2 out of 5
An unfortunate mismatch of a creator with an abundance of skill and creativity to a limited gag strip.
According to an uninteresting afterword from Little Green Men co-creator David Hedgecock, the idea for the characters sprang from the image of tiny Three Stooges, hence our three visitors to Earth sporting a recognizable unibrow, sprigs of hair, or Curly-esque rotundity. A bonus comic drawn by Dave Perillo and written by other co-creator Brent Erwin gives us an example of the kind of newspaper comic, single page gag-style that was likely envisioned for the series (Which I imagine was first printed maybe as standalone digitals before being collected or some such? It’s hard to find much info on the strip…); a stroke of luck paired the duo up with writer / artist / everything-ist Jay Fosgitt for making further Green Men stuff, but he – yes, in my bias opinion – would end up being too talented for the material, as his pages burst with a desire to draw things out a little more, stymied by the rather dull fish-out-of-water setup of the strip.
Namely: three aliens land on Earth in order to research and conquer, except it turns out they’re super tiny compared to us. Cue hijinx which involve trying to be menacing but then mistaken for baby pacifiers, or dog chew toys, or cigarettes, etc. and titterable confusions over Earth customs. For about half of the book, the panels are a bit too crowded, Fosgitt going for broke with his visual humor bravado and penchant for banter – there’s a good ongoing gag with the alien’s ship’s AI being belligerent toward its passengers – but since he’s stuck with less-than-one-dimensional characters, he can’t develop a good rhythm. There’s also a frustrating inconsistency with followup – that the aliens are fresh to all Earth behaviors in one story, then seem to know all about it in the next; that they remember events from a previous page, and the later seem fresh-faced with each new clip. Either way, the random ‘The Ends’ punctuating each punch line suggest this may have been more effective as a random or weekly read; collected together it’s rather tiresome.
The second half of the book opens up the panel space a little bit and leans more in to dialogue-less scenes, and when these are self-involved – i.e. not milking the humans / aliens juxtaposition, but finding humor amongst the greenies – they’re pretty funny. Still, that type of thing is the exception.
Ape Comics slightly undersized, 48-page collection is cheaply printed, but has a nice, flippable quality to it at least. Some flashes of Jay’s skills page to page, but expressions of that are preferred on his creator owned stuff.