If it hurts while reading this issue, then you know that you’re probably relating to one or more of these characters in the worst possible way. In fact, it’s a hard issue to read because Evan Dorkin holds a mirror up to the entirety of comic fandom and says, “Look at what you are.” Now granted, not every comic fan stereotype is represented in this comic, social media has changed the landscape a great deal and conversations of the past two years have seen a shift in attitudes and acceptable behavior for comic fans. But that doesn’t mean that these four archetypes don’t still exist.
I didn’t think there would ever be a second issue of The Eltingville Club. Not because the story couldn’t continue, but Dorkin did such an amazing job of nailing the fandom previously that you had to wonder what was left to say? Plenty actually.
The story jumps ten years into the future after our comic shop fire which resulted in the Eltingville Club disbanding. We start with Bill at San Diego Comic Con… which should give you more than enough food for thought on what Dorkin has left to say. He’s approached by Jerry and invited to meet some “industry people” for lunch. The “industry people” turn out to be the other two members of the disbanded club, Pete and Josh. In case you forgot, they all hate Bill.
After that is a rather sad look at how people get into this industry as each character explains what they went on to do and none of it is flattering or really has any meaning to the real world. I particularly had a gut check on Josh’s story since he started a comic site because he couldn’t get in the industry and ended up just kissing ass. Ouch much. After that the story dissolves into the usual chaos, but a chaos that you’ll never really see coming since it’s just fucking nuts.
I love the mirror that Dorkin holds up to the fandom. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned running a comic website, it’s that you don’t get far not kissing everyone’s ass and that basically everyone reviewing is actually trying to get into comic publishing (with a large exception of the writers on this site). Dorkin also nails the ridiculous criticisms about “Fake Geek Girls” and cosplayers as well. Sadly, Dorkin nails the typical fandom response so well that some might not see the satire in the conversation, that Dorkin is not actually condoning this type of behavior which is why the story elevates to a crazy level of ridiculousness. Though I doubt every reader will see that and instead just laugh and think, “this is exactly like me and my friends!”
Which is terrible since Jerry’s girlfriend nails it when she asks if they were ever really friends. Friends like this are poison. Poison to the nerd culture and more importantly to each other, though Dorkin does make a point in that even without each other they’re still pretty terrible.
I feel obligated to mention something about the art, but really does “Evan Fuckin’ Dorkin” need feedback on his artwork? No, he doesn’t. I enjoyed the large crowds and how Dorkin captured the true vibe of San Diego Comic Con, even if I didn’t believe that these assholes would actually get one of the highly coveted lunch tables at the convention center.
Once again I don’t know how much Dorkin has left in the tank for these characters. I imagine that there’s still enough going on that he could easy pump out another issue, but I have to imagine creating something like this is as painful as it is fun because at the end of the day your kind of criticizing the very people that you’re asking to buy the book and hoping that they get the joke… ie, themselves. This is billed at the final issue… but we’ll see.
Personally I enjoyed the book, but I can laugh at myself. I hope that Dorkin keeps that mirror polished and does some weight training so he can keep holding that mirror up when needed.
Score: 5/5 (Oh no, I’m an ass kisser!!!)