Right on schedule, here's the second volume of Rust Belt Review. Edited and published by Sean Knickerbocker, this issue is another over-sized (9 1/4" x 12") issue, nicely printed on flat, off-white stock, but this time around we have an extra 20 pages of comics! (Along with a slightly higher price, as a result.) Life in the rust belt emerges in a somewhat more unified fashion this time around, as their is plenty of common ground between these stories: movement, as characters in these stories, drive, ride, bike and walk from point A to point B (and in more that one instance [and more than one way] find their travel interrupted for reaching their destination); various forms of violence and threats thereof, are encountered, involving the intentional use of weapons as well as the inadvertent use of vehicles; sexual (or sexualized) behaviour is another common thread weaving its way through most of the stories in one form or another, including acts, physical and verbal play, innuendo, and also sublimation. Each of the seven contributors to this issue takes their own personal approach (about which we hope to have the chance to elaborate a bit on), and so there is a great deal of diversity within this common ground – which is very much the point of a regional anthology! Plus, an essay by Juan Fernandez, "Comics Is a River." A solid second issue!
Secrets of all sorts are explored in this issue. The center stage here is reserved for secrets of the personal sort – many of which involve painful struggles. Alongside of these are the larger, social secrets including those involving espionage, political intrigues, secret societies and more. Sometimes different kinds of secrets overlap, as with those involving international adoptions and DNA testing.
Worthy of special note here: This issue contains "Slow Release" by erstwhile Pittsburgher (and Copacetic customer) Asia Bey, a feature story that shares the experience of a gradual cathartic abreaction of personal trauma in a finely crafted comics work that fully embodies this issue's theme.
Here's an overview of the entire issue:
Paper Fictions, Social Realities by Meg O'Shea, who investigates her own history as an international adoptee.
It’s All Relatives: How Consumer DNA sites may mean the end of family secrets by Kjerstin Johnson and Alexandra Beguez.
Trickster, Traitor, Dummy, Doll: How the CIA tried to trick the Soviets with Sex Dolls (but ultimately got screwed) by Triple Dream Comics.
Covering Up Hate by Ally Shwed and Gerardo Alba, on the tattoo artists helping people cover up their bigoted past.
Slow Release by Asia Bey on learning to move through a history of sexual abuse.
With Dispatches, Strips, and other contributions from:
For The Response, family secrets from Edward Flynn, Eleri Harris, Anonymous & Aki Ruiz, and John Leavitt.
Secret stats by Maki Naro, Archive editorial cartoons on government wiretapping with writing from Jenny Robb, and in our letters to the editor Katie Wheeler illustrates our readers’ darkest confessions.
Dispatches from Rachel Dukes, Jess Ruliffson and Ernesto Barbieri, Apollo Baltazar, Micah Lee and Jamie Noguchi, Miriam Libicki, Max Loh and Sage Coffey.
Strips by Joey Alison Sayers, Gemma Correll, Mattie Lubchansky, Brian McFadden, Niccolo Pizarro, Mariah-Rose Marie, Emily Flake, Matt Bors, Julia Bernhard, and E.S. Glenn.
With illustrations by Andrew Greenstone and Mark Kaufman.