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Hey Mister: Eyes on the Prize

-by Andrew Goletz

Rating: 9 out of 10

Eyes on the Prize is the latest in the long running Hey Mister series. As usual, we’re treated to a longer main story and 4 shorts. Like ‘Trouble with Jesus’ (being reviewed by Rob Vollmar on CBG), Eyes on the Prize has Pete Sickman-Garner achieving balance as a storyteller. The interesting thing about reading a creator’s body of work consecutively is that you’re able to see the person progress artistically before your eyes in a matter of hours (or however long it takes you to read all the books). Pete’s writing has always been sharp and while some of his earlier art may have been rough around the edges, it was still better than half of the crap out there and it’s improved tremendously over the past few years.

The main story this time around is ‘The Man Behind the Curtain’. Mary, Young Tim, Mister and even the President manage to make an appearance in a story dealing with politics, sexism, the problems of retail and health foods all while taking place in a grocery store. Sickman-Garner manages to parlay all of his strengths as a storyteller into TMBTC and it’s a great piece with a wonderfully ironic ending.

The second story is ‘I Am Not Worthy’ and it deals with another great ‘hot-topic’, religion. The short deals with the nature of God and Heaven and the anxiety that one deals with in deciding well, whether they’re worthy of passing through the Pearly Gates. The questions raised on what the consequences would be if God was a teenager or a woman that likes to wear skimpy outfits are hilarious, but don’t compare to the true revelation of who God is. Upon second reading, Sickman-Garner’s answer makes sense. See for yourself.

‘The Truth About Beauty’ is a very short piece featuring Young Tim on the subway trying to make small talk and pondering life’s meaning. It’s short and sweet and like the two stories before it, has a great payoff.

Next up is ‘This Could Be You’ featuring Hideous Mutants and it, of course, is my favorite of the bunch. It’s the day in a life of this poor schlep from when he wakes up in the morning wondering why he sweats so much at night, to his day at the office, mandatory daily ‘whacking off session’, evening out and then back to sleep. The misery this guy goes through is just so much fun to read, especially when he just contemplates his own life decisions and realizes that it doesn’t really matter. Whatever he chooses, it’s all going to end up the same for him. Painful, but hilarious.

The book ends with ‘The Ugliest Boy in the World on the Mountain of the Wind King’. Young Tim wants to fly a kite. Mister (the Wind King) just discovered cigarettes. The piece has no dialogue, but the message comes through loud and clear and Eyes on the Prize ends on a strong note.

By far Eyes on the Prize is the best Hey Mister installment yet and it shows that Pete Sickman-Garner has a lot of stories left to tell. I can’t wait to see what comes next. As for you, review-reader, check out these books now! And read my column this issue to find out how you can get yourself a free copy of Hey Mister to start yourself off with.

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

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