Review: Three #3

Artist(s): Carrie McNinch, Diane DiMassa, Ed Luce, Ellen Forney, Howard Cruse, Ivan Velez, Jennifer Camper, Joan Hilty, Matt Runkle, Robert Kirby.

Like clockwork, Robert Kirby is back a year later with another issue of Three, the anthology he’s editing and publishing. This third issue is more all over the place than the previous ones, which shows that Kirby is trying new things with each issue.

From Luce's story

After a one-pager with nine artists drawing nine unconnected panels as an appetizer, we plunge head first into the first story, eight wordless pages by Ed Luce (of Wuvable Oaf fame) entitled Love Lust Lost. Three different bearded guys in three different situations share those pages (yes, there are even more Threes in this issue than in the first two), with Luce’s poetic imagery bordering here on the absurd: a man surrounded by cats, another one in a alley, surrounded by men in animal masks who are fortunately more interested in his body than in his wallet, and the third one, riding a cool motorcycle (Luce knows his Akira) at high speed toward an unknown destination—oh, and his helmet has rabbit ears. It’s a surprisingly powerful tale, surprising because all that imagery could  make the reader stay on the surface, but it all gels well, each story striking an emotional note that blends with the other two, as with a good perfume.

Panels by Kirby, Cruse and DiMassa

Matt Runkle (Runx) and Janelle Hessig contribute two pages dedicated to Dolly Parton, and Matt’s improved a lot since I last saw his art. I already liked what he did before, but here, the art is more consistant, with Runkle and Hessig portraying Parton as a kind of Country goddess. Another one-page illustration by an artist I didn’t know, Mari Naomi, precedes the second feature, a jam titled Oh No!. Ellen Forney, Howard Cruse, Ivan Velez, Jennifer Camper, Robert Kirby, Joan Hilty and Diane DiMassa draw three panels in turns, for a story subtitled “A cartoon jam where something bad happens every three panels”, so you don’t need more description. It’s fun seeing artists of that caliber being silly, and I’m glad Kirby resurrected this jam from an aborted sequel to Jennifer Camper’s Juicy Mother anthologies.

The longest contribution is Carrie McNinch‘s autobiographical Fly Like An Eagle, 14 pages retelling her (school) Year Of Being 14, back in 1978-1979. McNinch uses a very down-to-earth storytelling, never judging her younger self, showing vignettes of her drug-filled days, which lead to a year in a private Christian school. But of course, the kind of teenagers who would be sent to that kind of school includes more people like her, leading to even more drugs. The factual tone of the story prevents it from becoming a Public Health message, McNinch never giving in to sentimentality. And it’s not all smoking-weed-behind-the-church, as young Carrie also has to deal with the realisation that liking boys is not in her nature. It’s a good piece of memoir.

As you can see, the third issue of Three is a real smorgasbord of styles, both in styles and in themes. It feels longer than it is (32 pages) and makes for dense reading. You can buy this comic at Robert Kirby’s site, or from Last Gasp.

1 comment to Three #3

  • willem vogelzang

    I lost contact for a while but am oh-so glad to have you back again.
    Thank you very much I enjoy this site tremendisly. Love to all. Bill.