4 out of 5
Another amazing fan publication from Nortock Diab, with even more extra content put into it, only losing a little luster as the Lawson content is… very motorcycle-fan focused.
Guzzi has popped up in various comics since the mid-90s; Nortock reprints a blog post from Lawson outlining her publication history, adding in reprinted artwork citations, a list of her appearances with comic covers, and even his own strip that was meant to fill in a story gap in the strips collected here, before Jim was able to provide the original.
The book brings together the 38 entries of LeMans that appeared in a motorcycle mag called City Cycle Motorcycle News, from 2000 to 2003. The printing is again very clean and professional; Diab has done a great job of stitching this together in a seamless reading experience. However, while the strips start off in the mutant wasteland that has previously been the setting of LeMans’ tales, these eventually turn in to 1-page gag strips, ragging on ‘cycle culture. Some of it is funny – poking at particular “types” like BMW riders more concerned with tweaking parts of their bikes than riding; Ducatti riders who just pose on their bikes; Harley riders who proclaim individuality while bowing to a corporate dress scheme – but it gets admittedly tiresome while hanging on this theme. Jim tries to wrangle it back into an actual narrative, which leads to an amusing sequence where one character is just walking around naked for several strips, but once its transitioned to this gag style format, it never really recovers. I’m sure this was better for readers of the mag, but reading it all collected, it revs you up for a story and then just kinda drops it for silly.
But of course I’m glad to have any Lawson odds and ends to add to my collection, and so once more extremely appreciative of Diab for getting this together. The balance between the content and that appreciation accounts for the rating.