- Posted by Johanna on February 20, 2006 at 4:29 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Batton Lash
- PUBLISHER: Exhibit A Press; $15.95 US
After The Vampire Brat, Mr. Negativity comes next in the series.
It opens with a story where a gambler loses a cursed sarcophagus in a poker game to a casino owner who plans to open it on TV. Flashbacks to a theft in ancient Egypt fill in the back story. Next, Mavis splits into three people in order to handle all the aspects of her life that are overwhelming her. With one working hard, one trying to catch a man, and one out partying, this is a literal treatment of the way some women feel torn between the way they were raised and their current needs.
In another case, Huberis, a demon who speaks of himself in the third person, wants to attend church. Since he’s a demon, they don’t want him, so he’s suing to be let in. He happens to resemble Cerebus, the creation of noted misogynist Dave Sim, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he refuses to work with Alanna because she’s not male. The format of this story even resembles that comic, using sections of illustrated text instead of traditional comic panels.
Other stories feature Susann, the Muse of Potboilers, suing her writer after she writes a book for him and he dumps her; Mr. Negativity, a guy whose bad attitude turns him into a reverse image with a literal air of repulsion; and Stephen King, er, Gink, a writer in a coma after being hit by a car. When he’s put on trial by his characters, Wolff and Byrd have to defend him in their dreams.
The best story in the book deals with a little boy’s family suing the monster under his bed. All of the characters’ word balloons have been replaced with small cartoons. Clocks illustrate a warning to return in half a hour, for example. The last punchline is perfectly appropriate for the story and one of Lash’s overall best. It’s a clever use of his characters and humor to bring the reader something unusual.
Beyond what’s been collected so far, the series runs to issue #41, a First Amendment issue, produced in conjunction with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. When a warlock is banned from participating in a “family-friendly” community art program, Wolff & Byrd take his case. Then a spell causes paintings to start speaking, making the fight for free speech literal. To celebrate the strip’s 10th anniversary, there’s also a Supernatural Law 101 flashback special.