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Comics Revue Feb 2018
posted March 1, 2018

imageCreators: Russ Manning, Stan Lynde, Harry Harrison, Dick Moores, V.T. Hamlin, Milton Caniff, Warren Tufts, George Herriman and a cast of thousands.
Publishing Information: Manuscript Press, softcover, 128 pages, February 2018, $20
Ordering Numbers: DEC172093 (Previews), PO Box 336, Mountain Home TN 37684.

I still greatly enjoy reading copies of Comics Revue when they show up in my mailbox. The magazine-sized anthology of once-popular strip work comes out is a half-and-half proposition for me now. I read some of what they publish very close and some of it not at all. It's a different way of reading than when you read everything but the differences are in how much you enjoy each feature. It's how I used to read the newspaper from which these features are pulled, the darker half of the page representing action-adventure and soap opera strip of which 12 year old me wanted no part.

It's hard to go wrong with Krazy Kat dailies, even roughly mis-printed. I like looking at Alley Oop more than I enjoy reading it; ditto Russ Manning's Tarzan and Caniff's Steve Canyon. Buz Sawyer is a gas if you can stomach the politics lurking just under the surface. The Caniff is a football sequence I remember liking when I saw it once upon a time and the Sawyer is from that period where he thinks his wife is dead. The king of all the features in recent Comics Revue is Wilson McCoy's run on The Phantom, which is drawn and paced like a modern satirical cartoon. One with which I'm totally unfamiliar, Sir Bagby, also makes my list -- it's hard to imagine inventing a more early '60s comic. I pause at the Overgard and Tufts.

Sounds great, right? Well, it is, after a fashion. I do wonder how many old people -- and older on the inside! -- customers there are out there, enjoying half a magazine. A Peter O'Donnell pivot from Modesty Blaise to Garth might bum me out, but I can't imagine there are more than 300 people out there still holding on to that degree of aesthetic refinement when it comes to work like that. Other than the McCoy, I'm not sure I'd recommend anything in here as a discovery, which saddens me a bit.

I have this game where I think about things I will never do again in my life: wear a singlet, water ski, watch episodes of Becker. I feel that way about most of the work here. It's waking up in my old bed, a party at my parents house downstairs, and sneaking halfway down the stairwell to eavesdrop on the 20th Century one more time.