ARSENIC
LULLABY

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ARSENIC LULLABY - 2003
Writer/Artist: Douglas Paszkiewicz
A. Silent Comics
$2.95 each

Hands down, the strangest comic book I have read in ages is ARSENIC LULLABY (I think I read #13, though it could be #12…in true indie fashion, there's no issue number to be found anywhere in the book). ARSENIC LULLABY comes from the demented mind and drawing board of Douglas Paszkiewicz. Each issue contains a group of short stories and one- to two-page gags, and the best way I can think of to describe them is Don Martin on really harsh angel dust cut with rat poison. Not in that the art is like Martin's, because it's not, but more in the sense that the gags gross you out as much as make you chuckle. Well, they made ME laugh. There's a good chance they might just offend some people; subject matter in this issue alone includes abortion, the Holocaust, and the KKK … all played for laughs. If that bothers you, stay away. Stay far away. But if you have a slightly twisted sense of humor, check it out.

I wish I could comment more on the stories, but that's hard to do without giving away the jokes. The art is good, didn't blow me away, but it does the job, and like most top humor cartoonists, Douglas (sorry, that last name takes too long to type) is skilled at conveying tone, mood and emotion in just a few lines. His writing is bizarre, sick, and amazingly creative. The story “Old Man Hutchenson,” about an elderly cyborg who reveals decades of military secrets to two neighborhood kids, has enough wild ideas in it to fill a Warren Ellis miniseries … and they all have darkly comic, groan-inducing outcomes. The funny thing is, a lot of the concepts could be used as the premise for straight horror. For instance, the government splices the genes of a black widow spider into a human woman, who ends up with the arachnid's desire to mate and kill. For some folks, that's a killer B-movie concept, preferably starring Natasha Henstridge. In Doug's hands, it's just the setup for a horrifying – and funny – punch line. Seriously, somebody should psychoanalyze this guy.

ARSENIC LULLABY is what independent comics should be: an extremely distinctive voice, creating without editorial interference, producing work that would never see print from a mainstream publisher.

Again, sorry this review is so short, but ARSENIC LULLABY is not the kind of thing you can really describe to somebody: you have to experience it for yourself. If you'd like to, check out Arsenic Lullabies.

ARSENIC LULLABY gets Four Rabid Fanboys for sheer, unbridled insanity.

FanboyFanboyFanboyFanboy
This review copyright 2003 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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