Saturday, 5 December 2015

Tony Consiglio's Double Cross Collection by Tony Consiglio Review

This book collects a number of Tony Consiglio’s out-of-print Double Cross mini-comics from the series inception in 1993 to the present day. They’re mostly comedic slice-of-life short stories with some fiction and it’s not bad! 

The first half of the book is a series of random skits that vary in quality. Dr Physician, PhD, about a doctor who has to give himself the symptoms of an illness to talk about it, is pretty funny. “How do you treat a broken arm? Well, first let’s break my arm and then I’ll show you! AAARGH!!” (passes out). Alex Robinson contributes an amusing strip about Tony being rotten to his elderly grandma and the donuts short is good too. 

Dracula Chronicles though is forgettable as is the semi-autobiographical strip about a guy who gets asked to the prom by a cute girl only to find it was all a misunderstanding - wah waaah! 

Consiglio’s fiction can be really good, as seen in 110 PerC, but here it’s a little flat. The superhero parody, Envy, is about Morticus, brother to Perfectus, a Superman-type, whom he decides to impersonate in appearance only - he doesn’t want to do good deeds like his brother! Morticus is kinda rude to people and that’s the one joke repeated throughout. Eh. 

Bob the Security Guard is about a security guard who accidentally kills a shoplifter. There’s a generic conspiracy-type “thriller” about a man who’s separated from his wife and the government’s involved or something… None of which is especially impressive. 

Where Consiglio shines is with the autobio stuff. His stories of working in a deli and dealing with awful customers is a hoot! The longest piece here, Happy Ever After in the Marketplace, takes up most of the second half of the book, and it’s easily the best part of it. Tony’s working in a deli in Macy’s, a job he hates, and he gets accused of dipping his hand in the till. To make matters worse, the girl he loves doesn’t want to be in a relationship with him yet and there’s a new policy where he has to wear a humiliating meat hat too! 

Consiglio conveys the frustration and mundanity of everyday service industry work in a very compelling way. His first love is comics which he wants to do full-time except reality keeps intruding and he has to work these crap jobs to pay the bills. There’s a powerfully real quality to Happy Ever After, and the other autobio strips, that makes reading this book worthwhile and enjoyable – who can’t relate to having their dreams quashed or having to make compromises to get by? 

Happy Ever After, along with 110 PerC and More or Less, shows Tony Consiglio’s strengths are in longer form comics than shorts. His Double Cross Collection has its moments but it’s his least compelling book to date. Indie comics fans who like slice-of-life stories and/or comedic shorts will get something out of reading this.

Tony Consiglio's Double Cross Collection

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