Review: SCREWJOB #1, edited by Paul Lyons
Contributors: Box Brown, Pat Aulisio, Lale Westvind, Josh Bayer, Blake Sims, Brian Ralph, Paul Lyons, Mickey Zacchilli, Walker Mettling, James “GUNSHO” Quigley, Matt Leines
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
There was always a ban on “indecent” television in my parent’s home growing up. My brother and I didn’t think much of the ban when we were little (to this day I still have not watched a full episode of Simpsons), but when we got older, we snuck a mini TV/VCR combo into our shared room and watched Star Trek: Voyager and WWF every night, shows also roped into the indecent TV ban. My enthusiasm waned as I got more involved in other hobbies, but there was an energy and a rawness to the sport that I really enjoyed.
That energy and rawness shows up in full force in SCREWJOB #1, a 64 page wrestling comics anthology from Hidden Fortress Press. Lyons has put together something of a dream team for this anthology, with contributions by Box Brown, Josh Bayer, and Mickey Zacchilli to call out a few.
The mix of comics here is really fascinating. At one end, Box Brown’s short biographic comic about Larry Shreve’s Abdullah the Butcher character and the controversy surrounding his cutting technique and the potential blood-borne illness it caused is reminiscent of his comics biography of Andre the Giant published by First Second early in 2014. It’s subdued and somewhat introspective. On the other, Walker Mettling delivers a tour-de-force of ridiculous energy, “The Brief History of Limbslicing in American Professional Wrestling, Part One,” a speculative fiction in which the world’s wrestling industry teams up with the US military to create a serum called Re-Livatrin which can meld animals and metal instruments onto human bodies, and resurrect the dead, all in the name of great wrestling entertainment.
Zacchilli and Sims deliver funny, even charming comics; the ending to Sim’s the betrayal of Hulk Hogan ends perfectly. The collection does get dark at times, with Westvind’s “The Return of Wild Wanda” and Lyon’s “Medico Asesino” being particularly bloody. More abstract works in the collection add another layer, as Aulisio and Ralph use familiar characters and objects in unique ways. Bayer delivers comics that feature the drama and showboating of wrestling, and serve to even out and transition from extreme to extreme.
There’s a passion in SCREWJOB that you sometimes don’t see in anthology books. When you get a group of talented cartoonists like this together, you are often going to have a good collection, but I think the passion these creators have for the subject matter is what makes this anthology such a success. Recommended.
Hidden Fortress Press is a publisher of mini comix and anthologies. Hidden Fortress is a special guest of the 2015 RIPExpo [tumblr: ripexpo], a curated comics show happening March 28th and 29th, 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island. You can buy copies of SCREWJOB #1 from Hidden Fortress Press’ Storenvy.
Creator tumblr accounts and websites at the links below:
Box Brown – boxbrowncomics, Pat Aulisio – yeahdudecomics , Lale Westvind – lalewestvind, Josh Bayer – joshbayer, Blake Sims – blakersimscomics, Mickey Zacchilli – spideretc, Walker Mettling, James “GUNSHO” Quigley, Matt Leines – mattleinesart.