Disposable Razors #2 is a product of Unshaven Comics, a small studio located in the south Chicago suburbs run by three lifelong friends. They’ve been making comics for a few years now, and have lately turned their talents towards this anthology series which spotlights a variety of comic book genres and universes. Their latest effort saw its release at Chicago’s C2E2 convention a couple weekends ago, and the gents who run the studio asked me to review a copy, so review I shall!
Each issue of Disposable Razors features two stories. A repeating framing device opens and closes the book, and a one-shot exploration of a new character or concept forms the meat of each issue. The whole story’s tied together by an unnamed point-of-view character, a generic mail-room attendant who gets trapped in an interdimensional oasis known as the White. After our “hero” gets sucked into this strange Phantom Zone-type construction, he wanders around peeping in on various narratives which Disposable Razors then relates to us, the readers. This story mechanism allows for a clever, fluid exploration of some of the key genres that populate comic books while not losing sight of an overarching story. Additionally, these White segments typically feature the Unshaven team’s most inventive artwork courtesy of Matt Wright, though sometimes the scripting can bend towards that too-clever style of reference humor popularized by Kevin Smith. Still, as a storytelling device, “The White” excels, providing a solid entrance to the multiple worlds explored by Unshaven Comics.
Where Disposable Razors #2 really shines, though, is in its main story, “Ironside: Living Will.” Here Matt Wright, along with writer Marc Fishman, craft an interesting mixture of war and superhero tales starring Ira Kowalski, a former soldier and test subject for a World War II Super Soldier-style program. Ira used his super powers to help his country win the war, but since then he’s grown weary of the powered lifestyle, which in his eyes attracts only “pansies, pussies, and putzes.” As it happens, his son ranks among the caped, and when Ira, possessed of a death wish, decides to go on a bloody crime-fighting spree of his own, it’s his son who’s tasked with stopping him. Though there’s not much new ground to cover by examining an old war hero, the Unshaven crew puts an interesting slant on things by tossing super-powered characters into the mix. What really grounds the story and makes it work is the familial connection between the protagonist and the antagonist, which leads to some solid character moments as the story progresses. Couple that with a few pages of cinematic visuals from Wright and you’ve got a well-done comic book story that shows the Unshaven guys really know their medium.
Disposable Razors has a few flaws — what book doesn’t? The book would majorly benefit from a copyeditor; “The White” segment especially is riddled with grammatical errors and a couple vocabulary gaffs. Additionally, occasionally Fishman’s colors seem a bit washed-out, though that could well be a function of the paper the book’s printed on, as the glossy cover looks better than many of the interior pages.
Despite a few drawbacks, Disposable Razors #2 is an excellent comic book that’s well worth the $5 purchase price. “Ironside,” in particular, is proof that these guys could rock it on a monthly comic series, and I hope that the future of the Unshaven-verse (if such a thing exists) contains some more stories featuring Ira Kowalski and son.
My Best of 2012 Playlist by Eric Garneau
After being inspired by some friends, for the past few years I’ve been really into documenting my musical exploration with year-end mixes. I realize this is not a particularly novel thing to do, but hey, who has original ideas any more? Anyway, this has gotten even easier to do thanks to new technology like Spotify. read more