Sometimes when a comic publisher is on a roll they just stay there. In my early days as an Oni Press reader I remember loving everything that I picked up by the publisher. Now-a-days they’re still consistently great, but there’s stuff that I just don’t care for that they publish. There are a few companies that have taken their place and Alternative Comics is one of those publishers. I’ve yet to read something from them that I didn’t enjoy and want to comb over and that only makes me want to read more from there. I’ve never read anything from Derf Backderf, but after checking out this collection I will be. True Stories as Mr. Backderf states on the inside cover is a comic strip that collects slices of life. They’re reprints of originals that ran in a free weekly newspaper ending earlier this year. That’s right the stories are true. They’re things that the creator has witnessed and frankly they’re strange as hell, but that’s why they’re great. We’ve ALL had moments like the ones collected here and frankly after reading this collection it made me want to write my own down.
Each page contains one story and is broken into four panels. Within those four panels Backderf manages to set up the scene and concluded it perfectly. Some are strange, some are gross and others will leave you just as confused as I’m sure the creator was in that given situation; like an elderly couple waiting for a car to drive near them so they could throw a shopping cart at it and then flip the driver off. What the hell can you do in that situation other than wait until you yourself are that age and do the same damn thing. Add that to your damn bucket list people who watched a Hollywood movie and thought, “I’m not getting the most out of life.”
The art reminds me a bit of Peter Bagge’s style of art. It’s realistic, but stylized. Skinny people tend to be extremely skinny and fat people tend to be extremely fat. Everyone has cartoonish sized heads, but overall it works. It’s what I call an “ugly” style, but I don’t mean that as a slam. Just that the people are realistic and often times ugly because let’s be honest we’re all pretty damn ugly at times.
What I liked about this collection was that the variety of stories kept it from being dull or numbing. I’ve read several collections this year that were good, but made you punch drunk on laughter. True Stories manages to entertain and amuse you the entire time.
It’s also not your typical comic size as it’s a little bigger than a digest size. The paper quality is nice and probably a big step up for anyone that saw it in newsprint originally. Overall the paper quality was a great stock and as stupid as this sounds, nice to look at. It’s just something that your hand wants to hold and I really don’t know how else to describe that sensation.
If you like true stories and just seeing how weird out society is, then you definitely should check out this collection.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Derf Backderf Publisher: Alternative Comics Price: $5.99 Release Date: November, 2014 Website