Comic Review: Coin Op Comics Anthology (IDW)

There are some really strange stories in IDW Top Shelf’s “Coin Op Comic Anthology 1997-2017”. And that’s a good thing! A great thing! But before we understand why these strange […]

There are some really strange stories in IDW Top Shelf’s “Coin Op Comic Anthology 1997-2017”. And that’s a good thing! A great thing!

But before we understand why these strange stories are so good, we need to know what is actually contained in this book collection. First off, we have Coin Op comics issues 6 to 1, presented in reverse order. So starting with issue 6 and proceeding backwards to Issue 1, from 2008. Then there is The Blab Years, another section of the book, with stories presented in no sequential order, ranging from 1999 to 2005.

The stories from both publications range from very strange (there’s that word again!) examinations of everyday situations to straightforward biographies of jazz musicians.

Two small characters named Saltz and Pepz make regular appearances. In one story, they live in a VHS tape cassette (yes) and travel along the surface of the slowly deteriorating tape. In another story, they steal a Thelonius Monk vinyl record, then find themselves in the 1950’s talking with T.M. Himself. Surreal, and a mix of 1930’s black and white cartoons and perhaps the work of Chris Ware, the indie cartoonist.

Another aspect of comic narrative being explored in this Anthology are Peter Hoey and Maria Hoey’s love of movies. Story after story plunge into an imaginary life of a Hollywood actor, or a classic movie mashed up with another film.

The drawing style is carefully drawn ‘vector-based’ images. Maria Hoey is a master of perspective and composition. She often assembles a series of sequential street scenes that portray a stop-motion examination of life in the big city.

It is wacky stuff, verging on David Lynch territory. If you enjoy seeing your preconceptions of comic narrative twisted and mutilated into another ‘animal’, you will enjoy this collection!

IDW Top Shelf, Coin Op Comic Anthology 1997-2017, $29.99 for 208 pages of content, not rated

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!