How about a review?

Post Jeff Irony #2 -- he's not here this week, my first solo 8 hour day in a while, and none (not one) of the usual Friday night regulars came by to hang out. Guess I know who the Popular Kid is now (*sniff*) However, Skip Tuttle DID come by -- I haven't seen him in 6 months at least -- but, of course, he came by to say goodbye to Jeff *double sniff*

DRAWING FROM LIFE #1: Jim Valentino's had a pretty interesting career, really -- doing pretty much the definitive superhero parody with normalman, being the One-Of-These-Things-Is-Not-Like-The-Other member of the original Image 7, and so on, but I've always been way more partial to his autobio stuff, really. He was doing it earlier than most guys, and he neither seemed to flinch OR pander.

The problem is that's he's not much of an artist. Don't get me wrong -- he's a pretty reasonable CARTOONIST, but there's more than a few pieces here that I would have liked to see a more ... dunno, "assured", maybe? line on.

Everything in this first issue reads really well, but that Valentino's art hasn't really grown at all in the last 20 years works against it on the flip test (We've not sold a single copy as of yet, though I ordered 10 because I personally like his auto-bio writing) -- he's got some better tricks with use of negative space and what not, but his underlying rendering sadly works against the content in most cases.

The weirdest thing for me is that this is billed as all new material, but it looks really old -- not just because of Valentino's basic craft, but also because it's not really "cleaned up" -- you can see the lines in many word balloons, for example, that I assume are badly erased hand lettering marks. In the 21st century, that doesn't look quaint -- it looks sloppy.

Despite that, I still largely recommend the issue -- I think its stronger stuff than, say, TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD, and there's a nice denseness in the sheer number of stories on display here. I really would like this to sell, because I'd much much MUCH rather be reading this than 80% of the we've-grown-past-superheroes-but-the-market-demands-them output of the Shadowline.

Still, I say: Solid GOOD, and if you like auto-bio, and, especially, comics industry-related auto-bio, this should be in your reading stack.

What did YOU think?