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BooksApril 8, 2018

The Spinoff Reviews #60: Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People: Diary Comics


We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today, José Barbosa reviews the latest collection from the godfather of New Zealand fanzines.

New Zealand being New Zealand we could all probably think of people hammering away in their chosen creative field that deserve wider mainstream recognition: Jo Randerson; Janet Lilo; whoever mixed the stereo panning at the “keep it that way baby” part of the Dave Dobbyn anthem Loyal. Those are some of my heroes, you’ve no doubt got your own list. It really, really should include Bryce Galloway.

For the last 16 years Galloway has self-published the zine Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People. The 63 issues of the zine that exist are largely autobiographical and now Pikitia Press has published this collection of the ‘diary comics’. I’m loath to bring up the late Harvey Pekar as a comparison (mainly because it seems like a lazy one to make) but it seems apt. Galloway’s one page comics go armpit deep into the everyday confusions and obstacles of modern life, much like Pekar, but without Pekar’s suffocating misery.

The uncertainty and the internal suffering is there though, page one ends on the line “… my arse is running like a tap”, another comic examines the wasted hope of making a party when you have kids. However, there’s also joy in ordering fish ‘n chips, watching HBO shows  and finding zen in housework.

Galloway’s style is sketchy and appears dashed off, as you’d expect for diary comics. But he uses it to capture humanity in all its fleshy dumpiness. The human body is a rumpled sack of mostly arse jowls. Galloways draws himself with a massive wrinkled bald head that ends in a scribbled inverted peak and in the middle his eyes propped up by lids draw to look like sagging bundled boat sails.

Always present is the onset of age and the further it takes you from that time in your life when everything seemed to be the most important thing ever. Perhaps it’s better described as the onset of the realisation that while idealism gets you fizzing, but there’s always boring details to attend to. Or as Galloway puts it: “SOUL MATE WANTED” reads one page “must have own car.”

It’s all too easy to relate and that’s a good thing.

Verdict: Buy it, read it, see yourself and laugh/cry. And there IS sex, if you were concerned.  

Good or Bad: The best.

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.

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