Dirty Beast #1
I imagine writing a subversive comic is tricky. Ideally, you’re going for that whip-smart commentator on society thing. But sometimes, whether original material dries up or the audience just becomes more comfortable with their pushed boundaries, writers will resort to shticky shock. That is, making people uncomfortable for the hell of it.
Chris Getliffe’s latest treads this line pretty carefully-with a just a few missteps in an otherwise thoughtful and genuinely funny zine. His short comics, ranging from one to two pages long, are sinister (think children locked in basements and a top hat-wearing ghoul named “Dirty Bob”) and solicit a “ha ha…awww” kind of response (see the joke where a bear walks into a bar).
Fans of Getliffe’s Little Bunny series will enjoy the same minimal, street-art inspired illustrations and the same well-timed, comedic “kickers.” Though, here he’s most effective in the single-page, one-image comics, like the tale of poor Mary the “Shark girl” and Carl, the young man who wouldn’t give birds the satisfaction of seeing him cry. It’s Getliffe’s irreverence in these uncomfortable, desperate situations that make Dirty Beast a fun read. At times it’s flat-out depressing, like the mom-to-be who’s snorting coke with a tequila chaser because she wants her son to grow up to be “an individual.” But that’s the risk when you’re being “subversive.” (Sara Forsyth)
Comic Zine, Chris Getliffe, 76 Wickham Road, Flat 1, Brockley, London, SE41LS, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org