Blackguard

The multi-faceted subject of crime gets the spotlight in the third issue of this Australian comic anthology featuring a hodgepodge of cartoonists from Australia and around the world. The stories run the gauntlet from hilarious to disturbing and are all connected by a shared “fuck you” kind of spirit. Murder (sometimes true life stories) is certainly a popular topic among the group, as shown in strips by Stratu (“Brother vs. Sister”), Gerald Asworth (“Murder!”), Jason Dean (“A Loathsome Limerick”) and Dexter Cockburn (“The Sad Case of Sweet Fanny Adams”). However, it’s less of the focus than one might expect, and is never done in a cheaply shocking way.
There are also satirical one-pagers by Glenno, Antoinette Rydr, Steve Carter and Anton Edmin, as well as personal reflections on youthful indiscretion by Adam Paison, Julie Doye and Shaun Craike. The collection is capped off by a pair of prose stories, one of which — “Real Crime” by Damian McDonald — is possibly the stand-out story of the whole book. Told from the point of view of a re-offending misanthrope, it peeks into one of the ugliest souls imaginable and also brings up some uncomfortable truths and questions that so-called “normal” people overlook. (Matthew Daley)

Comic Zine, #3, various contributors, sstratu@gmail.com, U.S.$5

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