Back in the day, I used to have to walk uphill both ways barefoot in the snow even in the summer to pick up my favorite fanzines out of my mailbox. There was work in the zines by some great cartoonists, folks that you probably have never heard of but who were some of the most creative people who ever created comics. One of the most creative cartoonists of them all was a guy named Earl Geier. Earl drew some of the most intensely creative and intelligent comics of the era, mostly crime and science fiction stories that he collected in his late, lamented Bald Ego zine. Unfortunately, Earl never was able to catch on with any of the major comics companies. He often calls himself a “company killer” for all the commissioned stories he did for companies that went out of business soon after they accepted his stories.
So when I saw a note in a newsgroup I frequent about new Geier work in a new anthology comic called Glass Eye, I had to pick up this new comic. Earl has just a short five-page piece in the issue, but it’s a clever tale with a neat twist. It made me chuckle out loud and, of course, made me wish I could read work by Geier more consistently. I especially enjoyed the subtle way that Geier conveyed the irony of his story. I hope I can find more work by him in the future.
Bernie Mierault is another talented creator who hasn’t been seen much lately. Mierault, who is best known for his work on the terrific ’80s series The Jam, hasn’t had a new comic out in quite some time. Mierault was well-known for his clean line work and charming characters. Unfortunately, his eight-page “Isaac Vs. Eli” strip looks like it was originally done in color, and much of the charm of the story seems to have been lost in black and white.
There are also several other nice pieces in this comic. Larry Blake’s “Time” starts weakly, but grows into a moving and interesting piece about aging. Jim Siergey contributes an interesting historical anecdote. And Alan Barnard’s back cover is gloriously beautiful, an intensely detailed dinsoaur tableau.
The big weakness of this comic lies in two pieces in the issue. Both are reminiscences about life as extras in various grade “Z” zombie movies. These pieces would be nice as blog entries or in a completely different self-published book. But after coming after the comic strips, these pieces just completely fall flat.
Part of the fun of self-published comics is that you never know what you’re going to get in them. Self-published comics are places for unfettered creativity, places where creators can explore their imaginations without editorial control. The problem is that often these comics can be mixed bags. Glass Eye is a nice comic, but I wish it could have been better.