Please check out our previous Newave roundups, if you haven't already: 1-10 ; 11-20 and 21-30.
Python-esque inside and out, Weird Secretary features a number of skits filled with non-sequitur jokes, sideways satire and good ol' fashioned "bad" puns. It also contains one of the funniest strips in the anthology so far: "The Adventuress of Finn McQuade: Alcoholic Professor of Philosophy". Need I say more? I didn't think so.
Interested in philosophy? If not, don't worry about reading this comic. Those of you who've dabbled in the least employable subject will find a collection of images that range from comedic (see above) to vaguely diagrammatic. Speaking as someone who dabbled in the subject during college, I can confirm that this mini is at least twice as informative and well-written than any of my essays.
As should be evident from the two previous minis, Jim Ryan takes a slightly different approach from most of the other Newavers in the collection so far: they have boob jokes, and he has academic boob jokes.
Truthfully, this comic addresses an issue that is still a major talking point in the industry even now: the relationship between comic books and art. Satirical in delivery, the characters of Sappo and Sluggo (when confronted with a fine art image) make it quite clear that they think comics and art are incompatible: "Is dat stuff up dere in dis strip?","Naw, I don't T'ink so, Sluggo! Dat looks like art to me, but we is in da comix!". Clearly nobody's introduced them to the work of Rob Liefeld.
XNO's demented robot-viking Popeye (complete with a flame-throwing pipe!) and Steve Willis' trademark transformations might be the most visually arresting contents of this comic, but my favourite submission is Norman Dog's two page account of "The New Problems".
A recounting of a mysterious problem that's never explicitly mentioned, "The New Problems" plays out like a satire on the good old fashioned media panic. Disposable and inflated for the sake of a good headline, the supposedly once-pressing issue is quickly forgotten by the public as soon as coverage ends.
Starting with the image of a cosmic gardener (
Whilst the comics overtly feature such varied subjects as clowns, martini glasses, the devil himself, there's also an innocuous line of Morse code that runs along the bottom of the first two installments. Being extremely obsessive, I decided to decode it:
"SURRENDERWITHANGER.ALIFETIMEISASPECKORTIME?FROMTHESTARTINGLINEWESEETHEDARKATTHEENDOFTHETUNNEL?HEYLYNN.HAVEYOUDECODEDTHISYET?IGOTTHEJOB?"Lord; the things people did before Facebook.
"Lordy, Lordy, Where Are His Pants?" more like.
Following the completion of his Mighty Morphin' Mini-Comic™, Willis continues his off-centre comedy in Lordy Lordy, Where's Mr. Morty? Starring his anti-mascot-of-sorts, the titular Mr. Morty, he proceeds to create a series of "what ifs?" regarding the whereabouts of the dadaist dog.
My favourite has got to be the panel in which Morty is speculated to have penetrated the Iron Curtain, walking "across the ice covered Bering Strait to the U.S.S.R., shooting Rooskies right and left...". Gun in hand, Morty hisses through gritted teeth, "Another widow in Commie-land tonight!". Indeed.
Besides from having an awesome cover (I love these character designs), Bad Teens is a scarily accurate caricature of disgruntled teenage years. Foul-mouthed, drunken and overly aggressive, the eponymous teenagers pretty much sum up those golden years of angst-ridden futility.
The best character by far is a fellow teen who is lambasted for basing his identity on Joey Ramone. Once his humiliated and rage die down, he does what adolescents to best, doubts himself, questions his identity and necks a whole bottle of booze; "FUG IT!".
40: Deadly Duck – J.R. Williams, 1985, Comix World
(Blurred to avoid SPOILERS)
Combining all the goofy slapstick of Loony Tunes with the political perspective of Walt Disney, Deadly Duck punts, stabs and slices his way through a world he condemns as "BAD". More or less, this beaked Travis Bickle commits gruesome acts of violence to rival even modern comics gore-hound Johnny Ryan.
Forty entries down, 394 pages to go! More than just a collection of mini-comics, Newave! features interviews and insightful commentary from some of the creators as well as the lovingly-reproduced source material. Available pretty much everywhere now, the collection costs around $24.99 (US) and looks great no matter where you put it.