.)

Anyway, I was able to get She-Hulk #2 and I'm on the hunt for #1, which I understand is more about her personal problems. This is fine and, being a completist, I will read #1 with an open mind, but I sure like seeing a super hero in her day job.

There's quite a bit of humor in this comic book: The shape-shifter offers to shift into his Orlando Bloom look if Jennifer gets lonely; Marvel pokes some fun at itself by having Jennifer read super hero comics looking for a legal precedent for a super hero origin in a personal injury case. It's smart, funny, and the characters really hooked me.

I'm not a big super hero comics fan, but I've asked Kenny at Comics Odyssey to save a She-Hulk for me every month (put it on my pull or whatever you call it). Kenny says he sold out of #1 pretty quickly, but #2 is not selling very well. You'd think it would be selling really well on the cover alone, but what do I know? I found the story engaging enough that I'm looking forward to the next release, so there's a guaranteed sale right there.

I read Franklin Harris's review of She-Hulk #1 when it came out and I'm not sure why I waited so long to drag myself to the comics store. Sometimes it takes a while for these things to sink in. However, I'm glad I did finally get a copy of She-Hulk #2 at least. It doesn't make me want to be a lawyer or a super hero, but it did keep me turning pages.

Full disclosure: This is the first Marvel comic I have ever bought.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:50 PM PST [Link]

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