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Hey Mister: After-School Special

-by Andrew Goletz

Rating: 9 out of 10

The Hey Mister After-School Special reprints the original 5 issue run of Pete Sickman-Garner’s twisted, self published and out of print Hey Mister mini-comics plus 2 additional brand new stories. I took that right off the back of the book.

The most pleasant surprise with ‘After-School Special’ is how great the material is. As with any anthology, there runs the risk of some good material, some bad and a whole lot of mediocre. No mediocrity here. Since a lot of the material here was first presented when he was doing the self-published mini-comics, Pete’s art is a little rough around the edges at times. Like I said before, though, don’t let that stop you from appreciating the book. Pete’s art has gotten better in the duration, but even his early art seems to go well with the material being presented. It’s a very good fit and the result is a treat for the reader.

There is a lot of funny stuff in this book and to go over each story individually would take forever so I’ll just discuss a couple of my favorites. Not surprisingly (to me, anyway) the stories featuring Hideous Mutants, a sad-sack ‘everyman’ character that has been featured in my favorite Hey Mister stories.

The first story is ‘Taxi Driver’, and it has Hideous Mutants taking a job as a taxi driver after being robbed of his last 20 dollars and needing money. Of course, he can’t even manage to do this job right. The fun comes from seeing his interaction with the different passengers and how he manages to owe money after taking 40 calls during the day.

‘The Grudge’ is another HM tale. In it, hapless Hideous Mutants is granted 3 wishes by a fairy that takes pity on the poor sap. Only trouble it, the fairly doesn’t let him know about it. Again Sickman-Garner offers a delicious black comedy situation where you think you know where a story is going, but in turn it leaves you shocked.

‘Don’t Quit Your Day Job’ is another great look at the life of the working man. Sickman-Garner knows how to capture the little subtle details that we can relate to in our 9-5 lives. Here, the narrator is a small business owner who warns of the dangers of starting a business for yourself, whether it be selling crack or owning your own used book store. Not much of a difference, it seems.

Those are just my favorite 3 out of more than 20 stories contained in After-School Special. Most of the stories in the book run 3-5 pages in length and each member of the Hey Mister cast gets a chance to shine in at least a few of the stories. This 95 page book is steal at only $4.95. Fans are complaining about the prestige format books costing 5 and 6 dollars for 30-40 pages of story. Well, here is an opportunity to try something new and get a huge compellation for just over the price of an average comic nowadays.

For More Information on Hey Mister, write to PO Box 8326, Ann Arbor, MI 48107.

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