Reasonably Priced Comics comes back for a fourth go around. And this time it features some different stories that immediately called to mind some of the more classic anthologies of the Silver Age.
Reasonably Priced Comics #4
Is This… HELL?
Reasonably Priced Comics #4 kicks off with a cautionary tale from writer Brandon Barrows and artist Joel Cotejar. Captain Julius Hemmingway is a bit of a man’s man. He’s a hard flyin’, hard drinkin’, hot shot who’s looking forward to the next month’s worth of rest and relaxation from his job as a space trucker. After a night’s worth of celebrating (in a way only a Hemmingway can… if you catch my drift), Julius is sent on one extra run that he plans to zip right out to finish up and zip back to his vacation. However, his blood-alcohol level has other plans.
Right off the bat let me just say Cotejar’s art is actually quite good. Much like the art of Voyaga, a Reasonably Priced Comics alum, this story looks like it comes straight out of the Silver Age. The very first time I see Hemmingway, I’m thinking he got a gig with the Blackhawks. Then as he hops into his ship to make his run, it’s like seeing a race car driver out of the 60s getting ready to hot rod his way around the track. It’s a comforting story on a visual level.
The visuals actually assist in Barrows’ story. While the ending is a bit predictable, it read to me like something you’d see out of an old school PSA. It’s very upfront that Hemmingway is drunk and he’s going to crash. When he’s laid up in the hospital listening to the doc rip on him for his predicament, I half expected to see the doctor smoking a cigarette. Even the last words spoken by the nurse as Hemmingway laments his situation felt ripped straight out of a PSA or one of those really in your face religious comics. I found it very tongue-in-cheek and made me chuckle a bit, but in a good way.
Kidthulhu and the Sandwich Horror
Martin Brandt’s lovable little monster with his five-eyed dog returns with an appetite for a dark magician’s “ultimate sandwich!”
What I like about Brandt’s Kidthulhu is that he’s a very simple concept. Some of the best all-ages characters aren’t bogged down with overwrought ideas. If the character turns out to be cute, it’s a plus. He’s not like some Pokemon character that grows up to be some other type of monster. He’s not like other cartoon series that has a bunch of backstory. He’s just a little monster who gets into all sorts of trouble.
This time around he plays the foil to a magician who’s greatest creation is tastiest sandwich ever known. How could Kidthulhu not want a taste, or several tastes? It might not be a mind-blowing concept, but you know what? It’s a fun little guy and you almost have to like him the moment you lay eyes on him. Again, it’s sometimes the simplest concepts that turns out to be the most endearing.
Barrows returns for a second story that really plays to his strengths to draw on the classic, Twilight Zone-esque, twist. ”Motherhood” details the love of a woman for her baby. She knows motherhood itself is hard, but, at the same time, loves her experiences as a mother. This love is nearly a fatal attraction, but it’s clear that she simply endeavors to give her baby the best life possible. However, she begins to lose her mind when she suddenly realizes her baby has not woken up from his nap leading her into a frenzy.
This little ditty turns you around on a dime. Just when you believe you’ve been lulled into thinking this was exactly what you think it is, a love story about a mother and her baby, it gets a little crazy. The mother flies into an emotional outburst, but she almost comes off as too passive in the middle of this potentially life-threatening situation. Though the end is a little predictable, it, like Barrow’s “Is This… Hell?”, brought a chuckle to me in the last few lines when the heroes who come to revive her baby makes a comment on the mother’s state of mind. It’s a little twisted, but really has that silly twist that immediately reminds me of Tales from the Darkside. It’s not exactly scary, nor is it exactly goofy, but it has that nice tiny twist that entertains.
Silvina Rinaldi’s artwork in this story is quite beautiful. This anime-influenced style isn’t always my taste, but this story’s use of the gray tones and excellent lines is just really nice to look at. It’s the most different from the other stories in this book, but it’s not just the differences that causes it to stand out, but the overall look is just spectacular.
If “Motherhood” provided a lighthearted twist, “Bad Boy” takes a knife and twists it in your guts…
Meet John and Gwen, a British suburban couple that appears to be the picture-perfect married couple. They are preparing for a dinner party with three friends. Charles and Samantha arrive and talk about how perfect John and Gwen seem to be together. When Eddie, a mysterious third friend, arrives with a little present for the group turning the entire night on its head. When John wants to stay out of the night’s festivities, his “bad boy” comes out and makes himself known to his “friends”.
This story, by writer Alex De-Gruchy and artist Lucas Heneks, was definitely the biggest surprise out of the four twist-filled stories. You keep thinking that Eddie’s arrival will bring something bad to the group. You didn’t quite expect the group to have the problem they had. You certainly don’t expect their histories to be what they are. In the end, the story turns gruesome and rather shocking.
Of all four, I’d have to say this story really steals the show. De-Gruchy exercises a nice pace and evenly builds to the turn that the story takes. Heneks’ art reminds me of storyboards for a movie. The “shots” builds suspense and establishes setting and scenes very well. The story almost has an audible beat to it as characters start to shift and become something completely unexpected. This is a very cool, and twisted, story that really hit the bull’s eye.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Art on all four stories was quite good. Each story is also written very differently, but each have a nice little twist at the end. Some twists are small or almost expected while Bad Boy has a fairly large one. Overall, it’s a solid collection.||This book takes a slightly different turn than the previous three, but while the stories are one offs and therefore not quite as exciting, you still can’t beat the number of pages for the price.|