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The goal of GHM and CBG is to bring ‘Hey Mister’ to the attention of the readers and get them to take a chance on the books. Knowing the fickleness of the reader, I was tempted to go without a numbering system and just concentrate on the good parts of the book. I wouldn’t want anyone to shy away from the book because they see a 7 or 8 instead of a ten. There is an obligation to the creator, though, and they want to know what to improve upon. It helps them grow.

Hey Mister was a self-published mini-comic turned Top Shelf Production. The comic focuses on 4 ‘regulars’: Mister, Young Tim, Hideous Mutants, and Aunt Mary. Along the way we’re introduced to their co-workers, friends and enemies and a wide assortment of unusual people in an ordinary world. I’m partial to Hideous Mutants, a sad sack ‘everyman’ type character who couldn’t catch a break if it bit him in the ass.

I’ve decided to review a couple early issues of the Hey Mister series, a collected volume: The After-School Special and the most recent comic: Eyes on the Prize. Peter Sickman-Garner has created a unique, hilarious and heartwarming bunch of characters here and the stories he tells resonate with the reader. Do yourself a favor and check any one of the works for yourself. You don’t be disappointed.

Hey Mister: The Early Issues

-by Andrew Goletz

Rating: 8 out of 10


I guess the easiest way to start reviewing these books is to go in chronological order. Rob Vollmar is reviewing his favorites at the Comic Book Galaxy site and I’m doing the same here. The first ‘Hey Mister’ for review is issue #2. It’s actually as good a place to start because this issue tells the story of how Young Tim met Mister. While knowing their background isn’t crucial to the enjoyment of these comics, it does give some insight into the relationship that they have.

‘Hey Mister’ #2 begins with two good ‘ol boys discussing some sort of plan. We’re not told what they’re up to right away, but conversations like “‘there’s nothing wrong with what we’re doin’. People do stuff like this all the time’. ‘Not where we come from’” give us a clue. There’s also the matter of their unseen dog, tied to the bed of their pickup. As these two cruise into town for God knows what, we see Mister, looking for his lost dog, Barky. As he tries to post flyers up for his lost dog, Mister is accosted by everyone from drug addicts to Christian Bookstore managers to a group of young kids.

When Mister reluctantly goes home to his pot-head, slacker room-mates the reader also discovers how a ‘seemingly’ normal guy like Mister wound up with a group like this. We get to see Mister treated like crap at his job by a whiney kid and lazy bastard who makes him pump his gas just because ‘it’s nice to be pampered sometimes’. As Mister tries to find some solitude to settle in for a drink, he sees a bunch of kids teasing the two good ‘ol boys’ dog. Only it turns out that ‘Tim’ isn’t a dog, he’s just a weird little guy. Mister chases the kids off and tries to befriend Young Tim. Maybe it’s just me, but when the two guys come back and shout at Mister ‘what the hell are you doing to our dog’, I crack up. Pete Garner doesn’t force the humor here. He doesn’t do it in any of his books. He lets the reader find the humor in the moment, in the story being told and that’s important.

The two guys take Time back and go off, leaving Mister alone again. Of course you know that Young Tim and Mister are going to be reunited, but I won’t spoil all the fun for you. There’s also the revelation of what those two guys were coming to town for in the first place. When all is said and done you get a deeper appreciation of the bond between Mister and Young Tim all wrapped up inside a hilarious story. There are also two shorter stories in this issue, as is customary in Hey Mister so you get more bang for your comic buck.

‘Hey Mister’ #4 takes Young Tim into the world of the porn industry. After showing a friend Mister’s extensive collection of adult videos ‘ taking great pride in the fact that his entire collection is legal in every state except Arkansas’ Young Tim wonders what it would be like to get laid. Typical comedy situation 101 dictates that friends suggest that Young Tim become a porno star himself, which is exactly what he does. But that’s where any ‘typical’ comedy ends.

Upon getting the contract signed and preparing for his first scene, it’s discovered that Tim’s penis talks. ‘Doesn’t everybody’s?’, Young Tim asks. Young Tim and his talking friend soon become a huge sensation in the world of adult film and Young Tim falls prey to living life in the fast lane.

The absurdity of this situation proves for many funny moments. Now that ‘lil Tim is a big star, the fans come out of the wood-work. Everyone wants to touch the new star, but Tim has to be careful not to get rubbed the wrong way, so to speak or his career would be finished. Like any serious work relationship, problems start to arise. Young Tim’s penis doesn’t have time for him anymore. The media is making a superstar out of the duo doing magazine shoots and interviews but leaving Young Tim out of all the shots. Jealousy begins to rip them apart.

The climax of this story is funny as hell as the inevitable happens and Young Tim is brought back to reality. I don’t know how any other writer would approach a story like this. Hell, I don’t know if any other writer would tell a story like this. But Sickman-Garner manages to be funny without falling too far off the deep end. It’s a fabulous skewering of the world of adult film, but even more it’s a commentary on the downside and price of fame.

My only problem with the early ‘Hey Misters’ is that there is an unevenness between the main stories and the back-up features. As reader, when I’m treated to a backup or short story within a comic, I like to get a quick hit. I want a story that tries and maybe even succeeds in surpassing the regular story in terms of originality, pacing and quality.

While the two main features in issues 2 and 4 are wonderful, I didn’t find the back-ups that entertaining. It’s a matter of perspective, however, and the few short pages that I didn’t care for doesn’t deter from my admiration and the appeal for the overall work.

The art is a little rough around the edges in issue #2, but improves greatly by issue #4 and it becomes a moot point by the time we get to the newer stories like ‘The Trouble with Jesus’ and ‘Eyes on the Prize’.

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

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