It’s the return of King Bone Press’ Bandthology! Does it have the legs to stand on? Has this idea of music inspired stories run its course? Hell no it hasn’t. The first thing I want to say is I have mad respect for the creators of these stories. It has to be difficult for some of them to create new one-shot stories without repeating themselves and each other. Each issue in this anthology has managed to standalone and this issue is no different. Rather than do my usual rant about how music and comics are like peanut butter and chocolate I’m going to jump right into the stories that stood out to me.
The book starts with a great story called “Hat Guy.” I laughed a lot at this because it’s true. The best stories are like that and Matt Collander brings that to life with this story. Basically a band draws straws to see who has to buy a hat and become the hat guy in the band. Seriously it’s too funny.
The always delightful Jon Westhoff returns with Ray Wegner for an amusing story set in space called “Carry On…” It’s a fun little romp that’s sure to leave a smile on your face. I can’t say anything else since it would spoil it for you and that’s not fun.
Bobgar Ornelas’ “Punk Rock” was a delight as one of his reoccurring characters ends up being called out by the singer of a band. The singer goes bananas and asks him to come up and sing better if he can. There’s a great twist to the ending that I enjoyed and was very suiting for the title.
The stories aren’t without heart though as is the case with “The Gathering of the Broggalos.” The story is amusing as a “Broggalo” is picked on at school for being a Broggalo. When he finally goes to a Broggalo gathering he feels like he’s found his people, but is suddenly turned on by the other Broggalos and called a faker. If that’s not a metaphor for comic fans and geeks as well then I don’t know what is. I don’t know if it was Leo Perez and Jon Michael Lennon’s intention to be that deep, but the message resonated with me.
Jon Westhoff returns with another story accompanied by Monsta on artwork. It’s another serious story about a local karaoke singer. When he’s on stage or at the bar he’s treated like a rock god, but when he goes to work no one wants to deal with him and they find him annoying. He finally convinces a woman he likes to come hear him sing, but he over hears her later ripping on him and he’s crushed; worse yet he’s stuck singing still, knowing that it’s all for not. As with a lot of the stories in this issue there’s a twist ending, but it’s again very heartfelt and not what you’ll be expecting.
A few stories return like “Beardo” and “Jack and the Jammers” and by now they’ve proven themselves worthy to read anytime you can.
The art for this anthology is pretty solid. There were only a few stories that I didn’t care for the art, but more than likely it was a personal preference. It was nice to see improvement on the two aforementioned returning series. Otherwise the variety of the art is one of the charms of this type of anthology. There’s no uniformity, much like in the music that it represents.
Overall Bandthology continues to be a great anthology. As many anthologies as I’ve already read this year, none hold a torch to what the creative teams do here. Before, I said that comics and music go together like peanut butter and chocolate, so if you like that combo then you’re going to like Bandthology. If peanut butter and chocolate aren’t your thing then… well what the fuck’s wrong with you? Just shut up and read it already its real good!
Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: King Bone Press Price: $5.00 Website