Review: Sea of the Patchwork Cats by Carlton Mellick III

Sea of the Patchwork Cats by Carlton Mellick III (Eraserhead Press February 2006)

Sea of the Patchwork Cats by Carlton Mellick III begins with Conrad, a drunk, lonely, wretch of a man failing to commit suicide along with the rest of the human race. It would appear he is cursed from the very beginning, yet instead of succumbing to failure one last time, he unknowingly embarks on a watery adventure with several frozen female stow-aways who aren’t completely human.

When from his vessel (a mansion stocked with some food and certainly not enough liquor) he sees a strange dwelling shaped like conjoined women mysteriously located in the middle of the sea, he steers the house into the strangest drunken dream-like experience ever imagined.

In the sea structure that is called Nerve Works Conrad starts to transform from the self-loathing drunkard, despite still being able to get loaded as the house offers whatever he desires. Having to put up with three, cross-species of rather tempermental women, countless cats, and a mysterious female figure with an ominous, ghostly presence, Conrad struggles with his new self, one who is only required to enjoy himself.

What begins as a story about a drunk becomes a story about a man who gets a very weird second chance, as well as a re-creation story from one of the finest authors the Bizarro family can provide. Any true lover of fiction that goes beyond all genres would devour Carlton Mellick III’s Sea of the Patchwork Cats.

Review: Piecemeal June by Jordan Krall

Piecemeal June by Jordan Krall (Eraserhead Press, January 2008)

While Kevin seems to be just another single guy with a cat, in Piecemeal June, (Eraserhead Press, January 2008) Bizarro author Jordan Krall has a lot in store for his unwitting and rather sweet protagonist.

In a regular world, Kevin modestly lives above a porn shop, works at a pet store and has a friend who has yet to get a handle on being an adult. It’s from an alternative world of mutilated human body parts and three crab-monsters who enjoy nothing more than chomping on puppy legs like humans do pork rinds where June, the sex-doll is created. When Kevin’s cat, Mithra randomly brings her disjointed parts home, Kevin glues the pieces together and his mundane life is transformed.

What moves the book along is Krall’s ability to both disgust and fascinate his readers with imagery that is perverse and downright dirty in one paragraph, and vaguely romantic the next. The reader gets a sense from the beginning what is happening in Kevin’s town, while it takes him the entire book to see it, let alone even try to grasp some understanding of it. That being said, Krall still manages to have a bit of a stun-factor in the end, leaving one to go back and flip through the pages to find the hidden pieces that were there the entire time.

Short, yet not as simple as you’d think, Jordan Krall’s Piecemeal June is as provocative as it is sentimental, leaving love to grace the pages just as much as the bodily fluids. Don’t be surprised if you feel the need to rub one out right along with Macchu, Bacchu, and Frank.

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Sea Adventure For The R-Rated Crowd

Starfish Girl by Athena Villaverde (Eraserhead Press, October 2010)

 

 

 

In Athena Villaverde’s, Starfish Girl (Eraserhead Press, 2010), industrial fiction meets Hayao Miyazaki’s, Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli, 2001). Despite facing constant danger in an underwater town being devoured by a fungus that’s turning fish folk psychotic, and where half-men, half-sea creature mob goons donning mechanic appendages wreak havoc without consequence, the little starfish girl’s tenacity to find others who are “nice” is as steadfast as Chihiro’s devotion in Spirited Away to changing her parents back to their human form.

Unlike Chihiro, Ohime’s parents cannot be saved, and with their posthumous instructions for her to try and save humanity, she must set off on an adventure of her own in an unknown landscape that alternates between beautiful and noxious. Although considered by many reviewers as “cute” when compared to other titles in the Bizarro fiction genre, Starfish Girl proves to be just as cut-throat and perverse. Yet, Villaverde craftily placates the gore factor by splattering the blood on a backdrop of elaborate coral buildings and conch encrusted homes, and constantly introduces endearing characters who, however different from one another, have in common the desire for a peaceful and safe civilization.

Bizarro-veteran John Skipp has the right idea in describing Villaverde’s style as “emotional” since the budding author leaves no feeling untouched in the spectrum of human psychology. For any reader new to the genre, or Bizarro fans who are curious about Athena Villaverde’s Starfish Girl, the novel is as punchy as it is sweet, as innocent as it is ferocious, and damn well worth picking up.

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