Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Review: INCREDIBLE CHANGE-BOTS Two Point Something Something
TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS – @topshelfcomix
CARTOONIST: Jeffrey Brown
ISBN: 978-1-60309-348-4; paperback (November 2014)
224pp, Color and B&W, $19.95 U.S.
Jeffrey Brown is one of my favorite cartoonists. As a reviewer, I have been fortunate to receive numerous books authored by Brown from his frequent publisher, Top Shelf Productions. One of my favorite books by Jeffrey Brown is the recent Incredible Change-Bots Two Point Something Something, of which Top Shelf provided me a copy.
First, about Jeffrey Brown: I imagine that many comics readers probably know Brown from his Star Wars young readers book series, Darth Vader and Son and Jedi Academy. Brown has also produced a number of beautifully executed autobiographical comics that have been collected under such titles as Clumsy, Little Things, and Undeleted Scenes, to name a few.
The best description that I can give of Jeffrey Brown is “joyous.” I don't know if he suffers for his art, but when I read his comics, I think of someone joyfully going about his art and craft. Brown's Incredible Change-Bots comics personify that sense of joy. The Incredible Change-Bots are Brown's nostalgic tribute and love letter to and parody of the Transformers.
Thus, the Incredible Change-Bots story is similar to that of the Transformers. It begins on the planet, Electronocybercircuitron, where two factions of giant transforming, shape-shifting, changing robots – the Incredible Change-Bots – wage war. The ostensible protagonists are the Awesomebots, and the bad bots are the self-interested, Fantasticons. The two groups go to war over a disputed election, and promptly destroy Electronocybercircuitron.
Top Shelf Productions published two paperback collections, Incredible Change-Bots (2007) and Incredible Change-Bots Two (2011), that collected Brown's Incredible Change-Bots comics. However, over the past decade, Brown has produced a lot of Incredible Change-Bot miscellany, including newsletter art, exclusive mini-comics, and custom original art for the Incredible Change-Bots Fan Club.
That fan club material and more are collected in the 5” x 6.5,” color, trade paperback, Incredible Change-Bots Two Point Something Something. This book includes the first appearance of a Change-Bot (in Sulk Sketchbook #10). There are also art show and commission drawings and Incredible Change-Bot art and comics produced for magazines and special edition comics books (like those produced for “Free Comic Book Day”).
I must hasten to add that Incredible Change-Bots Two Point Something Something is not a collection of throw-away stuff and odds-and-ends. These are fully functional short stories and vignettes, and I had a blast reading this. I have read Incredible Change-Bot comics before, but these short pieces are the best of this series/franchise, thus far. The material in this collection is a mixture of black and white comics and full-color comics, and the color comics are gorgeous; an Eisner Award nomination for the coloring would be deserved.
The production, binding, and paper quality on Incredible Change-Bots Two Point Something Something is good enough to fool you into believing that this is one of those high-end archival projects. I heartily recommend this book to Transformers fans, admirers of Jeffrey Brown's work, and readers looking for truly funny humor comics.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux
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