- Posted by Johanna on January 5, 2011 at 8:45 am
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
- CREDITS: by Tatsuya Ishida
- PUBLISHER: Dark Horse; $14.99 US
After several delays last year, Dark Horse resumes publishing Sinfest volumes with Viva la Resistance. This second book jumps ahead from the end of the first Dark Horse book to a point where it can promote its content as “previously uncollected strips”. These 618 comics were originally run February 23, 2003, to November 21, 2004.
(In the early 2000s, author Tatsuya Ishida self-published three books, each containing about a year of strips, before moving to Dark Horse. The first DH book reprinted all of the first and a bit more than half of the second, up until the strip from August 8, 2001. That second book, Life Is My Bitch, which contains January 17, 2001, through January 13, 2002, is out of print and going for big bucks. The third book, Dance of the Gods, reprints January 14 though December 29, 2002. Interestingly, the first use I found of the phrase “Viva la Resistance” was on September 1, 2001, which means it’s not contained in the book of the same name.)
I was pleasantly surprised to see a foreword provided by another favorite webcartoonist, Erika Moen. She praises Ishida’s art, an astounding part of the Sinfest experience, as being “head and shoulders artistically” above most other webcomics, as well as his business sense and interaction with his readers.
This volume begins with a bit of L’il Evil, the devil’s fanboy, before moving onto the aftermath of Slick’s drunken protestations of love for Monique, followed by the usual pop culture mentions and satire. Ishida’s also taking on politics this time around, covering the second Gulf War beginning in 2003 and later in the volume, having Slick run for President. Throughout, much of the cast is looking for connections, struggling with questions of faith, and seeking purpose, a reason to exist and enjoy. Slick’s a horny young man, seeing women only in terms of satisfying his needs, while Monique tries to tell him there’s more to a relationship while still trading on her good looks.
Meanwhile, the pets Pooch and Percy are facing off with their toys: the cat thinks his Yarny is better than the dog’s Bally. That sequence is so simple in premise, so true to their personalities (and many of the readers, as part of humanity), and so well-cartooned in their active competition that it feels animated with movement.
I’m astounded to see such a well-drawn, entertaining strip tackle philosophical questions of free will and identity without losing any of its appeal. It’s understandable that the humans would struggle with such concerns, but once Satan gets involved — to the point of quitting, replaced by an Eastern philosophy dragon — the comic reaches a whole new level. It’s great that the internet allows for a daily distraction that’s able to address substantial subjects. Plus, all of the comics reprinted here are new to me, since I began following the strip online after 2004, so it’s a very welcome enjoyment. (The publisher provided a review copy.)