Legal Action Comics, Vol. 2

Art Spiegelman, Illustrator, Kim Deitch, Illustrator, Harry S. Robins, Illustrator . Dirty Danny Legal Defense Fund $18.95 (292p) ISBN 978-0-9709363-1-8

Ted Rall's libel suit against "Dirty" Danny Hellman is now in its fifth year. The feud began when illustrator Hellman perpetrated an e-mail prank against syndicated cartoonist Rall, who sued for libel, claiming the prank had cost him work. Hellman again assembles a solid lineup of cartoonists for an anthology to raise money for his side of the case. Hellman is known for his fondness for sick and ridiculous gags, and like-minded cartoonists (including Johnny Ryan and Sam Henderson) push the gross-out factor as far as they can; even novelist Myla Goldberg (Bee Season ) joins in with a scatological (and charming) short story, the book's only prose piece. There are some other big names here, most notably Art Spiegelman (who contributes a handful of his remarkable sketchbook pages) and Tony Millionaire. Most of the 70-plus contributors, though, are more known (if that) in underground comics circles. A few address the lawsuit directly, or draw parodies of Rall's recent work (like Ken Avidor's "To the Ice Machine and Back," a riff on Rall's To Afghanistan and Back ); a few more play with the general idea of ridiculous lawsuits, or recount their own legal run-ins (like Stu Helm, who can no longer use his nickname "King VelVeeda"). The majority, though, either just dredge up sex, drugs and bodily fluids or contribute short pieces that only serve to show off the range of Hellman's friends' styles and talents. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
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