Sunday, 11 August 2013

Review: Eyeball Comix #3

The third 60 page issue of Eyeball Comix is by far the best in terms of quality strips throughout.

First off is that striking cover by Kyle Platts which shows some surreal cyclops take on a battle between western colonialists and indigenous tribal peoples. There's also the great eye-popping full colour psychedelic inside and back covers by Gunsho (who did the amazing front cover for issue #2)
Betty Black starts things off with a great Eyeball Queen pin-up, who as can be seen in the pic, has been given a lovely bouquet of meat and offal.

Russell Taysom has a funny rhyming filler strip in 'Sexy Vamp' which is reminiscent of Johnny Ryan in it's tone.

Viktor Dunkel provides a genuinely disturbing horror comic, where a kind of psychotic visual revenge fantasy is acted out upon the late Dr Frederic Wertham (the McCarthy era comic witch hunter and man who was behind the shutting down and censorring of many comic companies in the 1950s along with public bonfires of kids comics and the introduction of the comics code).
In this strip entitled 'Pain & Knowledge' he is tortured by a demonic looking Skull faced 'gentleman' who performs a dark ritual within his 'Chamber of Mindfuckin'.

In the end, revenge is not meted out through murder, rather a much more sinister outcome takes place, which I'm sure the prudish moral crusader would have been horrified by.

Shades of Mike Diana, Clive Barker's Hellraiser, and touches of other Underground influences such as Rory Hayes and S.Clay Wilson in this strip I'd say.

Aidan Cook provides an entertaining Rock & Roll tale from the crypt, in his comic about a bullied school nerd who is beaten up by the jocks, who performs a satanic rite and invokes Joey Ramone to avenge him! A fun strip with lots of references to Ramones songs.

Barry Cook returns (accompanied by 'Lizard') with his Dr Sarcophagus character, whom I wasn't really keen on in previous issues. This story is better told however, involving a victim of one of the nazi doctor's minions - a sinewy flesh eating beast which absorbs and stores it's victims to return to it's master.

Robscenity's 'Sextermination In Paradise' is a darkly comedic S&M social satire involving a well-off pair of  new-age Trustafarians who are enjoying their stoned country picnic until it's hijacked by a couple of psychotic sadists who easily subdue and kidnap them.

From here the unsuspecting pair are subjected to painful

humiliation (complete with absurdist and pitch black gags - I mean jokes, not the things that go in your gob - although there's those as well) before being reconditioned and set out into the world again on a mission.

The strip seemed to me, beyond the fetish-fantasy pervery, like a send up of two British cultural stereotypes on opposite sides of the spectrum; On one - spoilt and workshy drug-taking middle class hippy loafers, and on the other; the vindictive and fascistic mentalities of hardcore tories and Daily Mail readers who want to 'get tough' on the layabouts they perceive all around them, and force them into adopting their ideology and values. Rob's art is as beautiful as always, and his penchant for fem-dom hasn't changed, although this time, a male character gets to be dominant also.
 The final main story is by Paul Arscott (formerly Paul Arserott) and is entitled 'DMT: Gateway To Oblivion'. This was a very effective tale, following the life of 'Herman Eddie'; a young drop-out who's been abusing various substances after leaving school.
Obsessed with altered states, narcotic highs, and psychoactive experiences, coupled with a reclusive fascination for death metal, porn, the occult,and the morbid, young Eddie is already living an isolated and precarious existence before he tries his first hit of DMT.  He experiences an intense, melting away of the reality around him, and encounters strange creatures who are trying to tell him something.
Impressed by his hit, he buys a greater quantity of the substance and goes home, where he prepares a huge cocktail of LSD, PCP laced joints, then smokes heroin in a hope of deadening his body, before taking the DMT which he hopes will take him away from reality to the 'other place'.
Sure enough, Eddie trips like crazy and astrally projects from his body flying over trees and oceans before being sucked into a volcano.
From here, Eddie's trip becomes a nightmare as his soul has been drawn into hell itself, trapped and unable to return to it's body, it is instead subjected to the many tortures of the underworld.

There is a twist of course and all is not as it seems.

This strip worked really well for me. It's narrated in a style similar to anti-drugs propaganda films, episodes of the twilight zone or old EC comics, which seem fitting in all respects. It's an OTT cautionary tale about abusing drugs, and the dark places the mind can go, and Arscott does a great job of putting all this into the constraints of a horror story and still making it gritty and disturbing but also darkly funny at moments. It's possibly my favourite of his stories so far.
There's a couple of other good one page fillers in here by the above contributors and over all this is the strongest issue of Eyeball Comix to date (and I was a fan of the other issues). Get one while you still can!

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