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There’s are a number of reasons why Dennis Eichhorn‘s Real Stuff was regarded as one of the better autobiographical comics of the 1990s. One thing, of course, was that he has lived an interesting and varied life – including a stint in jail – and has come across some unique, and at times bizarre, characters.
The other is that Eichhorn was a gifted raconteur, knowing exactly what beats of his story to hit and when, and the perfect point to deliver the punchline, even if it was retelling a funny thing someone said over drinks. Add to that the fact he collaborated with some of the most talented cartoonists in the industry at the time – Mary Fleener, Julie Doucet, Peter Bagge and Chester Brown, to name just a few – and tailored his stories to fit each artist’s unique strengths. I don’t know how the division of labor works with Eichhorn, whether he gives out detailed thumbnails or just a page of uninterrupted text, but he seems to understand the rhythm of comics exceedingly well.
And all those factors are on display with Real Good Stuff 1 & 2, a double-sized (you have to flip the comic upside-down to read the second half) collection of pure Eichhorn material that proves he hasn’t lost his gift for storytelling nor run out of material. Working with such talented artists as Fleener, Pat Moriarty and Noah van Sciver, Eichhorn is able to get some great laughs and the occasional bit of drama out of this shaggy-dog collection of drug- and sex-infused stories. Eichhorn smartly understands you don’t have to be the most interesting person in the tale, that the weird thing that happened to you is interesting because of its weirdness, not because it happened to you, specifically.
I also like how each artist brings their own unique rendering to the telling, how Moriarity draws a squashed troll, how van Sciver captures a drug addict’s goggle-eyed madness, and how Tom van Deusen depicts the eccentric ire of a character known only as “Hate Man.” To sum up: It’s nice to see Eichhorn back in the comics game again. Let’s hope he’s got more stories to tell.
Dennis P. Eichhorn’s Real Good Stuff #1 & 2
by Dennis Eichhorn, Michael Arnold, Jim Blanchard, Max Clotfelter, Mary Fleener, Ben Horak, Sean Hurley, Aaron Lange, Pat Moriarity, Tom van Deusen, and Noah van Sciver
Poochie Press Publications, 66 pages, $10