Ice Cream Man Presents: Quarantine Comix Special – W. Maxwell Prince, Various

5 out of 5

Released online during the start of the 2020 COVID quarantine and then collected in a physical format, because “floppy comic books are the best,” ICM Presents already gets good marks for expressing that sentiment, additional good marks for, like, collecting online material in general, and then has the good “fortune” of being rather thematically and tonally perfect for this: a series that’s featured many standalone-ish tales with paranoia and anxiety as common focuses… Yes, short, weekly strips in the ICM “universe,” being pretty much anything, are rather right on the mark.

W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Morazzo and Chris O’Halloran take up half the comic with 6 strips, guest writers / artists get a following 4. Prince’s are all very good, varyingly silly, autobiographical, weird, haunting, and mixes of all of that. The guest strips – Declan Shalvey, Deniz Camp and Artyom Topilin, Al Ewing and PJ Holden, and Christopher Cantwell and Eoin Marron – aren’t necessarily as consistent (Ewing / Holden and Cantwell / Marron seem to “get” the ICM vibe; Shalvey and Camp / Topilin not as much), but, again, the style and themes of the book embrace this approach, and all of the stories – whether directly referencing the virus or not – have a key nerviness to them that works. And as with any anthology, if one or two entries don’t work for you, there are several more that likely will.

Perhaps a 4 out of 5 for the content itself, but giving it that extra bump just ’cause I dig the effort so much.