There’s only two covers for Three #3 – which seems a shame, as it’s a book so triplicated its creator Rob Kirby had to instigate, curate and edit it – but both covers are great! Ed Luce’s (Wuvable Oaf) front cover sports a three-headed knight, straight out of Monty Python’s Holy Grail. But look closely, his heraldry is really a teaser for Luce’s story, which opens the book. “Love, Lust, Lost” are three parallel wordless tales. “Love” is about a big hairy adoptive kitten dad, who successfully crosses species’ boundaries to raise his kits in all the correct feline ways. “Lust” involves an indoctrination ritual into a secretive, sexual pig-nosed cult. Enough said! And “Lost” is about a trip to pay respect to maybe a person and/or a place, but most certainly a memory. The panels of all three stories all appear on the same page, but Luce’s adept use of coloring helps readers delineate which path is which. Wordless reading like this is an absorbing kind of literacy, and puzzling out these images is pleasurable.

It’s a treat to see Carrie McNinch (You Don’t Get There from Here) show her chops in a longer than usual, full color spread. Her tale harkens back to McNinch’s tween-dom, a word that didn’t actually exist when this tale took place, in the San Fernando Valley back in 1978. But then, a lot of things were different. This is the age of Quaaludes and feathered hair, of Styx and bogarting joints and Saturday Night Fever.

On the surface, McNinch is writing about being a stoner, but beneath that lies the roots of what really drives a kid to drink, toke and get high. Trapped in a religious high school with conservative parents, at the same time she’s discovering “Oh my God, I’m gay!” drugs provide a needed escape for McNinch, because there’s nothing remotely like Dan Savage’s site to tell her “It’ll all get better.”

“Oh No!” is a cartoon jam initiated by Jennifer Camper (Juicy Mother) and shared with Ivan Velez Jr., Robert Kirby, Howard Cruse, Diane DiMassa, Ellen Forney and Joan Hilty. The premise – that something bad happens every three panels – keeps the comic frenetic, and turns the plot into a comic horror cartoonist roast. After a visit from Donkey Satan, first Velez Jr. gets butchered, then Kirby is beheaded, and by the time DiMassa gets her hands on the tale Charlie Brown is running around bare-assed with a chainsaw. Hilty wraps up the tale nicely with a truckload of zombies, allowing all those massacred to make a final bow.

Besides these three stories there’s lots of bonus material, including a swell tribute to Dolly Parton by Janelle Hessig and Matt Runkle, cameos by Marian Runk and MariNaomi, and a scattering of thumbnail sketches by artists from the indie gay comics realm. Once again, Kirby’s Three delivers a triad of necessary qualities that make good comics – fun, intelligence and art.

Three #3
Edited by Rob Kirby
Rob Kirby Comics
Paperback, 9780615612416
June 2012

 


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  • Michael Craft

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