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4. Milk & Cheese #5 by Evan Dorkin, Slave Labor Graphics April 1994
One's a cartoon of hate, and the other is a wedge of spite. They are Milk & Cheese, Dairy Products Gone Bad. The cover of this issue has the two wielding a bloody bat and a broken bottle remarking, "Welcome to our world ..." This book is the whole reason I make stupid little comic adventures of my own. M&C were so inspiring to me to create absurd little one- to two-page misadventures for the masses.
These two little troublemakers are very smart. They hate a lot of things and they run around declaring it to the world. The pair spouts off crazy little-known facts and they drink an awful lot. In this particular issue, they ridicule and humiliate the French, set a guy's head on fire, throw their television set out the window when Full House is on, and that's only 3 percent of the excitement contained in this book.
Evan Dorkin spares no space for his excellent humor. Anywhere he can, he adds his own quips and gags for Milk & Cheese to abide by. Out of the seven issues of M&C, this one is the best looking and best written.
Evan had a cartoon one-shot on Cartoon Network entitled Welcome to Eltingville that was based on characters from his book Dork and featured music by The Aquabats. He and his wife were also frequent writers on the television show Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, and they continue to contribute material to Mad Magazine as well as the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba!.
5. Acme Novelty Library #10 by Chris Ware, Fantagraphics Books spring 1998
All the issues of this book are astonishing, but another favorite of mine is #10. The actual comic is hidden in an intricate book of fake ads and messages. For example, you can purchase a "Genuine Smile," a "Genuine Roman Crucifix," or even "Increased Productivity." The main story of this issue continues with the Jimmy Corrigan storyline started back in issue #1. Jimmy gets stranded on a deserted island and resorts to talking to himself and making new friends out of a safety pin and a match. He ends up getting saved, where he returns home and it is depicted that his life there is as lonely as it was on the island.
The crazy ads for fake products are my favorite thing in the book. The words are very tiny and Ware packs so much material into describing each item for sale. It's very amazing that everything held within issues of Acme Novelty Library are all done by one person.
6. Johnny the Homicidal Maniac #5 by Jhonen Vasquez, Slave Labor Graphics August 1996
Fans of this book may be shocked that I picked this book out of all the others seeing as how Johnny isn't even really in it. You just see him a few times, all bloody and ready to die. I chose issue #5 because it was the first issue of JTHM that I ever read. I had seen a little bit about Johnny in some of the comic magazines, and one day my boss at the comic shop got some copies in for people who ordered them. And, amazingly enough, one of the copies wasn't picked up and I got my first taste of creator Jhonen Vasquez' mayhem.
A couple of Johnny's victims that he has kidnapped are still alive and trying to escape his maze of a house. A group of beings with tentacles are chasing them and attacking everything in their path. This is the strangest Johnny book because so much stuff is just thrown in to take up space. I love it, though, because it also introduced me to Happy Noodle Boy. HNB is the creation of the Johnny in the comics and it's totally insane. He is a stick person that constantly yells at people and says very strange things all the time.
You might know Jhonen a little more from his Nickelodeon cartoon, Invader Zim. It's the story about an alien who arrives on Earth in hopes of conquering it. Joined by his adorable robot, GIR, Zim keeps getting his plans foiled by an Earth kid named Dib.
7. Steven #1 (magazine-sized) by Doug Allen, Kitchen Sink Press 1989
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