I got to attend one of a series of readings in San Francisco for Glamazonia, the Uncanny Super-Tranny by writer-artist Justin Hall and an assortment of guest artists, this one at Mission Comics and Art. It was a fun crowd, all very friendly and nice to look at.
The book is 136 pages in gorgeous full-color printed on nice paper with a glossy cover. It is expensive, a bit gaudy, fun, campy, dense but maybe a little shallow… a lot like the heroine it features - Glamazonia - a self-absorbed, catty, ill-tempered, pill-popping tranny super-hero, and her trailer-trash twink sidekick, Rent Boy. Creator Justin Hall gleefully sends up every tired super-hero convention out there from a genre full of fabulous alter egos in colorful spandex with tragic backstories. The book works best when Hall’s dense script is given more room to play out in the longer stories. He throws in so many quick jokes, off-handed references to pop-culture, gay history, comics and superheroes, that it’s tough to catch them all. At the reading, the gay comic geeks and art-bear crowd were roaring over all the one-liners and visual gags.
In the longest story, J.F.Killer, Glamazonia is implicated in the assassination of JFK by a boyish reporter, and she recalls her affair with JFK, telling the true story behind the rumors. I like all of the stories Hall illustrates himself, a few of which have been issued as mini-comics.
cover by Justin Hall
In ‘The Contest of Champions’ the layouts by Diego Gomez jump off the page, and the rich coloring here makes you glad they spent extra on printing. Glamazonia looks GOOD. The story becomes more of a framing device for some of the other stories. But that works, as it is meant to recall those “epic” crossovers with all the heroes in some incredible crisis affecting the multiverse or something. In between gladiator-style super-hero fights, Glamazonia tells her back-story to anyone who will listen, re-tooling it each time.
'Rent Boy: Year One' is particularly good, too. The loose line work of artist Jon Macy and subdued colors contrast with the busier look of some of the other stories and the storytelling evokes the book it parodies well. Plus, it's quite funny.
There are a lot of stand-outs, like the one-page strip illustrated by Ed Luce, with his character Wuvable Oaf getting body hair grooming lessons from Glamazonia. Fred Noland’s strip about Rent Boy’s origin is really great, too. It held up the best at the live reading - they acted out all of the voices. Noland’s art is fluid and his eye for detail is hilarious. I look forward to reading more of his work.
Overall, the book is a great read! It even holds up to re-reading, as you’ll likely catch more of the jokes. It’s fun and colorful, and will appeal to fans of gay art as well as comic fans. This bitch is gonna sell out - go buy 5 copies and double mylar bag them for posterity.
By Justin Hall with Diego Gomez, Jon Macy and Fred Noland with strips illustrated by: Theo Bain, Craig Bostick, Paige Braddock, Jennifer Camper, Chino, Zan Christensen, Dave Davenport, Shaenon K. Garrity, Sina Grace, Anthony Gonzalez, Gina Kamentsky, Robert Kirby, Ed Luce, Steve MacIsaac, Chuck McKinney, Mari Naomi, Sarah Oleksyk, Eric Orner, Lark Pien, Christine Smith, & Jason Thompson.
Ask for books by LGBTQ comics publisher Northwest Press at your local comics and book stores! Or buy them online at: http://northwestpress.com/
Next review: ‘Teleny & Camille’ by Jon Macy