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An Unenchanted Debut Issue

But the self-published gotta start somewhere

(This  Stripped column originally appeared in the June 19-25, 1997 Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)

by Beth Hannan Rimmels

'NUFF SAID:

"Rock the Casbah."

— Scud in Scud, The Disposable Assassin #15

I wish I could rave about Enchanters. Instead, it gets a huge "E" for effort and a wait and see for more stories by writer/artist/creator, L. Steven Gellman. Remember my comment about Lost Stories a few weeks ago when I said it was like a perfect chocolate cake? Well, to continue the analogy, Enchanters needed more mixing and the oven wasn’t hot enough and the icing is a bit too sweet. The ingredients to a good story are there or I would have gone right past it on my order form (and I ordered it long before I realized it would arrive in time for Gay Pride month).

Enchanters reads like Gellman threw everything he felt strongly about — science fiction, music, being an outsider, the occult, wanting to save the world, being gay, etc. — in a blender. Having read his author’s note, it seems like I'm right. It's not a bad mix, but Gellman needs more polish as a writer. Having Jamie coincidentally getting a "keep a journal for your eyes only" assignment their first day in school was a bit much to swallow, let alone the fact that he'd think it was safe to tell the truth even though he and his friends are supposed to be undercover. Hasn't Jamie (or Gellman) ever seen kids grab another kid's notebook? In Gellman's defense, I also thought the background flashback in the first issue of Preacher was rather weak. The difference is Garth Ennis is an otherwise excellent writer, so he gets some slack. New writers have to prove themselves.

Anyway, Enchanters is a group of five people — Jinx, Seraph, Lynx, Charisma and Sea Dancer — who lived on the street until a group called the Inner Circle made them an offer. The five were magically altered to fight evil in exchange for a place and purpose in life. Gellman’s trying really hard to say something positive and some of the scenes work, but the big hair and square head art work has got to go. Then again, everyone has to start somewhere and getting even one issue of a self-published comic out today is a near miracle. With a little time and a lot of practice, you never know.

I also checked out Scud, The Disposable Assassin (#15) this week, mainly because I finally found a copy of it and I’ve been getting a kick out of the bizarre ads for it. Bizarre is an understatement. Considering the title, it’s no surprise that it’s a violent romp. I had very little clue as to what was going on, but there was a certain demented fun to it.

The coolest thing about Scud is that it comes with a soundtrack. Not as in a CD or anything, but it’s the first comic book I’ve seen that came with a list of suggested voices for the characters (Scud, by the way, is supposed to sound like John Malkovich). Drywall’s suggested voice is Woodstock’s, as in Peanuts. Yup, his (her? its?) dialogue is just a series of vertical lines. There’s also a suggested soundtrack for various scenes. Writers Rob Schrab and Dan Harmon even list two versions of songs that don’t exist but they wish did — "Mr. Roboto" by Ween and "One Tin Soldier Walks Away (The Ballad of Billy Jack)" by Beck. Not my cup of herbal beverage (I had to give up caffeine, OK?), but it is different. For a taste of Scud, check out its Web site.

Column 1997 Long Island Voice. Scud, The Disposable Assassin artwork 1997 Rob Schrab