A little over a month ago, I heard about the comics of Brian Walsby. To be honest, I wish I had heard about this guy sooner because I now have a lot of catching up to do with his work. Bifocal Media recently put out Manchild 2: The Second Coming, a collection of Walsby's comics from the last few years. Yes, he crams a lot of dialogue and exposition into every page. That can be rather daunting at times, but it's not like he's trying to fill up the page with filler. He just has plenty to say.
If you're a fan of punk rock and know a few things about its most well-known bands and labels, you're in for a treat with Manchild 2. As someone who's read a lot of stories about '80s punk rock, I get the sense that Walsby has too. Certain pages discuss and reminisce about SST Records, Black Flag and the Descendents in humorous ways. But that's not all that Walsby covers. Telling stories of old roommates and friends, there is genuine heart behind his work. Even if you don't get what's so funny about Greg Ginn reforming Black Flag for a cat charity, you probably know people like the friends talking about life in his "Nebraska" piece.
Out of all the stuff I've seen, I would say that his satire is probably his best work. As someone who likes the music and discussing it with people, I've found various aspects really ripe for satire. So, I find a lot of Walsby's stuff as being pretty dead-on hilarious. "Singer-Songwriter Straight Edge Hardcore!" features the typical X-on-hands guys intensely singing along with Randy Newman and Nick Drake instead of Gorilla Biscuits and Earth Crisis. "The Startling Adventures of Normal Looking Guy!" features a calm, nice guy who still prefers Joy Division over Interpol. He also tries to convince some mall punks that the Bad Brains are amazing, much to their puzzlement as blink-182 fans. Walsby even addresses those he's offended over the years in ". . . Past Comes Back to Haunt Me" (see it here).
I could be at the tip of the iceberg here with Walsby's work and the work of other artists and writers that are similar. I'll admit it: I'm not as active as I am with finding comics as I am with finding music. Hitting up a comic book store, I'm prone to see never-ending superhero stories, gritty noir tales and other tales of tripped-out fantasy more than anything else. Not that these kinds of stories are bad -- I'm just looking for something that speaks closer to me (like the works of Alex Robinson and Andi Watson). As much as I would love to dig for stuff, I'm just not a huge fan of being around the kind of comic book geekdom that trolls around comic book stores. The Internet may be a great place to hear about stuff, but still, if you want to experience the whole dig, you gotta get out there.